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PPC Ads Don't Cannibalize Organic Search Listings [Infographic]

by Ivan Dimitrijevic   |  
August 10, 2012

One theory that some search marketers hold is that purchasing Google AdWords does not make financial sense because the ads will cannibalize organic listings. The theory supposes that the two forces, AdWords and SEO, are killing each other, and it is a bad strategy to spend money on both at the same time.

As an experiment, Google "paused" search ads to measure the effect that such a cessation had on organic search result clicks. What the study found was that users did not suddenly start clicking the natural results in the absence of AdWords results.

Those findings prove wrong the notion that any significant increase in clicks on organic listings would result if marketers were to decrease spending on PPC ads, with Google deducing that 50% of the time ad clicks are incremental when there’s a corresponding natural listing in the top rank.

Pay-per-click is here to stay

In 2011, when Google claimed that 89% of the traffic generated by search ads is not replaced by organic clicks when ads are paused, it may have been a bit hard for the Internet marketing community to believe that statistic. After all, Google would say something like that to protect the reputation of AdWords, its main money spinner.

Cutting costs on advertising does not increase natural clicks

What the Google experiment tells Google advertisers is this: If you reduce your ad spending to zero, you can’t expect for 89% of those clicks that would have gone to your ads to now be redirected to your Web page results in the natural SERPs.

Also, a Google report a month later showed that, most of the time, paid ads and natural listings seldom appear on the same page together anyway.

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Ivan Dimitrijevic is an online marketing expert, CEO, and founder of MyCity Web, a company that deals with inbound marketing, SEO, Web design, Web development, and everything needed to build a stable presence on the Web.

LinkedIn: Ivan Dimitrijevic

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  • by Rishi Mon Aug 13, 2012 via web

    It's important to think of how organic and PPC listings can 'contribute' towards your branding efforts. When a consumer searches for your product or service and you appear among the top 10 organic results, having your business 'dominate' the SERP with an organic and PPC ad can increase brand awareness amongst your target consumer.

    The consumer starts believing that since your business appears twice (on organic and PPC results), your business is highly relevant to their search request, which will help drive a click, whether paid or not. For more tips and tricks on PPC and SEO, check out our digital marketing cheat sheets at

  • by nauman Wed Aug 15, 2012 via web

    I have data of several keywords for which we ran ads and our web pages were also ranking on first four results. What we experienced is that surely the ads do take away a lot of clicks.

  • by Chris Mon Sep 3, 2012 via web

    Google is making big profits from PPC Advertising that's why Google penalizes websites with organic listings by Panda and Penguin updates to increase its PPC revenue

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