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Can PPC Affect SEO Success?

There are two ways to improve your search engine presence. The first option is paid search, or PPC (pay per click) advertising. Paid listings appear on the top and on the side of a Google search. They are typically the first items that a searcher sees. Paid listings that appear at the top are also highlighted. Listings appear based on how much money advertisers are willing to bid on particular keywords. Competitive keywords are obviously much more expensive than the keywords that aren’t as competitive, or popular. The second option is to appear within the organic search results, or the listings that appear below the paid results. A prominent organic listing is difficult to achieve, but this section of the search results is often more trusted by search engine users because the listings are natural. The website owners aren’t paying Google any money to appear there.

A common question is whether or not investing in PPC can improve SEO success. The thought is that if you are paying Google for PPC listings, maybe they’d help you out on the organic side of things too. However, that’s not the way it works. Paid listings and organic listings are completely separate entities and are handled as such by Google. Google doesn’t give any preference to websites that run PPC campaigns when it comes to their listing in the organic section. However, running a Google AdWords PPC campaign can have an indirect impact on the success of an SEO campaign.

While it’s true that organic listings aren’t paid for by the website owners, it certainly isn’t “free” to achieve a prominent organic listing. It takes a lot of time and effort to rank in the organic section of a search engine results page. Instead of paying Google directly website owners will need to pay an SEO agency or staff to handle SEO duties that include on site optimization, link building, content marketing, and social media. It is a long term process, which is why it’s advisable to invest in both SEO and PPC, especially at the start of a campaign.

If you’ve never invested in SEO before or if your website is brand new, it can take years to improve a search engine ranking and generate a significant amount of organic traffic. This is especially true within a competitive niche. As you are gaining SEO momentum, investing in PPC in the interim can bring qualified traffic to the site and help to build the brand in the search engines. Even if the ad isn’t clicked on, it still might be seen and remembered for the future by a target audience member.

A PPC campaign can indirectly help SEO efforts because it conveys to the searcher that your website is relevant to their needs. If your website appears in both the organic and the paid section, that is extra exposure on the page and qualifies that your site can help solve the problem that the searcher is having.

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