Google’s War on Free Clicks

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Since anyone who needs to find anything on the web will probably end up using Google search, you may have realized that the amount of sponsored results that you get is quickly increasing. The people at WordStream took great interest in this fact, and conducted a bit of research on the ways that everyday Google searchers are being effected by this growing number of sponsored search results. The end results of this research are staggering. On their blog, Larry Kim writes, “Clicks on paid search listings beat out organic clicks by nearly a 2:1 margin for keywords with high commercial intent in the US.”

However, Wordstream says that in total, organic searches still receive more clicks than paid searches, but, “not all keyword searches are created equal.” The results that WordStream was particularly interested in were those regarding keyword searches with high commercial intent. When a searcher looks for a certain product or service in particular, free organic searches receive, “a resounding beat-down.” WordStream took it upon themselves to cleverly illustrate all of their results in a clever graphic. Entitled “The War on Free Clicks,” the graphic features characters from around the web battling it out among various statistics discovered through their research. The graphic gives information that is astonishing and very beneficial to know.

The illustration covers stats such as percentages of sponsored results clicks between high commercial intent keyword searches and organic unpaid results, information about how these sponsored results are gaining on organic results, and total click through rates for Google sponsored stories. It also lists the options that advertisers have with Google, the section cleverly entitled, “Google’s Precision Guided Missiles.” The illustration makes it easy to understand the title, because Google’s paid results are dishing out some hard blows on the search results that have not been paid for.

“Much to the delight of internet marketers, new, bigger, more engaging and more targeted sponsored ad formats – which allow businesses to target prospective clients in more precise and relevant ways – are behind the increases in CTR for high commercial intent keyword searches.” WordStream lists the new advertising formats as Product listing Ads, Click to Call Ads, Bottom of Page Ads, Mega Site Links, Social Ad Extensions, Remarketing, Map/Location Ad Extensions, Chat Ads, Email Ads, etc. Along with these new ad formats, Google has been helping advertisers to feel secure about their advertisements by implementing a “war” on SEO web spam. WordStream mentions several updates in the area of making it hard to rank up in organic searches.

Although WordStream has not found a definitive victor in the war between SEO and PPC, it’s easy to see that PPC ads are gaining fast, and may eventually win the battle and the war. The method of survey and research that WordStream used was innovative and precise, so the information given in their illustration can be well trusted. WordStream has released this information for advertisers and marketers focusing on performance, helping them to realize what will give them the best results.

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