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Should You Pay for Search Engine Advertising When You Already Rank Organically?

Posted by fusionbox on July 26, 2011, 6 p.m.

If you've ever wondered if you should be paying for search engine advertising (like Google AdWords) for a keyword you rank for organically (free), you're not alone. It's been an ongoing discussion with many logical arguments from both sides for what seems like years now.

The most common comment - “If I do, aren't I just paying for traffic I could get for free?”

Nope, says Google with their latest study.

A "full 89% of the traffic generated by search ads is not replaced by organic clicks when ads are paused."

Searchers that look at - and click on - paid advertisements are often different than those users who look at/click on organic listings. Turning off paid advertising doesn't just mean you're not paying for traffic and conversions, it also means that you are getting less traffic, branding and conversions overall. In fact, for the advertisers studied, only 10% of paid-for traffic was duplicated – the other 89% of traffic came from brand new users the business wouldn't have reached otherwise in that search.

A more important metric you might want to look into is how Pay-Per-Click clickers and organic clickers are different. Are they more or less valuable conversions/customers? Are they worth the additional cost? Is your goal to pay less for leads, or to get more leads?

These can help you determine if PPC advertising is worth it for your business, in addition to performing this test. It can help you see if the conclusions that Google reached apply to your business. 

Read more about the study via Search Engine Land, and if you need any help with your test feel free to contact the Denver SEO Experts here at Fusionbox.