Does Google Advertising Steal Traffic From SEO?

You know SEO brings visitors from search engines to your website. You know running Google AdWords ads will do the same thing. But have you ever stopped to wonder, “Do my Pay-Per-Click ads deliver new traffic, or am I just paying for visitors I was already getting from SEO for free?”

A study from the Google Research Team offers an answer to that question. (Click to read Google’s full article.) Let’s examine their findings…

How Google conducted its “Search Ads Pause” study

The basic premise of Google’s study

If an advertiser were to suddenly pause their AdWords campaign, would organic search traffic pick up the slack?

How the study worked

Google researched the AdWords accounts of over 400 advertisers, applied a statistical model to the results, and found…

Only 11% of paid (PPC) traffic is recouped by organic (SEO-derived)

It’s not as complex as it may sound.

On average, 89% of paid traffic is lost when an AdWords campaign is paused. In some cases, that percentage turned out to be as high as 98%. (My somewhat dyslexic brain does a double-take.)

What does it mean to you? As an AdWords advertiser, this means that your ad dollars aren’t wasted on traffic you could be pulling in for free. In other words, Google AdWords drives mostly brand new visitors, it doesn’t cannibalize your natural search traffic!

Watch Google’s brief “Search Ads Pause Studies” video overview:

What results are you getting from AdWords?

What do you think of the results of Google’s study, based on your own experiences or elsewise? Please share your reactions, thoughts and questions in the Comment section below. If you just plain need help with your Google advertising, IM Vermont offers full-service AdWords management.