How to Use Google AdWords Paid & Organic Report


Want to see how PPC & SEO work together to achieve your campaign goals?  Curious if paid search is cannibalizing organic search traffic?  Well lucky for you understanding the dynamics of how paid and organic search listings work together got a little easier recently thanks to an improvement to the Google AdWords UI.  Paid & Organic reporting.

Advertisers can now link Google Webmaster Tools to Google AdWords which provides additional insight into the relationship between paid and organic search campaigns.  This fantastic new report is aptly named  “Paid & Organic”.

Using the Paid & Organic report helps prevent cannibalization and wasted AdWords budget by identifying SEO & PPC overlap.  The report effectively shows you any instances where a potential customer might have seen your paid search results, your organic search results, or…

wait for it…

BOTH paid and organic search results together on the same results page.

How to Link Google Webmaster Tools to Google AdWords

In order to access this report you’ll need to link Google Webmaster Tools to Google AdWords.  Let’s get that out of the way.

Log in to your AdWords account, then click My Account » Linked Accounts.  The following page will give you the option to link Google Analytics or to link Google Webmaster Tools.  Click the “View details »” link found below the Google Webmaster Tools heading (see below).

Link Google Webmaster Tools & Google AdWords

On the next page, you will enter your website address and click continue.  Doing this will send a request to the owner of the Webmaster Tools account.  The owner in Webmaster Tools simply needs to accept the request, and, just like that, your Google Webmaster Tools and Google AdWords accounts are linked.

Link Google Webmaster Tools & Google AdWords

From this page you also have the ability to unlink any Webmaster Tools accounts that you wish.

Using the Paid & Organic Report

You’ve successfully linked Google Webmaster Tools and Google AdWords, so how do you use the Paid & Organic report?  The Paid & Organic report is located on your Dimensions tab and can be selected from the drop-down menu.  The report displays user search queries alongside paid and organic search metrics.  The Paid & Organic report also displays data when only PPC ads were displayed, when only organic listings were displayed, or if both channels were displayed.  This provides you with a more complete view of your paid & organic search synergy.

Let’s take a look:

Example of Google AdWords Paid & Organic Report

This report provides a more in-depth analysis of how your search marketing channels are working together by providing insight into three key areas:

Avoid Cannibalization & Maximize ROI

This report gives you the unique opportunity to optimize both paid and organic channels simultaneously which helps avoid cannibalization by PPC and maximizes your overall ROI potential.

For example, you might notice an organic listing for a particular query that is served on the second page of the SERPs. You may want to look at PPC performance for the same query and try to maximize the return here because PPC allows you to easily reach the top of the SERPs. You’ll effectively pick up lost organic traffic in this regard.

Alternatively, you might notice that both channels are served in a high position consistently for identical search queries. You may want to experiment with reducing max CPC bids or simply pausing the paid search variation of the keyword to maximize your ROI for this search term. In this example you reduce PPC cost in the hopes of generate an increase in organic conversions.

Get Complete Analysis of Search Impression Share

By looking at the “Both shown” segment or the “Combined Stats” metrics, you’ll be able to gain insight into your complete impression share, or marketing reach. You might see search terms that have a high number of ad impression but a low number of organic queries. Or, you might see search terms that have a high number of ad impressions combined with a low number of organic queries. You should analyze these instances to see if there is opportunity to improve the opposing channel’s performance.

Perform Combined PPC & SEO Keyword Research

Similar to above, you will be able to easily identify keywords that you are completely missing out on in one channel or the other.  These are keywords that your website is serving for organically that have been overlooked in your paid search effort.  Or, you might see the opposite result.  Either way, you should analyze these instances to see if there is opportunity to expand your overall reach.

The Paid & Organic report is incredibly powerful because of its ability to provide a more complete analysis of your overall search marketing efforts in one concise view.  It provides an entirely new outlook of your data and bridges the gaps that may exist between your Paid Search and Search Engine Optmization efforts.

If they are not already, your PPC and SEO teams need to be communicating with one another and this report is an excellent place to start that discussion. Once both teams are working together, you’ll start to notice the same result from your search engine marketing.

How will you use Paid & Organic reports to improve your overall search engine marketing efforts?  Leave a comment below.

Stephen Kapusta is a Senior Account Manager specializing in search and display advertising. He is best at finding creative opportunities to reach the audience throughout the conversion funnel by matching content to intent and focusing on providing the right user experiences at the right time. His education experience in media and rhetoric helped mold this marketing approach.

  • Great article Stephen. The question is if we can trust the query data from Google Webmaster Tools. Personally, I usually see big differences when I compare them with the traffic data from Google Analytics.

    • Thanks, George. In my opinion, the data provided from the Paid & Organic report seems far more accurate. GWT data is simply too round, and there are plenty of other SEMs around the web that agree with the notion that GWT data is unreliable. I actually spent a great deal of time yesterday comparing data from the 2 reports, and the AdWords Paid & Organic report just seems to be better. We’re currently doing some internal testing, and I’ll update you with any new revelations at that time.

      There are also plenty of known issues with how GWT data is collected that Google acknowledges here:

  • Thank you for great article, Stephen.I will use Google AdWords Paid & Organic Report for my graphic design website. 🙂

  • Well, it is a great report that will help us to improve our CPC planning. Thanks for sharing!

  • Eva

    Hi Stephen, do you really think that PPC should be stopped for keywords for which you appear high in organic listing? I don’t. While there might be some cannibalization (and I don’t think it’s as big as people imagine), there are far more benefits and reasons why to keep even strong organic KW running in your campaigns. First, unlike organic results, you can adjust messaging in your ads and be agile with promotions or communicating stuff you want or need or that is more effective than what Google decides to take from your code and meta tags. Secondly, showing up together in paid and organic results strenghten your SERP visibility and, imho, trust and/or powerposition in the eyes of visitors.

    What do you think?

    • Hi Eva,

      Your points about messaging and visibility are 100% correct, and these are points that I argue on a daily basis. My argument here isn’t exactly to simply pause the paid keywords and forget about it – I’m suggesting that you conduct a test. In this case, keywords are paused in order to create a test variant. Then you can analyze your combined PPC & SEO conversion data (from both variants) in order to answer the question, “Is this portion of my budget better spent elsewhere?”

  • Orla

    I’m not particularly familiar with Adwords but am interested in the Google Adwords Paid and Organic report. I therefore set up a Google Adwords account and linked it to the website but I can’t seem to find the dimensions tab. Do you have to set up a campaign first and billing account? I can just see home, campaign, opportunities and tools as the main tabs. Any help appreciated. Apologies a real novice at this!

    • Hi Orla,

      In order to see the Paid and Organic report you will need to actively run AdWords campaigns. So, yes, you will need to set up a campaign and billing in your account. Also, the dimensions tab can be seen in-line with your Campaigns, Ad Groups, Keywords, etc tab in the main window of the user interface.

  • Romeo

    can’t link webmaster tools to adwords :/ the platform changed; the green bar isn’t green anymore, and the accounts tab doesn’t have a sub-tab… I can’t find how to link a new account! maybe it’s because I need administrative access?(I have standard access)

  • Joao Carpio

    Is there an historical limit as it happens with webmaster tools, i mean over the 3 month limit?

  • Joao Carpio

    Does the Organic and Paid Report has a 3 month history limit as well as the WMT tool?

    • Stephen Kapusta

      Hi Joao, organic data is reported back to the date you started importing it from search console.

  • Xavier Clapin Pepin

    Stephen Kapusta your article is amazing and it really helps me to optimize the Adwords account I manage. Keep on going!

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