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by Stephen Logan on 12th January 2010
It is difficult to fully test the relationship between organic search results and paid links, according to one industry analyst.
Writing for Search Engine Land, David Roth described it as "simply impossible" to isolate every variable that affects a query, but what can be useful is gathering meaningful data about the relationship.
He explained that the key for marketers delivering pay per click (PPC) services is to compare the conditions when a site is organically ranked first on a results page without a paid search advert, with the situation when a paid link is in place.
Mr Roth labelled the positive impact of a PPC advert as its ‘lift’ and the quantity of paid traffic that comes at the expense of the organic link as ‘cannibalisation’.
"If you can quantify cannibalisation and lift in any situation, you can then begin to think intelligently about what to do," he commented.
Last week, Debra Mastaler told the same news provider that marketers should see unusual search results as an opportunity rather than a problem.