has released an interesting study that indicates paid search is only slightly more effective than optimisation when it comes to conversion rates.

The research, which focused on 20 major B2C sites over the first eight months of this year, basically suggests that neither paid or organic search advocates are right to claim their methods are better.

It shows PPC keywords bought from search engines had a median order conversion rate of 3.40% between January and August, compared to a rate of 3.13% for organic search results.

With conversion rates 50% higher than overall site conversion rates, both paid and organic search remain a very important acquisition source for online marketers,” said Ali Behnam, senior digital marketing consultant for WebSideStory.

However, it is important to note that these are not typical results. Our clients are steeped in web analytics best practices and understand better than most how to truly optimise their search engine marketing campaigns and conversion rates.

The analytics company studied around 57 million search engine visits during the period, and counted order conversions that occurred during the same session.