Is It Worth Running A PPC Campaign Alongside SEO

Being visible within search engines is very important for most businesses these days, as it is a fantastic way to bring in new customers.  The primary ways in which you can make the company’s website visible are Pay Per Click (PPC) and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).  Of the two PPC is often seen as the “easier” route to the first page of Google as it only requires you to create a campaign and then bid for your position.  SEO on the other hand takes a lot longer and is based upon a variety of criteria that Google uses to rank sites in order of their relevance to a search term, which even includes aspects such as the loading speed of your site!  Many people ask whether it is worth running a PPC campaign when focusing on SEO, or vice versa.

SEO vs PPC

So let’s see what the pros and cons are and whether or not it’s worth doing.

Are There Any Drawbacks?

As with everything there is always a drawback!  The most obvious drawback is that you may end up paying for traffic that would have entered your site organically anyway, although having both will drive more traffic as you have more visibility with multiple links to your site on one Search Engine Results Page (SERP).

Being able to determine where sales/enquiries came from (known as attribution) is very important when running an online campaign, as you can then see which of your channels are performing well and which aren’t.  This can be a problem when running both campaigns at once, which can then lead to extensive analysis to determine which channel brought in conversions to further improve these channels to increase conversion rates (but that’s what your friendly local marketing agency is here for!).

Furthermore there is the debate over whether you should bid for branded terms (terms including the names of your business and/or products) within your PPC campaign.  Why would you want to bid for terms that you usually appear first for?  The issue arises if your competitors are running a PPC campaign and bid on your branded terms so that their adverts appear around your entry on the SERP, which could lead to losing the most valuable traffic to your site, a visitor who searches for you directly.

ppc_or_seo

But What Are The Benefits?

Now on to the big question, why is it worth running a PPC campaign alongside your SEO efforts?

First and foremost PPC is a great revenue stream in its’ own right, regardless of whether it helps with your SEO it can (if properly set up) help to drive more traffic to your site which should lead to an increased number of conversions and ultimately helps to make people more aware of your products and services.

Another benefit that can be gained from running a PPC campaign in conjunction with SEO, is that many of the improvements to your site that will be needed to help improve the quality and relevance of your PPC campaign will also help with SEO, as you will make pages of your site more relevant to the keywords you are targeting.

As previously mentioned increased visibility is a huge benefit, as achieving position one organically doesn’t guarantee maximum coverage for your site, especially if you are operating in a competitive market.  Having multiple routes for people to enter your site on one SERP is always going to drive more traffic than relying solely on paid or organic traffic and when it comes to terms that attract high quality visitors it definitely makes sense to increase your chances of having them visit your site.  The image below shows a search term that bring up our website both organically and one of our PPC adverts.  This means that within the first four results on the SERP two of them are linked to our website.

google-seo-full-image

PPC is a method of raising brand awareness and can therefore have a positive impact on search engine rankings.  It is a good way of generating initial interest in your brand, products and/or services, which can then lead to an increase in branded keyword searches allowing for more organic traffic to your site.  For example someone may come to your site through your PPC campaign, and if they like what they see or are impressed with your products/services then there is a good chance that they will remember you and search for you by name (a branded keyword) and then they will be able to find your site without having to click on a PPC advert.

Another way in which PPC can help your SEO efforts is to use your PPC campaign to direct people towards great looking content pages.  This could be the catalyst that will lead to generating inbound links and other quality signals if people like what they see, such as being shared on social media, which will help to improve your SEO.  This is a better way of promoting your site than just publishing new content and hoping that it will be discovered on its own.

Ultimately if you have a PPC campaign within your marketing efforts you are increasing your audience through this channel and thus improving your chances of having return visitors to your site, which all helps to create a well rounded and multi-channel strategy for your brand.

So What’s The Verdict?

In my opinion whilst there are some minor drawbacks to running PPC alongside SEO (such as the potential for paying for traffic that could have been free!) the positives far outweigh the negatives.  By running a PPC campaign you have a good gauge of how relevant certain pages are to the keywords you are targeting and any work you carry out to make these pages better for use as landing pages for you campaign will also help with regards to their natural ranking for these terms.  On top of this you also increase your visibility on SERPs which will help to drive an increased level of traffic to your site.  I have worked with a number of clients on their PPC campaigns, both creating them from the beginning and improving a campaign that is already running, helping them to bring in more traffic through the campaign as well as more traffic over time as their site begins to appear higher in SERPs due to the improvements made having a positive affect on the site’s SEO.

If you have any questions about PPC or SEO for your site please do not hesitate to get in touch with me on 01480 878 510 or at [email protected]

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Ben Joy
I have spent over 5 years studying marketing strategies across consumer and business fields. I have worked within retail and manufacturing and this experience has provided me with a broad range of marketing experience.

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