Wordstream recently released an infographic titled “The War on Free Clicks” that focuses on the increasing prominence and importance of Pay-Per-Click (PPC) in Google. For someone like me who is more entrenched in organic search engine optimization, the stats included in the study are eye opening.

The war on free clicks infographic


For instance:

  1. Almost 2/3 of clicks on keywords with high commercial intent (i.e. people looking to buy) were clicks on paid ads.
  2. Sponsored listings for high commercial intent keywords take up 85.2% of above-the-fold pixels.
  3. The top organic listing in high commercial intent queries gets only 8.9% of clicks.
  4. If an advertiser buys ads for keywords for which they are already organically ranking, 89% of traffic generated by the search ads is new traffic outside of organic reach.

So does this mean that organic SEO is dead? Absolutely not.

Consider this: the purchasing funnel is comprised of multiple steps. Before someone begins typing in keywords with high commercial intent, he or she will have had to become aware of the product or service and will have had to become more familiar with that product or service through research. As Wordsteam points out, research-centric queries (question-based and informational keywords) are where organic search engine results are most valuable to searchers and where organic results get the most clicks.

This touches on the understanding of user intent behind keyword searches – a topic that would require a series of blog posts by itself. The mention of user intent is important to note here for purposes of making my final, grand statement.

SEO is not dead, and I do not I think it’s dying. But the role it plays in the conversion process has changed dramatically over the past few years, and it will continue to change.

In the past, it may have been good enough to focus only on organic SEO. But now you need both SEO and PPC to close the deal online. Consumers are becoming more sophisticated online—changing the focus of their searches based on their intent. If you don’t have SEO and PPC in your marketing arsenal to cater to the different types of user intent, you’re potentially losing out on a mind-boggling amount of business.

So, are you doing SEO and PPC for your business?