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Google declares war on free clicks

Updated 4 years ago
Published Jul 17th, 2012 3:35PM EDT

Google is an advertising company first and foremost, but the big revenue the company sees from ads is funding the rest of the company’s efforts — efforts that have brought us great products and services like Gmail, Google Maps and the company’s new Nexus 7 tablet. Search remains Google’s core product, of course, and countless businesses are sustained by traffic generated by Google searches. As such, it’s no mystery that advertising is Google’s biggest revenue generator by a landslide. Google has made moves recently to promote clicks on paid ads rather than organically surfaced results, and a new study reveals that Google’s efforts have had quite an impact.

Google’s net income popped in the first quarter this year, and a recent study conducted by online advertising consulting firm WordStream highlights one of several key factors responsible for the increase: Google is burying organic search results under a mountain of sponsored results, and the impact is huge.

For keyword searches with high commercial intent performed by U.S. Google users, sponsored results attracted the lion’s share of clicks by a huge margin — 64.6% of traffic from theses searches went to sponsored links while 35.4% when to organic links. WordStream defines searches with high commercial intent as searches where the user is looking to buy a product or service rather than answer a question. These searches are obviously far more important to businesses than any other type of search.

WordStream founder and chief technology officer Larry Kim says it’s too early to decide whether or not pay-per-click will render SEO obsolete for businesses hoping to generate significant revenue through Google searches, but the trend certainly seems to be shifting toward PPC in the U.S.

An infographic showcasing the findings of WordStream’s study follows below.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content.

Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment. His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.