Paid vs. organic statistics

I found it kinda interesting the other day when I stumbled over some stats regarding which area of the search engine search results drive the most traffic. If I remember right, it was 70% organic vs. 30% paid. This made sense to me because my clicking habits are similar. I look at the organic search results first by default and if I don’t see what I want right away I’ll scan the paid or “sponsored listings”. I would agree that about 70% of the time I find what I need in the organic results. I’m posting this just to point out that you shouldn’t JUST focus on pay-per-click advertising campaigns. This type of marketing has great value but don’t underestimate the value of good, old fashioned organic placement.

On a related topic, I just uncovered some stats from Pew Internet that state some 62% of internet users don’t even realize the difference between paid and organic search results! I found this to be incredibly surprising since sites like Google clearly mark listings as “sponsored links”.

On a side note, I also found it really interesting when you search for “sponsored links” on Google, who shows up as the first paid “sponsored link”? One of Google’s top competitors.

Anyway, just a few little tidbits of information for you to chew on. Have a great week and don’t forget to consider SMG for your search engine marketing firm!


Chris Auman is a veteran Internet marketer, website developer, and designer with over 20 years of experience in the trenches. As President and Senior Strategist at Sanctuary, Chris has successfully guided the online marketing efforts for companies large and small. Chris’ clients range from family owned & operated retail operations with a local footprint of 1-10 stores to multinational Fortune 500 companies.