Evidence that Pay Per Click PPC Supplanting Organic Results in Google

According to WordStream, a PPC technology and search engine marketing software company that just published some research on the state of Google search:

  • The click-through rate of paid search advertisements on Google now outnumbers ‘free’ organic search result listings by nearly a 2:1 ratio for high commercial intent keyword searches conducted in the U.S.,
  • When people are searching in order to investigate or make a purchase, over 64% click a sponsored result.
  • Google has also increased the on-screen real estate for paid ads for high commercial intent keywords. In some cases, between the top of the page and the right-hand side, sponsored ads take up approximately 85% of “above the fold” pixels. As a result the top three sponsored ad listings generate for over 40% of clicks on those pages, and product listing ads 19%.
  • Total click-through rates for Google ads on high commercial intent queries are up to 600 times higher than the click-through rates for ads on a typical Facebook page.

Source: http://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/how-google-is-killing-organic-search.html and http://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2012/07/17/google-advertising

Here is an infographic with all that data and more:

Read more

Rich Snippets Get You More Clicks

There is even more data appearing that reinforces one of Blizzard’s opinions: Ranking is nice, but HOW you look when you rank is very important.

A new eye-tracking and click-tracking study from Mediative (formerly known as Enquiro) shows the value of having the top spot in Google’s local results, but also suggests that social content and signals can boost rankings further down the page.

Mediative’s study of online click-tracking:

  • Most clicks went to the first listing, with the second and third businesses getting progressively fewer clicks.
  • The fourth listing, the one with a review and text snippets, appears to have had more click activity than the third result.
  • The top-ranked business always garnered attention and clicks, but listings further down the page did well when they had additional social content like star ratings, reviews and text snippets.
  • When the top results have fewer social signals such as reviews (e.g. London), lower results get more visual attention.
  • If your website is listed in any position other than the top, and your listing does not include any social signals, it will be relatively ignored, especially if there are other listings that do have social signals.

An eye tracking study done in July 2010 reveals some new insights into searcher behavior.

The study shows that the search snippet, often the meta description from the site, is an extremely important factor for searchers. It is fixated ovre more than the title or URL… searchers spent more time reading the snippet.

UK based SEO firm BrightLocal recently conducted an online survey of just over 2,000 consumers in the US and UK to determine local search usage patterns and attitudes. They found:

  • 71% of online consumers consulted local business reviews at least occasionally, with 22% saying they do so regularly
  • Those in the 35-54 age range consult reviews more than other groups
  • 55% of US consumers trust a local business more after reading positive online reviews, and reviews appear to have a meaningful impact on consumer behavior
  • 67% of respondents say they trust online reviews as much as word of mouth recommendations

Travel Stats from Google’s new thinkinsights

Google has a new portal for users to discover interesting stats: thinginsights

I discovered this there:

  • 62% of personal travelers use search engines as the number one source for travel information. Google/OTX, Traveler’s Road to Decision 2010, U.S, Sept 2010

  • 51% of business travelers use mobile devices to get travel information, more than double the rate of two years ago. Google/OTX, The Traveler’s Road to Decision 2011

  • 46% of personal travelers are watching travel-related videos, versus 36% two years ago. Google/OTX, The Traveler’s Road to Decision 2011

Adwords Stats (non-travel)

  • Over 89% of traffic generated by search ads is not replaced by organic search results when ads are paused. Google, Search Ads Pause Study, Global, Jul 2011

  • Two-line sitelinks increase click-through rates by more than 30%*. Google Internal Data 2011, *Compared to standard Adwords ads

Video ads can help your Brand Search:

  • Consumers exposed to a YouTube homepage ad are 437% more likely to engage in a key brand activity on the same day than those unexposed.

60 Percent of Travel Industry Marketing Gurus Rank Search Tops

EyeforTravel has a new report “Travel Distribution & Marketing Barometer

A massive 60% of Travel industry marketing gurus still rank search as the number 1 way to drive traffic.

Globally, organic search is the most influential marketing channel for online travel marketing followed by paid search, then good old email marketing, social media, meta search and lastly mobile marketing.

There are massive fluctuations across the different verticals within travel and across the size of the organisations. For instance:

  • 43% of cruise companies rank email marketing as the most influential marketing channel whereas for hotels it is only 13%.
  • In companies with a marketing budget of over US$ 51 Million, 84% see search as the key
  • whereas only 44% of small travel companies (those with marketing budgets below US$25 thousand) rank search as the most influential channel.

Bing, Google, Longtail and CTR Data

Elisabeth Osmeloski of Search Engine Land shares some interesting Hitwise data:

  • Bing and Yahoo:   81% of searches resulted in a visit to a website.
  • Google and Yahoo:   64.9% of searches resulted in a visit to a website.
  • Bing saw a 5 % drop in December 2010, Google saw a drop.  (Visit the article for full data on this breakdown.)

Longtail Queries were down a bit:

  • Shorter search queries — those averaging one to four words long — increased 1 percent from November 2010 to December 2010.
  • Two-word searches comprised the majority of searches, amounting to 24.26 percent of all queries.
  • Longer search queries — five to eight words — were down 4 percent from November 2010 to December 2010.

Search Remains the Number One Planning Source for Leisure Travel

According to a Google study of 5,000 Personal and Business Travelers:

Planning Source for Travel

  • Search Engines.  62% for personal travel and 55% for business travel
  • Hotel Websites 53% for personal travel and 69% for business travel
  • Destination  Specific Websites 37% for personal travel and 31% for business travel
  • Social Networking Sites 16% for personal travel and 19% for business travel

Click Data for Google’s Blended Search

Google Universal search (aka blended search)  combines images, maps, news, videos and more right into the organic search.

Here is some research data on how often search engine users click on Images, News and Videos in the blended search results.

  • 31% of Search Engine Users click Images in blended search results.
  • 36% of Search Engine Users click News in blended search results.
  • 17% of Search Engine Users click Videos in blended search results.

Thanks to SEOMoz for this research on search engine behavior