Measuring paid & organic search results

You know that you can use AdWords reporting tools to see how often your ads are showing to potential customers, and which keywords are triggering those impressions. With the paid & organic report, you can also see how often pages from your website are showing in Google’s free organic search results, and which search terms triggered those results to show on the search results page. This information helps you better understand how paid and organic search work together to help you reach people searching online, use the organic results to identify new, potentially valuable keywords, and gain a holistic view of how your online presence is performing overall in terms of attracting views and clicks.

In this article, we’ll explain what specific insights you can gain from the paid & organic report, why these insights matter, and what you need to do to enable this report in your AdWords account.

In order to use the paid & organic report, you’ll need to have a Webmaster Tools account for your website, and you’ll need to link that Webmaster Tools account to your AdWords account. (Webmaster Tools is a free Google tool that gives you data and tips to help you understand and improve your search traffic.) Once you link your accounts, you’ll be able to view your organic search results right alongside the performance statistics for your AdWords campaigns.

Example

Karen runs a website that sells travel guides for destination all over the world. When she looks at her paid & organic report, she sees that her site appears every now and then in organic search results for the search query "Hawaii vacations." She also sees that the organic clicks/query rate is relatively high, which means that lots of people searching for "Hawaii vacations" who see Karen’s site listings actually click through to her site. Karen sees this as a great opportunity to attract even more people interested in her business to her site, and she decides to add keywords like "Hawaii vacations" to her relevant AdWords campaigns.

A few uses for paid & organic reports

The new paid & organic report provides a holistic view of your search stats across ads and organic listings at the query level. This lets you analyze strengths and gaps in your overall search presence, and gives insight into how your paid and organic search listings work together to connect your business with people searching on Google. Here are three simple and powerful use cases for this report:

Discover additional keywords

Use the report to discover potential keywords to add to your AdWords accounts by looking for queries where you only appear in organic search with no associated ads.

  • You can identify queries with a low number of paid impressions by adding a filter for "ad impressions = 0" or "ad impressions < X" (if you have multiple accounts, all organic search data will be imported in each account).
  • Downloading a paid & organic report in a My Client Center (MCC) account (for AdWords accounts with the same language and geo settings) will allow you to find duplicate organic queries and identify queries that have no paid impressions across any accounts.
  • You can also add an additional filter to identify queries containing specific text, like your brand name or your most important products and services.

Optimize presence on high-value queries

Use the report to improve your presence in paid results and monitor your high value queries for organic results.

  • Identify relevant queries for your business that have low organic traffic volume and target these queries to strengthen your paid search presence.
  • Consider showing a more useful, prominent and differentiated message from your organic listing by tailoring your ad text and using extensions.

Measure changes holistically

As you test website improvements or changes to bids, budgets, or keywords, you can more easily see the impact across paid, organic, and combined traffic.

  • See how changing your keyword bids increases or decreases overall combined clicks for related queries, and work to cost-effectively increase your overall traffic for your most important queries.
  • Understand how ads may impact your combined performance for certain queries by comparing the "organic only" and "both shown" segments for the same query. For example, you may want to see how your clicks/query differ when you have both types of listings on the page, compared to when you just have one or the other.

Understanding the paid & organic report

Once you’ve set up paid & organic report on your account, you can view it on the Dimensions tab. The report is updated once a day.

Here are the columns found in the paid & organic report and definitions for each metric:

Ads  
Ad Clicks The number of times someone clicked your ad when it showed for a particular query.
Ad Impressions How many times your ad has appeared on a search results page or website on the Google Network.
Ad CTR How often people who see your ad end up clicking it. CTR can be used to gauge how well your keywords and ads are performing.
Ad Avg. CPC The average amount you pay each time someone clicks your ad. Average CPC is determined by totalling the cost of all clicks and dividing it by the number of clicks.
Ad Avg Position Helps explain where your ads rank, on average, on the search results page.
Organic  
Organic Clicks The number of times someone clicked your site's listing in the unpaid results for a particular query.
Organic Queries A web search. This column indicates the total number of searches that returned pages from your site over the given period.
Organic Clicks/Query The number of clicks you’ve received on your organic search listings divided by the total number searches that returned pages from your site.
Organic Listings/query A listing is when a page of your site is returned as a search result. This column indicates the average number of times a page from your site was listed per query.
Organic Avg Position Average position is calculated by taking the average top position of your listing (or multiple listings) for each query.
Combined ads and organic  
Ads and Organic Clicks This column represents the number of times a person clicked either:
  • one of your ads
  • one of your organic search listings
Ads and Organic Queries A query is a web search. This column indicates the total number of searches that returned pages from your site in the organic search results or triggered one of your ads.
Ads and Organic Clicks/Query The number of clicks you’ve received on your ads or organic listings divided by the total number queries that either:
  • returned a page from your site
  • triggered one of your ads

