Do Pay-Per-Click Campaigns Affect My Website’s Ranking on Search Engines?

Often times when speaking with folks about LSM’s services, I hear this question:

  • “Will running PPC (pay-per-click) ads help my organic search rankings, and vice versa, does SEO help my paid advertising efforts?”

The short answer to these questions is: directly, no. However, there are components of each of these scenarios that CAN affect the other indirectly. Let’s take a deeper look.

The Difference Between SEO & PPC

In a Search Engine Results Page (SERP), the first listings you typically see are paid advertisements that are served through auction networks like Google AdWords or Bing Ads. These ads are what we refer to as pay-per-click (PPC) ads, meaning the advertiser only pays when a visitor clicks on the ad.

    Beneath these advertisements are the local map listings (otherwise known as the “Local Pack” section) and the organic search results. These results are populated based on the search engine’s own proprietary algorithm, and it’s impossible to directly “buy” any visibility or placement in this portion of the SERP (though Google recently tested running ads in the Local Pack section).

     This is where search engine optimization (SEO) comes into play. Agencies such as Local Search Masters perform SEO best practices to help inform search engines that your website has a better answer to the user’s search query than other sites on the web.

Pay-Per-Click Ads’ Effect on SEO

While there’s no direct relationship between paid traffic and improved search rankings, having any traffic to your site can help signal to Google’s algorithm that your site is trustworthy. Another positive side effect of running PPC campaigns is that you have much greater insight into which keywords generate revenue – this knowledge is a gold mine for optimizing those pages even further organically. Andrew Girdwood, Media Innovations Director at DigitasLBi says, “It is true to say that a combined PPC and SEO campaign can drive more traffic than two separate [PPC] campaigns.”

SEO’s Effect on PPC

There’s a bit more tangible evidence that a well SEO’d website will perform better as a destination for a paid advertising campaign. We predominantly support two ad networks: Google Adwords and the Facebook Ads network. With Google Adwords, a large component that determines the cost of a click deals with “Quality Score,” a number between 1-10 that Adwords gives your ad based on numerous factors, such as expected click-through-rate, ad relevance, and landing page experience, the most pertinent factor here. If you have a well-optimized landing page, your quality score will improve, which can increase the number of ad impressions/clicks and reduce the amount of money it takes to garner those clicks, i.e. reduced CPC. Facebook also employs a rating factor called “Relevance Score” that acts similarly to Google’s Quality Score.

Summary

Remember, Google and other search engines like Bing and Yahoo strive to serve the most relevant search results they possibly can based on what a user is looking for and what content is available. Jim Yu from Search Engine Land says, “By intelligently integrating your paid and organic search activity, synergies provide greater results in SERP domination.” A unified SEO and PPC strategy can help both organic efforts and paid efforts simultaneously if it’s done correctly.