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The Relationship Between PPC (AdWords) and SEO

A common question with a PPC (Pay-Per-Click) campaign, such as Google AdWords, is why bother bidding on search terms where a site is also ranking well organically, including on your own brand name? This is a fair concern, but often PPC and SEO can work together effectively and still create an uplift in clicks to a website from the search results.

Back in 2012 Google published some research that indicated that even with a top ranking organic result, the presence of a paid listing as well can increase clicks to the site by 50%. So incremental clicks from search can increase by half the amount again when using Google AdWords, plus if the organic results are lower, the incremental growth in clicks is higher – by 82% with rankings in 2-4 place, and 96% if ranking 5th or lower.

Now you might think that Google would report that wouldn’t they, as the results favour the use of AdWords, which is Google’s cash cow. Also the layout of the results have changed since that time, with AdWords listings becoming more prominent for most commercial searches these days. However, the conclusion can also be tested by advertisers and, as long as AdWords remains a cost effective marketing technique, it’s certainly worth running the ads alongside the SEO rankings to increase overall clicks to your website.

Many people say that they would never click on the ads in the search results and just the organic listings, as they trust Google’s rankings more than any position paid for by an advertiser. Whether that’s the correct assumption or not, having an ad appearing above an organic result does give a company more chances for a click to their site, plus the branding impact from the domain name appearing several times could also help, with searchers seeing that business as a likely answer to their search if they are visible several times.

Bidding on your own brand name may be less of a necessity, unless there are other AdWords ads that are targeting your brand or generic terms related to your brand that show above your organic result. Bids on your own brand name tend to be low cost and you can also get some good information from the search query report in AdWords about how people have searched for your business, but again, using AdWords for this purpose needs to be cost-effective and relevant to the searcher, and ensuring you get the click to your site through either method.

There’s a feature in AdWords that allows you to track how your site appears in the results for both paid and organic search results, so you can see the overlap or gaps. We’ll be covering this report in some more detail in a future issue of this newsletter.

If you’d like any further information about the overlap in search results and the best strategy to follow for your business, please contact us now for a discussion.