AdWords vs. Organic Search: Why Bother With Expensive Clicks?

A reader wonders, "Why should I bother with AdWords when I just click on the organic listings? Wouldn't it be better if I could just get a top organic listing, and that way I wouldn't have to pay Google for traffic?"

Excellent question! Here's my answer:


Make sure you leave your comment below and get in the mix.

Transcript of video:

Hi, Howie Jacobson here staring at my camera, pretending it's you. I got a question from a reader, Jane, who wants to know: "Why should I bother with AdWords putting ads on the Google search results page when, when I go to Google, I just click one of the top organic listings? Why should I bother with an ad if people like me prefer the organic listings to the ads?

So a lot of people do that. They ignore the ads and just look at the listings. Some studies of how much things get clicked on search results pages show that the top organic listing can get 40, 50, or 60 percent of all the clicks on the page.

So an AdWords ad that only gets one to five percent of the clicks is clearly not going to be as significant as getting that top organic position. So if you were to ask me: "Should I get the top organic position for a keyword?" I'd say absolutely, no reason not to.

Now, the question is can you? How long will it take you? How much money and time will it cost you? Is there an easier way to get onto that page? So if the answer is no, you can't get onto the page organically, then you can buy your way on with AdWords, which is one of the chief functions.

Another function of AdWords is once you've gotten onto the organic listings how do you know what your listing should say. You have the choice. You get to create the title tag, and you get to create the description line which will be the listing, the thing that's going to compel people to click or not.

You can use AdWords to very easily test messages so that when you are, in fact, ready to be in the top organic position or anywhere on that page organically, you know what text to use to get the click.

And finally, if you have that top organic position, most people find that bidding on the same keyword for AdWords actually gives them a boost in both cases. So they're not cannibalizing the free clicks with the expensive clicks. They're actually getting more and making more profit.

So I hope that answers your question. I see you have another question, which I will answer in another video. So everybody, thanks for watching. Have a great day.

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  1. #1 • John said on December 8 2010:

    Hi Howie,
    Is it possible to get a PDF version of your book–Google Adwords for Dummies?
    For me, it makes it much easier to study, hilight, and absorb.

  2. #2 • Howie Jacobson said on December 8 2010:

    Hi John,

    I don’t own the rights to the book; Wiley, my publisher, does. I have seen it available as an ebook, and there’s a Kindle edition as well.

    If you really want PDFs, you should sign up for Traffic Surge, a self-paced, guided course that takes you through AdWords 101. It includes enhanced PDFs with color screen shots, video tutorials, question and answer threads, and live monthly implementation calls.