How Do SEO and PPC Work Together?

Are you wondering how your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns might work together to attract additional visitors, increase your leads, or boost your revenue? Is there really a relationship between PPC and SEO, or are the two completely unrelated?

Let’s take a look at how SEO and PPC work together, affect one another, and examine a few best practices for combining the two. By the time you finish reading this article, it’s our hope that you’ll understand how these two marketing methods can be combined to improve your website and deliver better results.

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What is SEO?

If you aren’t already familiar with search engine optimization, or SEO, here’s a brief explanation. SEO is the process by which a website is improved to rank better in searches for targeted keywords or phrases.

For example, a company that wants to improve its website’s ranking for “camera bags” might write rich product descriptions containing this phrase, rewrite its page titles and meta descriptions to include this text, speed up its website, so it loads faster, and acquire links from camera-related websites. These are just a few examples of how a website can improve its SEO.



What is PPC?

PPC, or pay-per-click advertising, refers to the advertising you see at the top and along the sides of searches on Google, Bing, and Yahoo! (among other search engines or social media networks). It’s called “pay-per-click” because the companies that place them only pay for the ads when they are clicked—they don’t pay anything otherwise.

PPC ads typically represent an affordable way to acquire new customers. However, the cost to bid on specific words and phrases varies. Some keywords may be very affordable, while others may cost up to hundreds of dollars per click, simply because there is so much competition.


Does SEO affect PPC, or does PPC affect SEO?

One of the first questions asked by those new to PPC or SEO is “can my PPC ads affect my site’s SEO?” or “can my SEO affect my PPC ads?” Technically, the answer is no—having PPC ads can’t affect your site’s ranking, and your site’s ranking can’t affect your ads. For a more in-depth answer, check out our page on how PPC can affect SEO.

Having said that, there are ways that SEO and PPC can work together to make your overall marketing plans better. Although there are no SEO benefits to having PPC ads, there are other benefits that can indirectly affect how well your website performs.

Keep reading to learn more!

How SEO and PPC can work together to improve your website

Let’s explore five ways that you can get SEO and PPC working together to improve your website, increase your leads, and boost your revenue.

SEO plus PPC = increased search engine presence

As you likely already know, improving your website with SEO gives you a better chance at ranking on the first page, or even in the #1 position, for one or more keywords that you are targeting. Additionally, purchasing PPC ads for that same keyword with a high enough bid allows your ad to appear near the top of the page when someone searches for that keyword.

If you do both of these things for that particular keyword—that is, optimize your website and purchase PPC advertising—you are ensuring that your brand dominates the search results, and that you have a better chance at a capturing those valuable clicks.

PPC helps you recover missed search engine clicks

You might assume that if your brand is already ranking #1 for a particular keyword organically (that is, naturally on search engines), you don’t need to purchase a PPC ad for that same keyword. After all, what’s the use of appearing on the same page twice?

A Research at Google study found that when search ads for a keyword were paused, approximately 89% of traffic generated by these ads were not replaced by the organic rankings. So this means that pausing your PPC ads could actually negatively impact your traffic, even if your site is naturally ranking #1!

By using PPC, you’re recovering clicks and interest from searchers that you might have otherwise missed. Even if you aren’t ranking #1 naturally, PPC can help you draw in traffic from those looking for your products or services, and often for a very small amount of money.

Remarketing campaigns give you an opportunity to reach previous visitors

Let’s say your website is ranking fairly well thanks to your SEO efforts, and is drawing in a fair amount of visitors, but these are shoppers or potential leads who take a while to make up their mind. You can combine your SEO with a form of PPC called remarketing to bring these visitors back to your site to complete their purchase or conversion at a later time.

For example, if someone is shopping for office supplies on your website, but wants some time to think about it, you can purchase ad space from a website in Google’s network to show them ads for those same office supplies at a later time. This will remind them to come back to your site and complete the purchase.

By combining SEO and PPC in this way, you can reach previous visitors and encourage them to come back to complete a purchase or convert into a lead, whereas without remarketing they may have forgotten about you entirely.

PPC lets you test new keywords for SEO

Search engine optimization often takes significant time, research, and expense. There may be times that you are thinking about targeting a specific keyword with your SEO efforts, but aren’t sure if it will pay off. One way that you can “test” the viability of a keyword for SEO is with PPC.

Simply pick a keyword you think you stand a chance at ranking highly for, and should be able to convert for (that is, one you think is highly relevant to your products or services), and purchase PPC advertising for it. Monitor the results for a while, and see how your website performs. If you perform very well, this may be an indication that you should also begin optimizing your site for it. If your PPC campaigns fall flat, you may want to avoid SEO for this keyword.

Since PPC tends to be very inexpensive, this is one way that you can test the waters on a search engine without investing significant time or expense in modifying your website for search engine friendliness.

Similar metrics: PPC and SEO

PPC and SEO give you more data for smarter decision-making

Finally, one way that SEO and PPC can work together for your benefit is to give you a large source of data for decision-making purposes. You can examine similar metrics from both your SEO and PPC campaigns, including:

  1. Clickthrough rate
  2. Bounce and exit rates
  3. Time on site
  4. Conversion rate

From this, you can determine which keywords are the most effective in generating sales, or which are sending visitors to your site that ultimately are least likely to make a purchase or become a lead. This will help you make smarter decisions about your marketing and future changes to your website.

It’s true that you can get this data from PPC or SEO separately. However, by using both PPC and SEO, you can get double the data, which helps you make an even smarter decision.

Need help creating a harmonious SEO and PPC marketing plan?

Are you new to SEOPPC, or both? Looking for some help combining the two into a harmonious Internet marketing plan? WebFX can help! As a leading full-service Internet marketing agency, our experts have many years of experience combining PPC and SEO to create real results for your company.

To find out how we can help you improve your website’s visibility in search engines, retarget visitors to your website, test new keywords, and make smarter decisions for your marketing through the use of SEO and PPC, contact us today. One of our marketing experts will be happy to put together a custom quote for a SEO and PPC plan for your website, designed to meet your specific needs. Reach out to us today to let us know how we can help you succeed online—we can’t wait to hear from you!