Is Google Organic Results Influenced by PPC Ads?

Go big or go home. It sounds like a mantra made just for sports, but it also applies to Google. That’s because those websites who hit the top SERP spots tend to get more attention than those who appear down below.

According to advanced Web Ranking study “On average, 71.33% of searches resulted in a page one Google organic click. Page two and three get only 5.59% of the clicks. On the first page alone, the first 5 results account for 67.60% of all the clicks and the results from 6 to 10 account for only 3.73%”. It’s clearly vital to get your company’s name high up in search results.

With Google reporting, quarter after quarter, the increase of paid clicks, it is natural to be asking ourselves how many clicks are left for the organic listings. In a recent post, WordStream founder Larry Kim called it a “zero sum game.”

“Clicks on the search results page are basically a zero sum game. If there’s an increase in CTR for one part of the SERP, some other part is losing that click. There must be a decrease in CTR elsewhere. And that includes the ads.”  -Larry Kim, WordStream

In a recent study I presented at SMX East 2014, We found that on average, the presence of ads on a search results page caused the organic CTR of the first position to drop by 30% — from 25.7% organic CTR in the absence of ads to 17.9% CTR when ads are displayed.

But, as we go further down the page, the impact of ads over organic CTR fades away. Below-the-fold listings (websites ranking from 6 to 10) are actually amassing a higher organic CTR when ads are displayed (2.99%) than without ads (2.24%).

“Ads can cut the clickthrough rate on the first result nearly in half, which is huge, while other positions are far less impacted.” -Danny Sullivan, Search Engine Land

So if are you are doing SEO of any website than keep this CTR calculation in your mind, many believe that Google has made it harder and harder for anyone to hit a SERP goal. As many bloggers have pointed out, Google is now skewing search results by including relational terms and popularity scores. As a result, companies with a great deal of traffic tend to get the clicks, even if they don’t have the specific keywords you’ve so painfully worked to incorporate. As a little guy, it can be hard to get noticed.

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