Paid vs. Organic Search – Who Wins?

The debate over paid vs. organic search has raged for years in SEO circles. We’ve long known that natural search results held an advantage over PPC, but by how much? Recently, Econsultancy published an article showing that paid search only accounts for 6% of all clicks on Google and Bing versus 94% for natural search clicks in the UK. The research was conducted by GroupM UK in partnership with Nielsen.

The study also found that women were more prone to clicking on paid search results than men, and as individuals got older they tended to click on paid search results more than their younger counterparts.

This infographic by MEC breaks down the research in more detail:

There are some interesting takeaways here for me. Mainly, it would stand to reason, based on this study, that having an audience that skews female may mean that PPC is a better value than if your site appeals to men. For example, if you run a women’s shoe blog you may find more value in paid search than, say, an auto racing website.

Do these results surprise you at all? How much spend do you dedicate to PPC? Do you feel like the return is worth it? How well do you rank for key terms in natural search? We’d love to get your thoughts in the comments below.