Though they're not shown by default, you can add Keyword, Ad Group or Campaign columns to your report by clicking Columns > Customize columns > Ad stats and selecting the column type you want to add.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Investment in paid search has no impact on your organic search ranking. Google maintains a strict separation between our search business and our advertising business.
  • Organic results are not constrained by your AdWords campaigns’ ad targeting settings. In other words, your ads are limited by the languages and locations you target in your AdWords account, but your organic search listings are not. That means it’s possible to have more organic impressions than paid impressions even if your campaigns have 100% impression share. For example, if your ad campaign for a given keyword is targeted just to the United States, an organic impression occurring in Canada would still show up in your paid & organic report for that keyword even though you don't advertise there.
  • Your organic data is only reported back to the date you starting importing it from webmaster tools, so you won't see historical organic data before you established that link.
  • The organic data you see is based on all domains you've linked to your account. At this time, we don't have a way to filter organic traffic to just a subset of linked domains.
  • Your PLA, text ad, and organic search result can appear together in search results. When this happens:
    • The default paid & organic report records PLA impressions in the “Ad shown only” row, not the “Both shown” row.
    • Reports with added columns for campaign, ad group, or keyword won’t match the default report. This is because the impression is assigned to either search ads or PLAs - not both.

Setting up the paid & organic report

In order to view the paid & organic report, you must have your Webmaster Tools account linked to your AdWords account. If you don’t have a Webmaster Tools account, you can set one up at anytime on the Webmaster Tools site.

Linking your Webmaster Tools account to your AdWords account

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account at https://adwords.google.com.
  2. Click the gear menu () and select "Account settings."
  3. Click "Linked accounts" in the navigation bar.
  4. Under the "Webmaster Tools" section, click "View details."View details
  5. In the text box, enter the URL for the website you want to link (i.e. www.example.com).
  6. Click "Continue."
  7. If accounts link successfully, you’ll get a "Congratulations" message. Click Done.

    Note: in order for the accounts to link successfully, the administrator for your AdWords account must be the owner of the website (and the associated Webmaster Tools account) you are trying to link. If you’re not listed as an owner on the Webmaster Tools account, AdWords will help you send a message to the current owner requesting access. If there’s no Webmaster Tools account set up for the site you’re trying to link, AdWords will prompt you to "Claim it" at Webmaster Tools and provide the link to do so.

Tip

In order to see all of your organic data, there are a few things to keep in mind when setting up Webmaster Tools and linking to your AdWords account.

  • When claiming a domain in Webmaster Tools, add both the www and non-www versions of your domain to your Webmaster Tools account (http://www.example.com and http://example.com).
  • If your site uses HTTPS, also claim both variations of the HTTPS versions (https://www.example.com and https://example.com).
  • In your Adwords account, link both www and non-www versions of your site (no need to specify HTTP or HTTPS, just example.com and www.example.com).

Learn how to solve indexing problems to make sure you're seeing all your data.

Managing your linked Webmaster Tools accounts in AdWords

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account at https://adwords.google.com.
  2. Click the gear menu () and select "Account settings."
  3. Click "Linked accounts" in the navigation bar.
  4. Under the "Webmaster Tools" section, click "View details." View details
  5. This page lists all your linked Webmaster Tools accounts. You can sort this page by "Date modified" or "Status."
  6. Depending on the status of a Webmaster Tools account, which is listed underneath the site’s URL, you’ll have different management options to choose from. If an account is linked, you’ll have the option to "unlink." Other options include sending a request to access a Webmaster Tools account, retrying to "claim" an unclaimed site at Webmaster Tools, and requesting access if your access has been revoked.

Next steps