It is very common in the Internet Marketing and SEO business that we receive the question: “Does PPC take away from our organic? Or visa versa?” While we do have our own tests and can show that it helps and not detract from organic results, customers sometimes just want more hard facts. Queue Google. We’re not entirely sold on Google’s opening up their internal study for all to read just purely for the kindness of their hearts, no… they are a multi-billion dollar Goliath and are always looking to refine their bottom line. While the science in the report makes sense, validates most of our experience and research, it’s just kind of hard to take it all at face value. However, we believe it is worth the read!
Though I’ve never met him personally, I admit to being a big Hal Varian fan. For those who don’t recognize the name, Dr. Varian is the Chief Economist at Google and like me, one of the oldest guys in his company.
Over the past few years, he and his team of researchers have made my life simpler by providing pithy answers to some of search’s mythically difficult questions, like “How do search auctions work?” and “Does ad position effect conversion rates?”
Last week, his team at Google released the results of their research that answers a question that paid search managers across the world get asked on a regular basis: “Why the [bleep] are we advertising on our own [bleeping] brand terms when we are ranked #1 for those [bleepety-bleep-bleeping] terms already? [Bleep]!”
Though the Google research team posed the question in a slightly more scientifically-fashionable way for their research, they essentially set out to answer the question of whether or not paid search ads cannibalize traffic from corresponding organic listings for the same keywords.
Their findings, in true Varian-esque style, were simple, direct and memorable. They found that paid search ads give you a 89% incremental lift in site visitors – above and beyond traffic you would normally expect from your organic listings.
You can download the study at the Google Research Blog: “Incremental Clicks Impact Of Search Advertising” by David X. Chan, Yuan Yuan, Jim Koehler and Deepak Kumar.
Is A Google Study That Proves Google Paid Search Works Valid?
You don’t have to be a committed cynic or skeptic to question the results of Google’s research on its own search properties. It’s only natural to raise the question of self-interest, but since Google has made no bones about the fact that it is their own research, they are being upfront and candid.
In their report, they provide pretty good detail on their methodology and their statistical methods though it is provided only in summary form.
But, in fact, the study seems to support the prevailing conventional wisdom in our industry and even some earlier studies on the impact of paid advertising on brand terms and natural traffic. It certainly supports Brad Geddes findings in his Search Engine Land column last week, “Should You Bid On A Keyword If You Rank Organically For That Term?”
Read the entire article at: Search Engine Land