How Up To 85% Of Google Search Results Are Actually Paid Ads

computer angryStill hasn’t found what he’s looking for.

Photo: Jonbro / Flickr, CC

Sponsored results frequently overwhelm Google search results, according to a study by Wordstream, a search marketing management company.Wordstream founder Larry Kim and his team found that for search results about shopping items, as much as 85.2% of the real estate in which users might expect to see results are actually taken up by ads.

Currently, 64.6% of search clicks for keywords with “high commercial intent” (i.e. shopping searches) are on ads — not on “real” content that got to the top of the page because the company is most relevant.

Google search results can be so cluttered with its own ads that, often, you can only see “real” results by scrolling down the screen to get to them.

Here’s Wordstream’s report:

Did you know that Google was waging a 'war on free clicks'?

Paid ads increasingly dominate Google's results pages.

About half of people can't tell the difference between ads and organic content.

The cost of a keyword on Google is correlated to its likelihood that it's about shopping.

Google has made it more and more difficult for sites to rise to the top of its search results organically. The adjustments to its algorithm, codenamed 'Panda' and 'Penguin,' penalised spam sites.

Google makes it a lot easier for marketers to get seen in its results if they buy ads rather than rely on free search engine optimization.

There's still value in SEO, however.

This study was brought to you by Wordstream ...

Now see how Google compares to Facebook.

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