How Pay Per Click Complements Organic SEO (and Vice Versa)

How Pay Per Click Complements Organic SEO

They look very similar.

Only a tiny symbol separates them.

But they’re vastly different.

Pay per click (PPC) ads have been around as long as SEO, and SEO has been around as long as PPC.

They live in the same ecosystem, yet behind the scenes, their world’s are quite different.

One involves calculation, monetary investment, and near instant returns (or losses).

The other involves consistent effort over a long period of time with minimal returns, but immense returns once that coveted first page spot is gained.

Despite their differences, PPC and SEO complement each other in a beautiful way.

Most marketers and business owners, unfortunately, do not see this symbiotic relationship.

Rather, they see it as “one or the other.”

These people are missing out on a one-two marketing punch which could increase their bottom line even further.

In this article, I’m going to break down the benefits of both disciplines.

Then we’ll see how these benefits coincide and how you can use PPC and SEO together to grow your business.

Let’s get started:

Why Google PPC Ads Have Value

The ultimate goal of Pay Per Click ads is to get noticed and clicked on.

As of February 2016, Google stopped placing ads in the sidebar.

They now exclusively feature ads either directly above or below the search results.

Google PPC Ads

This makes their ads a lot more visible.

Sidebar ads can be easily ignored by searchers.

Ads in the same column where they are naturally looking are tough to ignore.

To put the icing on the cake, they also changed the “Ad” symbol from a standout yellow to a more camouflaged green.

The green is the same color as each URL in the search results:


This makes it slightly harder to immediately notice the top or bottom results are ads.

This increases click through rates and reduces an ad buyer’s cost per click.

The Benefits of SEO

On the other hand, SEO allows you to get that same traffic but at zero monetary cost. (Other than paying for an agency to get those rankings for you.)

It’s free organic traffic once those rankings come in.

This makes it a great option for small to medium-sized businesses.

To top it off, search engine traffic is some of the highest quality traffic you can get, no matter what stage of the funnel your buyers are in.

Once those rankings are in, they typically stay there (with continued work) and keep generating leads and sales for months or years.

How to Complement SEO With Pay Per Click

Although small business SEO and PPC are different, they can complement each other nicely to achieve your business results.

1. Bid for branded keywords to increase click through rate

First, you can pay for branded keywords (keywords with your brand in them) to increase your overall click through rate (CTR) for those keywords.

Most likely, you already rank #1 for your branded keywords, so you’re already getting most of the traffic.

Google Adwords for Brands

Paying for ad space for those keywords allows you to take up more space above the fold before people scroll down.

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The suggested bid will likely be low as well, minimizing costs.

This will also mitigate competitors buying your branded keywords to piggyback off of your brand.

People searching your branded keywords already know about you, so you might as well try to convert as many of them as possible, especially because the relative cost will be lower than other keywords you can target.

2. Run PPC ads to find profitable keywords for your SEO campaigns

PPC ads are a quick and easy way to test whether or not a keyword will convert well for you.

However, most people only use this information to enhance their pay per click campaigns.

They figure out which keywords convert best and simply allocate more budget for those terms.

You can also make this a double whammy:

Find which keywords are performing well in your PPC campaigns, then target them with your SEO campaigns as well.

This will allow you to grab some of the free organic traffic for those keywords and increase your overall click through rate.

You will also start your SEO campaigns already knowing those keywords will convert well for your business, rather than making educated guesses (and sometimes far less than educated guesses) about which keywords are best.

How SEO Complements PPC

SEO can also help you run more effective pay per click campaigns.

1. Use your current rankings to find PPC keywords to target

If you’re struggling to find good PPC keywords to target, you can use your current rankings as a starting point.

Grab all of the keywords you are already performing well for you.

This way, you know you’re not wasting your money when you pay for them.

Then target those same keywords with PPC ads.

You will increase your overall CTR, and since you know they’re high-converting keywords, you will also increase your top line revenue.

2. Use remarketing to further target and segment your search engine visitors

Remarketing involves pixeling (tagging) people who land on your website and using another platform to display ads to them again.

You can use remarketing on social media platforms, like Facebook, or on any website that offers display advertising.

Google Remarketing Ads

When your search engine visitors land on a certain page, pixel and segment them based on the topic of that page.

This breaks your audience down into targeted interests, rather than the cumulative number of people who visit your site.

Then deliver remarketing ads based on those interests.

This will bring them back to your site, increase conversions (since they’re already familiar with you), and it will increase brand awareness.

This brand awareness will lead to more branded searches, and thus, more trust and ranking power in the eyes of Google.

Over to You

SEO and PPC are just different positions playing on the same team.

They can do well independently, but they can do even better if they work together with one another.

Have you used PPC and SEO together to reach your business results?

Let me know in the comments below.

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2 thoughts on “How Pay Per Click Complements Organic SEO (and Vice Versa)”

  1. Hi Isaac – I think they will continue to be tied together as Google keeps reducing the organic space in the search engine results pages.

  2. Great post. Love the simple tip and reminder that you can and should implement adjustments to your SEO strategy, from the success of your PPC keywords. I suspect paid ads and SEO will continually be tied closer together in marketing strategy.