Why both natural and PPC traffic are important.

Pay per click advertising has become a completely integrated part of search engines, and many website owners fail to see the value in either natural traffic or PPC traffic.

A while back I found a table that compared the click through rates of Natural and PPC search traffic. I cant seem to find the original source any more, so my apologies for not citing the source of this information, although it was a reputable source.

I have placed the data from that table into an easy to follow graphic model of a common search engine result page.

Comparing PPC and Natural Search Click Through Rates

To put it simply, if you are only marketing to the natural search or the PPC search environment, you are loosing out on a huge potential percentage of visitors. Most search marketers will agree that a marketing campaign should be split between natural search marketing, PPC marketing, and other mediums of advertising on the Internet. Even if you have a #1 ranking for a search phrase, you could be loosing 50% or more of your potential customers to those that click on PPC listings.

Obviously this data may not be appropriate for every situation, such as non-commercial sites, sites that have no budget and by some miraculous event have top search engine ranking, or sites that rank high naturally but have ridiculously high PPC competition and cost per clicks.

Otherwise, I think it is almost always best to spread out a marketing budget. Work some on a long term SEO campaign for natural rankings, and work some with a short term PPC campaign. Having success in both PPC and natural search areas can make the difference between an ecommerce website, and a very successful ecommerce website.

A word of caution about the #1 PPC spot.
In my experience the #1 spot on any high traffic PPC listing will get you a large bill and a lot of worthless clicks. If you do decide you want this spot and you’re advertising for high cost per click and / or high volume search phrases, you should track your campaign very carefully to ensure you get a positive return from it. I have seen companies burn through tens of thousands of dollars in a few days without anything to show from it, by going for the #1 spot on a high traffic broad search phrase.

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  1. carlos 19 Apr, 2007

    yes ppc can definately be pricey. i speak from experience on doing ppc for my website at http://www.911shield.com. paid for the keyword alarms and one would really be surprised how quick the money goes. depending on the keyword one should try to localize their business at first if possible (if one has inventory on hand) and not make the keyword so general. for example if your selling alarms in fresno use the keyword fresno alarms instead of just alarms.

  2. idris 8 Apr, 2008

    Hi Jestep,

    I totally agree with you. Getting listed in natural and PPC result would definitely provide a positive impact to an eCommerce website, but there are many seasonal products for which ppc listing would be a better channel to promote than concentrating much on the organic listings.

  3. AVStore.ro 19 Apr, 2008

    It is almost twice as probable that searchers will click on your site if your site appears in top position in both the ’sponsored links’ section and organic search results. So, don’t stop paying ‘sponsored links’ when you are the first results in the organic search results.

  4. Mike 24 Jun, 2010

    Yes, PPC can be expensive, however you can also gather some important information that you can use in your organic search marketing. I agree that having success in PPC and natural search rankings can make all the difference.

  5. G 2 Nov, 2011

    I don’t think these figures actually show anything meaningful, because the percentages for the sponsored links are just showing the percentage of clicks each sponsored link gets as a proportion of the sponsored links as apposed to all of the search result links.

    There may well be some truth in this, but this data doesn’t prove it.

  6. zac 9 Jul, 2013

    Both are very important in order for any company to have some sort of eCommerce success. While PPC can be pricey, it’s relatively easier for companies to get their brand name high on Google Search ranks. Organic can take more time through relevant content on the site and high powered links but can provide excellent results if done right.

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