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Does PPC Affect SEO Ranking Ability?

An Honest, Practical Take

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Does PPC Affect SEO?




Thanks for reading!

You’re still here?

Oh, you really are still here. You’re a real go-getter.

I suppose you want more information. Okay, but let’s get the initial question out of the way first.

Buying PPC advertisements does not affect how search engine algorithms score your webpages for organic ranking.

Even a highly successful PPC campaign — one with lots of valuable keywords, with landing pages earning great quality scores, with ads that get great click-through rates — does not have a direct impact on your SEO.

But, as a savvy marketer, you figure there must be some way that PPC and SEO are connected. You may have also heard that PPC and SEO “work well together,” so there must be something to it.

So, let’s investigate two questions:

  • How can PPC affect SEO?
  • How can we take advantage of PPC learnings to enhance our SEO strategy?


How can PPC affect SEO?

Brand Awareness

PPC gives you the ability to show up for any keyword, as long as you’re willing to pay for it.

Sure, your quality score — a product of both your ad copy and landing page — determines exactly how much you need to bid. But let’s keep it simple for the sake of discussion: You can show up for any keyword you want.

That means that you can place your brand name in front of people. Whether they click your ad or not, they see your name.

That might come in handy down the road.

Let’s say you have a page ranking #8 for a particular keyword. That’s not a great spot. It gets a small percentage of clicks. But if people know your brand name, your 8th-ranked listing might get more clicks than the no-names at 5, 6, and 7, right?

If you get that click, and if the user has a good experience on your site (stays on the site, clicks through to other pages, and does NOT click back to the search engine), that’s a good user experience signal, which is good for SEO.

It’s only a drop in the bucket, but it makes your page slightly more likely to move up the rankings. 

Shut the Competition Out

Are you in a particularly neck-and-neck battle for traffic with a competitor? Maybe you’re stuck at #2, just behind them? Maybe their brand name closely matches the keywords you’re going after, and you have no chance?

PPC ads are one way to combat it. Buy that ad space, and you’ll “own more real estate” and appear more authoritative in search results.

It can be hard for searchers to ignore your brand name if they see it twice.

You might even want to buy PPC ads for your competitor’s specific brand name, verbatim. While we would never advise such a shrewd tactic … Oh, who are we kidding? Our competitors do it to us, and we do it to them.

This isn’t an example of PPC affecting SEO per se, but it’s a way to use PPC to drive clicks down for your competitors.


How can we take advantage of PPC learnings to enhance our SEO strategy?

The better question is how can’t we.

Even basic SEO methods use PPC’s metrics. In Google Ads (formerly Google Adwords), we see estimated search volume and cost per click (CPC), the same metrics Google shows when you work on a PPC campaign. It’s common for SEOs to use CPC as an indicator of the keyword’s buying intent and customer value.

Evaluate Your Click-Through Rate

If you test variations of your PPC ad copy (and you definitely should), you’ll probably find a few revelations. Maybe for your industry, something like “Free Estimates” or “Boston’s Best for 80 Years” is just the right message to grab the customer’s attention and make them choose your ad over the others.

Whatever you learn through doing PPC, you can consider applying to your SEO strategy to improve click-through rate from organic listings.

You probably won’t want to rewrite your meta title, which could negatively impact your rank, but adjusting your meta description is more practical. Use PPC to learn more about how to sell your business, and then use that insight for great SEO.

Evaluate User Behavior Metrics

When you do PPC, you can’t get precise information about what helps your SEO, but you can get information about user experience, which affects SEO.

Especially if you have a lot of PPC budget to spend, you can collect invaluable user behavior FAST.

What’s your bounce rate? How long do people stick around? What buttons are they clicking? Are they converting?

Hint: They better be converting. PPC traffic converts much better than organic traffic. If your PPC visitors aren’t converting, good luck with your organic visitors.

This is a tactic so good that if you really wanted to, you could argue that your primary reason for doing PPC is to learn how people interact with your ads and your site, so that you can shape your SEO strategy.


That’s all for today, kiddos. To summarize: Does PPC affect search ranking? Nope. But you can use PPC to:

  • put your name in front of people
  • put your name above your competitor’s name, and
  • learn how users interact with your website

Oh, one last thing: We are the best SEO and PPC agency in the United States of America! If you need help with either or both, give us a call!