What do searching users prefer?

According to Avinash Kaushik, Google’s Analytics evangelist and author of “Web Analytics: An Hour A Day”, 14% of all clicks come from AdWords ads and 86% from the organic results list.


Organic results vs. AdWords

86% Google search user prefer organic results
This comes as no surprise for many: organic search results are clearly preferred

It is therefore obvious that most Google search engine users clearly prefer the organic results, while only one sixth of them click on the AdWords ads.

Companies who apply the Pareto principle here are unlikely to neglect the systematic maintenance of their website and thus its organic positioning, which also reaches six times as many visitors on average “for free” compared to AdWords, which is subject to a fee.


A sample calculation: for the keyword “online performance marketing" there are approximately 230 million search results and the CPC ranges from 3 to 8 euros. Currently, around 1,000 search enquiries are submitted each month (as at April 2011). If we assume that approximately 86% of searching users click on the organic search results, thus providing page 1 with approximately 98% of all clicks, the keyword’s ad value on page 1 is calculated as follows: 1,000 x 98% x 86% x €4 x 10% = €337.12.

This is the amount an advertising customer would have to pay Google each month to be listed on Google AdWords and receive approximately 84 visitors. However, as the prevailing customer preferences result in only about 10 AdWords contacts, the website exploits a significantly larger share of the demand in the organic area. (This is referred to as the tipping point, i.e. the switch from paid to priceless.)


AdWords vs. SEO comparison chart
Comparison: AdWords campaign versus Google positioning

Being found on search engines, especially Google, is important for any commercial website. 

In addition to targeted ad campaigns (AdWords/SEM), top rankings in the organic search results not only generate more contacts and leads, but also boost the confidence of existing customers, partners, employees and the interested public in a company’s abilities and competence.



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