2 min.
Distribution of clicks in search engines: organic Vs Adwords
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Distribution of clicks in search engines: organic Vs Adwords

Content & SEO

Recently, we had the opportunity to present a short conference as part of the SEO Camp 2012 event organized in Montreal. We took the opportunity to analyze the impact of paid results on the click-through rate among the results displayed in organic SEO. Can we neglect the purchase of Adwords advertisements at the expense of organic SEO?


One of the reasons that prompted us to analyze the distribution of clicks is the significant difference between data from studies such as the one presented below and the actual organic clicks received by our customers. In addition, the increasing presence of Adwords advertisements, Google Addresses and Rich Snippets is definitely changing click rates on organic results.

It is important to mention that the analysis carried out is not scientific and that each organization should use its own data in order to evaluate the distribution of their clicks. In addition, certain variables such as titles and descriptions were not taken into account in this analysis. The tables below come from Google Webmaster Tools, but the data has been validated with Google Adwords and Google Analytics accounts to confirm the reliability of the figures.

Scenario 1: Very competitive advertising environment

Given the level of competition, the first organic result is generally displayed in 4 th  position. In this case, the first organic position generates a click-through rate of 7%.

Scenario 2: No Ads

Undoubtedly, the first organic result is really the first result presented by Google. Here we see a click through rate of 55%

Scenario 3: Significant presence of Google Places results

In this case where we had a position of 6 to 10, the click-through rate on the organic results was less than 1%!

A little eye-tracking to confirm everything  

We wanted to go a little further on this subject and carried out an in- house eye tracking  test . Each in turn, the participants had to enter a specific query and wait for the complete display of the search results. Finally, we compiled the results generated by 12 participants.

The results, which will be detailed in an upcoming blog post, correspond with the distribution presented above. Participants tended to spend a lot of time browsing Adwords ads before embarking on reading organic results and the presence of a plan in the right column influences the user not to spend a lot of time on very low results (6 to 10).


In a competitive market, organic results can generate less than 20% of total visits, which is very low, while the absence of advertising increases the click-through rate to nearly 80% on organic results.

Organic SEO is not dead, however. However, it is necessary to carefully analyze the competitiveness before establishing a positioning strategy in the search results on Google. The distribution of your budgets is the key to success. So don't put all your eggs in one basket!