Paid advertising and organic rankings are seemingly not related to each other. How come a PPC(Pay Per Click) campaign could affect organic SEO results?
I believe the subject is not as simple as to come up with a generalized idea. There is a big block of preconceived opinion sitting between what we have been told and the truth.
A very common misconception, if a business is paying Google to run PPC ads why would Google rank that business in organic search listings. At the very surface level, this approach seems quite logical.
However, this type of approach only covers the surface level without looking at other components of organic search ranking.
In my opinion, paid advertising can definitely affect organic rankings. Although we don’t know how the Google algorithm process the things, we have well-supported opinions to believe so.
Can Paid Advertising Help Google’s User Testing?
A very common problem brand new websites have they get barely any traffic from the search engines. Google usually sends a few clicks a day for a few months. No matter the site has high-quality content, strong social signals, or powerful backlinks; Google liked to put the new sites in a certain hold period.
Many people call this period “Google Sandbox”. What holds the new websites back from having organic traffic?
Let me whisper the secret.
Google doesn’t know a new website since it didn’t build any trust yet. It didn’t run any user testing yet to understand where should the website rank.
Also, Google seems to be taking things slowly with user testing. It gradually collects data overtime before it decides the actual SERP position a website should have.
When I look at my Google web console, I get impressions and clicks from the keywords that I have never included in any piece of my content.
The only keyword I have included in my content is the “Google algorithm update”. All other queries are nonrelevant to the content I am publishing.
What Google is trying to do with that?
Google sends traffic for the keywords that lay at the bottom of the keyword pyramid. It doesn’t test a website with its target keywords but rather with ones that have zero buying intent.
Could it be any better opportunity than to test a website with junk traffic?
Google is a search engine company that aims to grow its revenue. It is unlikely for Google to serve an untested website in the search results. Else, Google’s reputation could get hurt from doing that.
Google needs data to decide where should a website rank for. If the website is new Google needs a lot of data and the only way to acquire it is through user testing.
Although on-page SEO, backlinks are very important today Google is still a robot that runs an AI to decide what the content is about. Also, No AI yet has reached a human level capability to understand the quality of content. Google knows this truth and doesn’t want to risk its reputation by ignoring user testing.
Google tracks everything through Analytics. It knows your social, referral, direct and organic traffic. It knows how your website performs with a different type of traffic. Google shares this information publicly with you if you set up Google Analytics for your website.
All we have talked not about how Google understands and ranks websites. We want to know how this information would help your SEO rankings?
Let me summarize it here shortly.
If your site receives traffic from multiple resources you, in fact, help Google to understand things better. You provide user testing data for Google to process.
Hence, I highly recommend the new sites to test their performance with paid advertising and ideally with PPC. Because PPC traffic is the closest type that mimics organic traffic.
PPC Helps Finding The Most Relevant Keyword Opportunities
PPC traffic has many common points with organic search traffic. Both types of traffic start with a search query and derived from the search results. The biggest difference PPC results are listed as a sponsored listing while organic results appear as a result of the SEO performance of a web page.
PPC allows us to see immediate results to understand which keywords drive traffic and which ones are not useful. By using the data provided from PPC campaigns we can refine our SEO targeting to optimize our organic search listings.
Total impressions received, CTR, and the conversion rates provide valuable information to tweak our content to reach our potential audience that brings the maximum profitability for our business.
It also allows us to test different meta titles and meta descriptions to find the best-performing ones. If we have a landing page that is targeted to collect leads, we can test which landing page, lead magnet or content combination would produce the best results for us.
If you don’t have much of a budget to buy enough traffic to check conversion rates, you can also look at each keyword’s CPC to help differentiate between the keywords of high and low buying intent.
The secret to benefiting from PPC for organic rankings while staying in budget is focusing on non-buyer intent keywords. You can create long-form of informative content to educate and nurture your potential customers with your brand around low-commercial intent keywords.
This could create a lower amount of conversions and generate less profit for your business. However, it can save a significant amount of money spent on PPC ads.
The superior part of PPC traffic over organic search traffic is the ability to test with the geographic data. You can test your campaigns by only targeting US web traffic since your potential customers are in the US.
PPC campaign results truly help us to understand what our customers want, and how they use keywords. This can be particularly useful since it shortens the waiting period of SEO campaigns to collect data. Having data collected earlier we can boost SEO keyword optimization and leverage our organic rankings.
PPC accelerates user testing that can be made by organic search. It doesn’t only inform you about the performance of your website, but also Google. This can be particularly useful to shorten the period of user testing data collection run by Google.
Let’s say people click on a PPC ad and lands on a website. They find out it sucks and they click the back button to turn SERP. This can be a pretty accurate early warning of how a website could perform with organic search as well. In reality, PPC is the organic traffic by itself with a twist you pay Google to list you over there.
By implementing PPC, we can test different layouts, types of content, writers etc everything in a matter of weeks that could take us for months if done with the organic traffic.
PPC Ads Create Brand Mentions
More people see your ad on search results, the more likely they may search your company with the brand name. This is a very big signal for Google.
Google emphasized multiple times in the past if people are searching for a website or business name, it is an important ranking boost for that specific business.
Google Webmaster Trends Analyst Gary Illyes said that:
“If you publish high-quality content that is highly cited on the internet, and I’m not talking about just links but also mentions on social networks and people talking about your branding, crap like that. Then you are doing great.”
PPC ads create brand awareness and expose your company name to the market. You should definitely target conversions and sales with your PPC campaigns. However, if you have a new website or business PPC campaigns can help your business if people start to search your brand name online.
It may not be very profitable to run brand awareness campaigns since they don’t really target conversions. However, it can create results that positively affect your SEO campaigns.
PPV Ads to Improve Organic Rankings
We have already mentioned PPC ads may create brand awareness for your business. Although it is fine using PPC for that goal, there is a much better way of doing it. PPV (Pay Per View) or display ads generally produce much better results to spread your business name in your niche.
PPV ads have more volume and they cost cheaper than PPC. If you want to run any type of user testing on your website you can create a few banners and run on Google or Facebook display advertising networks.
Note that SEO is like a marathon rather than a sprint. It requires hard work and a sufficient amount of budget to be invested to be successful in this sphere. By running Ads especially from Google’s ad network you will certainly increase your chances of ranking on Google.
Because you learn how your site performs and optimize it around the data more effectively. Google knows your SEO efforts, and the constant push to make it much more appealing to your potential customers. Finally, you provide a ton of user testing data to Google that may shorten the path of success to rank your website.