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Google Lifts the Veil on the Paid & Organic Search Relationship

Published: September 16, 2013

Author: Melissa Kowalke

By now, most people have heard about the new Paid & Organic Search Report that can be found in the Dimensions Tab of AdWords. Once you’ve linked your Google AdWords and Webmaster Tools accounts, the report will display traffic for all paid and organic search terms, but more importantly, it displays traffic for when paid and organic are both shown together.
This is an innovative dimension of data that had been missing from all other AdWords and GA reports, and it puts to rest a lot of the questions surrounding the relationship between paid and organic.
Paid & Organic Search Report
Once you have access to this report, there is a wealth of data that can and should be used for optimization.  Below are three important takeaways and optimization ideas you should be making with this report:
1. Keyword Hunting! Use the Organic SQR – We all know that one of the fastest ways to find new relevant keywords is to use the SQR. However, this new report also includes search terms that were shown for organic only, which opens the door for keyword exploration.
A quick way to identify these terms is to create a filter for Ad. Impressions = 0. This will exclude terms that were triggered by an ad and allow you to identify new relevant terms.
2. Quantification of Brand Paid Search Value – Is it worth it? Of course! But we hear this question from clients all the time: “If we rank top of page organically, why pay for an ad?”
We’ve run Brand tests in the past by turning ads on and off and measuring change in onsite organic performance. However, with this report, you can now see how brand searches perform in terms of volume, rank, and CTR when both organic and paid show together.
Below is the Paid & Organic report for an Ecommerce account. The Clicks/Query (organic CTR) and Listings/Query (number of organic listing on the SERP) are both higher when a paid ad is shown with the organic listings. In this case, the number of organic listings nearly doubles when a paid ad is shown for the top head terms. This will of course not be true across all accounts. However, by using the filter function, it will be easy to identify areas of your account that perform better when paid search is shown, which can be a powerful tool when discussing the paid and organic relationship with the client.
Paid+ Organic Report
3. Ad Optimization and Testing: CTR vs. Clicks/Query – It’s important to identify search terms that perform much better in either organic or paid and use the better-performing listing as a guide for optimizing the other. For searches that perform better organically (have a higher Clicks/Query than CTR) with similar impression volume, using the organic listing as a guide for testing out new ad copy can help increase performance on the paid side.
Below is an example of a filter used to identify terms with high Clicks/Query and low CTR. (NOTE: Clicks/Query must be entered as a decimal.)
Filter- term identification
What’s the catch? (There is always one…or two.)
1. Unfortunately, the report is not retroactive and data is only available from the date the accounts were synced, so it will take time to build up the report.
2. The report does not include conversion data yet, but once it does, that will be a game changer.
If you haven’t linked your AdWords and Webmaster Tools accounts, you really are missing out. With all the changes that have gone on in AdWords this year (ahem…Enhanced Campaigns and YouTube In-Search), it’s great to finally have a new functionality that we can really leverage!

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