SEO vs PPC – The True Click Through Rates

The SEO vs PPC articles have been so frequently written over the past 5 years that i dont want to go on too much about the benefits of each, if you don’t’t know this already the a beginners guide to SEO is suggested to be read.

Over the years many specialists when it comes to search engine optimisation have looked into what are the differences in click through rates between AdWords and the organic search. Many still stick by the 80% organic 20% adwords, although many statistics have proven this to be wrong. Several years ago PPC may have had a 20% click through rate but this was before google decided to alter the layout of search results.

Google search results now have changed over the years, a significant amount of front page real estate has gone to paid search, with the inclusion of site links and other extensions as well, AdWords results take up more than 5% more real estate of the first page.

The above statistics do refer to the top 3 podium results of Google adwords, which if you are not there you are wasting your PPC spend!

So What Is The True CTR of SEO vs PPC

This all depends via different industries and also positions. But a rough guide would be 70% organic vs 30% AdWords across the board in all industries.

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These drastically change based on industries eg- apparel has a 40% CTR for the top 3 adwords results.

Below are some comparisons based on research from a search engine optimisation company.

Organic Top 5  72% vs PPC top 3 (Podium Box) 28%

Organic Top 5  59% vs PPC top 3 (Podium Box) 41%  (Clothing and Apparel)

Organic Top 10  70% vs PPC top 10 30%

Organic Top 10  65% vs PPC top 10 35%  (Clothing and Apparel)

Conclusions From The Above Data?

  • If you are not in the top 5 for organic search results now you are virtually nowhere, CTR are very low
  • If your site is not in the top 3 AdWords results the CTR is very low
  • SEO companies cannot just aim to get sites onto page one, the difference between bottom and top of organic results has grown since AdWords has claimed more real estate
  • Since SEO is losing clicks to paid search, it will be more competitive and become more expensive, indirectly increasing AdWords spending for those businesses that cant achieve top 5 and also companies already spending in adwords who will try to maintain the lucrative top 3 podium spots.

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