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What Do People Click On, Paid or Natural Search Listings?

Kristen Fowler Lindsey - Friday, May 13, 2005

I often get asked the question: "who actually clicks on pay-per-click ads, anyway? Do people really use them?"

Good question. Recent research from several industry outfits indicates that on average 70 percent of searchers use organic or natural search engine listings and about 30 percent use paid listings.

Jupiter research released a report saying that 6 out of 7 sales from search engines came from organic listings.

Another set of research describes a "golden triangle" of search made up of a visual diagram of where people look most on search pages which corroborates this information.

So what to make of this? Three main things to take away:

  1. Advertisers who avoid search engine optimization entirely and use the immediate gratification of pay-per-click as their only search advertising option could be missing 70 percent of their target audience.
  2. Those who write off pay-per-click advertising because of the impression that people do not look at the ads may be missing up to 30% of their potential customers.
  3. Though top rankings on both natural listings and paid listings bring the most traffic, it can still be profitable and effective to rank in the top 5 to 10 for either.

Understanding the potential of each of these Internet marketing tactics and how they apply to your specific business will ensure success, but the bottom line is that both can play a significant role in your online marketing program.

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