Peanut butter and jelly. Hall and Oates. SEM and SEO. Some things are just better when they’re together. Google released a study last year that revealed 89% of clicks from search ads are incremental. In other words, if an advertiser were to suspend their paid ads, 89% of the clicks they were receiving to their site would not be replaced by organic clicks.
Many were skeptical and wanted to understand more about how a given organization’s SEO efforts affected these numbers. What if organic results were #1? What if they didn’t appear until page 3? Surely this would change the results. So Google went back to their data and just released more granular statistics. And while being #1 in the organic results does indeed make a significant difference, there is ample evidence to support the importance of both paid and organic efforts in an effective search engine strategy.
For an organization whose organic listing appears somewhere on the first results page, 2 of every 3 clicks and 8 of every 10 impressions comes from paid ads. When a page is highly optimized and appears as the first organic result, the study still found that half of the clicks are incremental.
While these numbers are, of course, averages, the study underscores the importance of combining both SEO and SEM to ensure maximum exposure for an organization’s brand and/or career opportunities.