What is the impact of PPC on SEO (Search Engine Optimization)?
Pay-per-click (PPC) and search engine optimization (SEO) are the two most popular forms of search engine marketing. You can use either of them to funnel high-quality traffic from Google to your website.
PPC involves the creation of paid ads that appear as sponsored listings, whereas SEO involves optimizing a website and its backlink portfolio to rank higher as an organic listing.
Since PPC ads contain a link, you may be wondering whether they’ll improve your website’s search rankings.
Search engines typically place enormous value on links when ranking websites. The links in PPC ads, however, feature the nofollow tag, meaning they are largely disregarded by search engines.
While the links may fail to boost your website’s search rankings, PPC can still positively affect your site’s SEO strategy.
Identify New Keyword Ranking Opportunities
You can use PPC to identify new keyword ranking opportunities. When running a PPC campaign, you’ll gain insight into which keywords drive the most traffic and which keywords drive the least traffic.
If you discover a high-traffic keyword that’s performing well in a PPC campaign, you may want to optimize your website to rank for it.
PPC allows you to see all of the keywords that triggered clicks or impressions of your paid ads. Even if you don’t bid on a keyword, search engines may show your paid ads for it.
Depending on the match type, for instance, search engines may show your paid ads for synonyms and variations of your specified keywords.
Therefore, PPC can reveal relevant new keywords that you can apply to your website’s SEO strategy. You’ll be able to see all the keywords that triggered clicks or impressions from within your PPC dashboard, regardless of whether you bid on them.
Increases Returning Visitors
Another way PPC can improve your website’s rankings is by increasing the number of visitors who return to it.
According to Backlinko founder Brian Dean, a website’s ratio of new to returning visitors can affect its rankings in Google’s search results.
Websites with a high percentage of returning visitors typically rank higher on Google than those with a low percentage of returning visitors.
PPC is incredibly effective at increasing returning visitors because it supports remarketing. An optional feature in both Google Ads and Bing Ads, remarketing is designed to target users who’ve interacted with your website in the past.
You can set up a simple remarketing campaign so that only users who’ve visited your website see your ads.
After leaving your website, a user may see and click one of these remarketing ads, at which point he or she will be counted as a returning visitor rather than a new visitor.
Greater Brand Exposure
Your website will receive greater brand exposure when promoted via PPC. As users search for relevant keywords, they’ll see the paid ads promoting your website appended to the top of the bottom of the search results.
By adding your website’s brand name in your paid ads, they’ll become more familiar with it.
Brand exposure, of course, isn’t a direct ranking signal. The algorithms search engines use don’t give preference to websites operated by popular brands over those operated by unknown or lesser-known brands.
Nonetheless, greater brand exposure may indirectly improve your website’s rankings by making it known to its target audience.
If a user remembers seeing your website’s brand name in a paid ad, he or she may visit it. With more traffic, as well as a higher percentage of returning visitors, your website’s rankings may increase in response to PPC.
PPC allows you to test different headlines, which may prove useful when optimizing your website’s meta tags for SEO.
Paid search ads consist of three parts: a headline, a description and a display URL. While the description and display URL have some influence on click-through rate (CTR), it’s the headline that will ultimately determine how many users click a paid search ad.
Running a PPC campaign will provide you with data regarding which headlines generate the highest CTR.
Once you’ve found a relevant and click-worthy headline, see if you use it as a meta title tag on your website.
Meta title tags are essentially headlines for organic listings. As a result, headlines that attract a lot of clicks in a paid search ad should yield similar results when used as a meta title tag.
Increases Social Media Activity
PPC can increase the number of likes, retweets, shares and comments your website’s brand generates on social media.
It will bring new and returning visitors to your website, some of whom may talk about it on social media. On your PPC landing page, you can even ask users to like or follow your website’s brand on social media.
Bing’s algorithm is directly influenced by social media activity such as this. If users regularly interact with your website’s brand on social media, Bing will reward your site with better visibility.
Unlike Bing’s, Google’s algorithm doesn’t use social media activity as a direct ranking signal. With that said, social media activity can lead to more traffic, as well as more backlinks, that makes your website a more attractive candidate for high Google rankings.
More Customer Reviews
If you operate a website for a local business, PPC can improve its search rankings by cultivating more customer reviews.
According to a study conducted by Moz, customer reviews are one of the top local ranking signals on Google. Customer reviews show Google that your local business is praised by its audience, so it may reward your website with a top ranking for relevant local searches.
Not all paid ads are effective at cultivating customer reviews.
Rather, you’ll need to use paid ads that specifically promote your local business’s Google My Business (GMB) page since that’s where customers can create reviews. In Google Ads, you can promote a GMB page using local search ads.
Search engines don’t use PPC as a direct ranking signal. According to Google, paid ads and organic listings are separate entities that aren’t algorithmically connected in any way.
Nonetheless, PPC can indirectly affect SEO in several ways. Just don’t expect it to replace traditional SEO processes like building backlinks and publishing engaging content.