Paid Google Ads Punch Organic Search in the Face [Infographic]

Google is using it’s power to force clicks towards paid ads and punching organic search listing down the page – for high commercial intent keywords. (Image source)

Pay-Per-Click ads (for high commercial intent keywords) are taking over Google search results.

Q: What is a “high commercial intent keyword”?

A: They are keyword searches that show a more specific desire to purchase

An example would be where a searcher is looking to buy a product or service, like: “buy cordless phone”.

Whereas most organic searches that don’t have high commercial intent are less likely to receive as many PPC ads on the results page (SERP). Examples of low commercial intent would be more research based like “Who is Thomas Edison?” or “When is the election?”.

Research by Wordstream found that for these valuable, high commercial intent keyword searches, paid search advertising listings gave the “free” organic search listings a resounding beat-down.

Google is clearly making a big attempt to differentiate the two and the infographic below shows some really interesting numbers on the amount of screen real-estate being taken over by PPC for the commercial intent searches.

Note: Don’t forget to tweet the awesome “smartypants” stats at the end of the post.

Google Ads and the War on Free Clicks.
© 2012 WordStream, a Provider of AdWords and Pay-Per-Click Management Tools.

Tweetable Facts

Wanna sound smart? Then tweet these PPC facts. And don’t worry, you’ll get the chance to change them before they are tweeted to your a/c.

  • Sponsored ads on high commercial intent keywords take up 85.2% of above-the-fold pixels [Infographic]
    »Click to Tweet«
  • Google ad CTR on high commercial intent queries are up to 600 times higher than on #Facebook [#PPC Infographic]
    »Click to Tweet«
  • Clicks on paid search listings beat organic clicks by nearly a 2:1 margin for keywords with high commercial intent
    »Click to Tweet«
  • 45.5% of people couldn’t identify paid ads on a search results page (#SERP) if there wasn’t a right column
    »Click to Tweet«
  • Organic search results for high commercial intent keywords a/c for just 14.8% of above-the-fold pixels [Infographic]
    »Click to Tweet«

— Oli Gardner

About Oli Gardner
Unbounce co-founder Oli Gardner has seen more landing pages than anyone on the planet. He’s obsessed with identifying and reversing bad marketing practices, and his disdain for marketers who send campaign traffic to their homepage is legendary, resulting in landing page rants that can peel paint off an unpainted wall. A prolific international keynote speaker, Oli is on a mission to rid the world of marketing mediocrity by using data-informed copywriting, design, interaction, and psychology to create a more delightful experience for marketers and customers alike. He was recently named the "The 2018 Marketer to Watch," in the under 46 category, by his mother.
» More blog posts by Oli Gardner


  1. iDream Design

    Well interesting infographic,

    I don’t think SEO will die though, organic is the foundation of Google, what made it what it is.

    Maybe a shift to PPC will happen but with that brings the good and the bad, spam will start to appear in in the paid results, users will become more clued up on how it works and the migration back to organic will happen.

    • Oli Gardner

      Agree totally, it’s just the Google are positioning PPC much more strongly for certain classes of search.

    • video bokep

      Agree totally, it’s just the Google are positioning PPC much more strongly for certain classes of search…

  2. iDream Design

    It is a shame for organic this is taking place but I can see the logic behind it for Google.

    I suppose if the converting terms are more prominent and therefore receive a higher CTR this in turn means more sales producing a lower CPA allowing more spend in the accounts.

    Well that’s my spin on it anyway probably a lot of reasons for it.

    • Oli Gardner

      I don’t think it’s that bad, as regular research based organic search won’t be affected. It’s pure ecommerce – which kinda makes sense.

  3. PaulG

    Awesome infographic!

    As someone who runs a few PPC campaigns this doesn’t suprise me (and validates what I have thought for a while). Google has been very busy ringing advertisers and making them aware that they need to add the “information” terms to their negative keyword list.

    Obviously it is in Googles interest to make sure advertisers are happy with their service and feel that they are getting traffic that buys because happy advertisers are ones who are willing to spend more.

    • Oli Gardner

      Yeah, they are really pushing the ad side of things. What I like is that they are segmenting research or simple searches from what they perceive as commerce based.

      • PaulG

        Agreed; I am currently testing to see how tweaking my SEO based on commercial changes helps with conversion rates for one of my projects.

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  5. Russ Henneberry

    It’s interesting to note though that according to this article from The Atlantic Wire, Google is facing it’s third quarter in a row with a decline in CPC ad revenue.

    Here is that article –

    It seems that since Google controls the “levers” that make AdWords work, they can tweek variables like the amount of screen real estate, the prominence of the ads on the page, etc to make paid ads more dominant on the page.

    Is this a reaction to the erosion of their CPC revenue or something driven by their user’s desires?

    It will be interesting if Google begins to take on the reputation of a salesman rather than a trusted friend that has all the answers.

  6. Sceptic

    I dont believe it. I never ever look at the ads.

  7. SteveBrettn

    PPC may be really effective if you are manage with perfect landing page. You can certain increase sale of your website if you are step ahead with perfect landing page for your ad campaign. In PPC never forget that you are paying for each and every click…..

  8. Saul Fleischman

    Great stuff, and may I suggest that anyone looking to hone in on capitalize on the shift in importance in optimizing SSO (social sharing optimization) rather than SEO – to try RiteTag. Hone in on conversations, curate content and, of course, optimize topic-tags for reach. It is a brand new social media tool, for brand monitoring, listening, topic smart-tagging, and content curation (with proper referencing of original content creators): RiteTag is a tool for finding the “rite” tags for many social networks based on your query. RT also provides stats and examples of recent updates with each tag suggested, so people can learn about the types of content that tends to go with a tag.

    Some tools do tag illustration. Also, they do the job just with Twitter; already has 10 social neworks (with topic-tagging) integrated, and will expand to more than 20 – which people can search on simultaneously. RiteTag – to find the rite tags, per network (they vary per network) and learn about tags as well. Its not about SEO, but SSO: social sharing optimization: optimizing social media updates to be seen by those not following you by name, but following and searching for your tagged topics. And absolutely nothing out there does what does for this, not for one network, let alone the ten that we already have integrated.

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  12. Video Bokep

    Concur absolutely, it’s simply the Google are situating PPC a great deal all the more firmly for specific classes of inquiry.

    It is a disgrace for natural this is occurring however I can see the rationale behind it for Google.

    I assume if the changing over terms are more unmistakable and hence get a higher CTR this thus implies more deals creating a lower CPA permitting more spend in the records.

    Well that is my twist on it in any case most likely a considerable measure of explanations behind it.