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The Online Advertising Playbook: Proven Strategies and Tested Tactics from The Advertising Research Foundation by Robert Barocci, Taddy Hall, Steve Rappaport, Joseph Plummer

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Appeals of Natural Listings: Organic Search Engine Optimization

Search engine marketers value natural, or organic, listings (the words are interchangeable) for four reasons: (1) lower cost compared to pay-per-click, (2) higher click-through rates, (3) consumers use organic listings to judge paid listings, and (4) organic listings outconvert paid ones.

Lower Cost Compared to Pay-per-Click

Combining organic and paid search can generate advertising cost efficiencies.

Organic listings resulting from search engine optimization are essentially free, meaning there’s no cost-per-click (CPC) charged. The additional traffic generated from natural listings effectively lowers the CPC cost of paid search ads. That’s a budget stretcher and potential campaign productivity booster, as this study from MarketingExperiments.com (2004) shows. They examined the additional contribution an organic search engine optimization effort made to an existing pay-per-click campaign; five search engines were used. Sponsored listings drew 90,516 clicks for a total cost of $7,358, at an average click cost of $.81. The organic campaign generated an additional 39,160 clicks at no charge, a gain of 43%, and overall reduced the per-click cost of the campaign by almost 30%, down to $.57 per click.

Higher Click Rates Generate Additional Traffic

People click more often on natural listings. Search engine marketer iProspect (Marckini 2004) and partners studied where the users of four search engines—Google, Yahoo!, AOL, ...

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