In the world of digital marketing, using paid Google Ads (or AdWords) doesn’t directly influence your organic results or boost the rankings of your website pages – even though some companies have claimed to have seen an increase in organic traffic after investing heavily in Google Ad campaigns. Equally a competitor isn’t going to necessarily rank higher than you if they are the only ones spending money on PPC efforts.
Google advertising is separate to its Google search engine, and it therefore doesn’t allow you to directly purchase automatic higher listings on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). Saying this, despite the clear distinction, in some cases paid search can influence organic results indirectly, in several ways. Google does not directly control or target everything, meaning human intervention and other factors can lead to some overlap.
Optimising Google search rankings
Before examining how Google Ads can indirectly boost organic search, it’s worth discussing SEO briefly. As you’ll be aware, there are a huge range of considerations which can impact the position of your site on SERPs. The quality and relevancy of the content, the presence of keyword-friendly meta descriptions and the inclusion of external and internal links are just some of the key factors at play in successful SEO efforts.
Increasing user engagement
The amount of times a listing gets clicked on (referred to as the click-through rate) can influence your rankings on Google’s search engine. Before clicking on an ad, just seeing one can raise awareness of a brand, making its associations increasingly familiar each time it appears.
Such increased exposure may lead to a user clicking on a paid ad. When subsequently seeing the same brand appear in the organic search, a searcher may be more inclined to engage with the organic content. Searchers are likely to trust a brand which they have had prior exposure to, as it can seems more familiar, reputable and reliable.
Ads can therefore be a great means to target an audience, strengthen your brand identity and increasingly encourage people to engage with your organic content. This could boost your rankings and lead to eventual conversions.
As a Google study has revealed, when a user sees a Google Ad combined with a related, organic listing, they will be more likely to click on either one.
For example, if you are looking for a good Italian food in the UK’s capital, you might search for ‘best Italian restaurants in London.’ If an ad for a restaurant appeared in the results, as well as a high-ranking organic page from their site, you are effectively increasing the search bias to potentially boost the click-through rate on either an ad or organic page.
When a user merely sees an ad or organic listing independently, this often decreases the click-through rate as there is less brand exposure.
Whilst this alone is not a strong reason to invest in PPC, especially at great expense, this is just one way in which PPC can contribute to a successful digital marketing campaign.
Impact on click-through rate
Depending on the industry and search terms used within a search query, the average click-through rate (CTR) on paid searches is around 2%. However, competitive queries will often result in a significantly higher CTR percentage on paid ads, whilst others will feature zero paid ads to begin with. This means that by investing in particular keyword ads, which are higher in volume and low in competition, you can potentially alter the entire SERP to improve your click-through rate.
According to one study, when a single ad is displayed on a SERP, the CTR for the first organic listing increases by 13.2%. When there are two or three ads, this can lead to the CTR dropping between 43.7% to 63.6%, depending on the nature of the industry.
Attempting to alter the CTR this way might seem daunting and over-ambitious, but with careful research and expert knowledge, it can pay off.
Using paid ad campaigns can strengthen the likelihood of people interacting with your brand in exciting ways. If an individual clicks on a paid ad, this could take them to your site, which had been unknown to them beforehand. They might go on to mention your site elsewhere, or link to your content as an authority. Likewise, your content could be shared on social media platforms.
In turn, such extended coverage can lead to boosting your organic traffic and rankings. This is especially true if your pages contain engaging and useful content which offers users a unique experience.
Bidding on paid search
Bidding on paid search queries can impact the wider market and related industry searches. By offering incentives and using relevant keywords in queries, an organisation can strengthen their presence on paid search and shift engagement from other competitors. However, bidding on underused paid ad space, with lower competition, can encourage new competitors and alter the dynamics of a SERP.
Balancing paid and organic search
You can see that a successful approach to digital marketing involves using paid and organic search strategies. Using both effectively is the best way to achieve results such as increased online visibility and boosted search engine rankings.
At Crescat Digital, we know how overwhelming it can be attempting to manage the SEO of your site whilst creating effective PPC campaigns. We are here to address your business marketing needs in several ways, whether you need support with PPC or website SEO optimisation. With a team of in-house specialists, we can also assist you with content creation, social media and website design / development.
Get in touch today for more information about how we can deliver incredible results for your business.