Does PPC Help SEO?

Clients often ask us if PPC (pay-per-click) advertising helps with SEO (search engine optimization) results. It’s a great question to ask. As a business owner or head of marketing at a company, Digital Third Coast understands your ultimate goal. You want to maximize your bottom line. Consideration of various digital marketing strategies like PPC and SEO isn’t just smart — it’s often what separates your company from the pack.

That question has a somewhat complicated answer. But in short, no, PPC does not help with SEO results…at least not directly. Here’s what Google says:

“Google’s first responsibility is to provide Search users with the most relevant possible results. If businesses were able to pay for higher rankings in the search results, users wouldn’t be getting the information they’re looking for.”

Let’s unpack this a bit more, though, because as we dive deeper, you’ll learn that there are indirect benefits for SEO from PPC. Before we jump into those details, first let’s refresh our knowledge on both SEO and PPC strategies. Then we’ll share some of DTC’s insights from more than ten years of delivering a measurable difference for our clients.

SEO Strategy

When we talk about search engine optimization, we’re talking about organic traffic. Or, simply put, traffic that arrives at your site organically and not from advertisements. This happens when users click on organic search results. Google decides the order of all search results through a series of algorithms. Their decision-making process is confidential and proprietary, but good SEO experts understand how to move sites up in search results, thus sending more qualified traffic to websites.

For a more in-depth discussion of SEO, check out our SEO services page and our blog post on the difference between on-page and off-page SEO.

PPC Strategy

Pay-per-click advertising drives traffic to a website through paid advertisements. With Google Ads, marketers are targeting specific keywords and paying to ensure their message and brand are seen before the organic, Google-determined search results. With PPC advertising, you’ll only pay when your ad is clicked.

For additional thoughts and strategy, head over to our PPC services page, and if you’re unsure about whether your marketing strategy should include SEO or PPC, check out this blog post.

Indirect Effects

So, how can PPC indirectly affect or benefit SEO results? There’s no cut and dry answer, as many experts are unable to point to direct and concrete facts. According to Moz, some indirect effects and benefits can include:

  • Searchers who see your ad may be more likely to also click on your organic search result
  • Searchers who have previously been exposed to your brand are more likely to click and convert
  • Searches with high paid traffic can impact organic CTR
  • Paid ad links can result in increased site traffic, which can sometimes lead to more site exposure via media or social media coverage

Google also uses traffic and site interaction as part of its ranking algorithms. So, if your paid ads are effective and are driving site traffic, your site’s organic ranking could see an indirect benefit. However, this is one small piece of 230+ factors in Google’s algorithms, so the impact would not be significant.

Whether marketers can directly tie PPC efforts to improve organic rankings shouldn’t ultimately decide your digital marketing plan. Your company and your unique goals should define your marketing strategy.

If you’re considering unleashing the power of digital marketing or considering adding an additional strategy, let us know. We’d love to talk you through it. Get in touch.