Google has confirmed, many times in fact, that PPC ads via Google Ads won’t directly help your SEO performance (that is, your organic search ranking). However, that’s not saying there aren’t ways you can use Google Ads to improve your SEO results.
The basic principle you should understand here is that the case of SEO VS Google Ads, as with the case of paid VS organic in general, is the case of time VS cost. SEO is the more affordable (and can be totally free) effort, but it will take months or even years before you can see any significant result from SEO.
On the other hand, Google Ads virtually guarantee instantaneous results, as long as you have the budget. However, placing PPC ads can be very expensive if you don’t manage it well. So, the key here is to find the right balance between the two.
Based on this principle, here are our tips on how to use Google Ads to boost your SEO results:
How Google Ads can Boost Your SEO
Research and Test Target Keywords
One of the most valuable uses of Google Ads for SEO is to research keywords.
Keywords are a very important basis for both SEO and Google Ads PPC campaign, and without targeting the right keywords, you won’t get much value from your SEO campaign. Google Ads’ Keyword Planner Tool remains one a popular tool for keyword research.
Using the Keyword Planner is also pretty simple: simply enter your URL or enter some keyword ideas, and Keyword Planner will automatically generate suggestions. You can then filter your target keywords based on these principles:
- The keyword must be relevant for your target audience, which is commonly measured via monthly search volume.
- The keyword must be relevant for your business. Not all keywords that are popular for your audience are relevant for your brand.
- Depending on your timeline and budget, the competition for the keyword must be manageable
Placing PPC ads can help us check how relevant our target keyword is to our target audience, how high the conversion rate and CTR are, and how competitive the target keyword is (for example, the higher the CPC, the more competitive the keyword is).
Ad Clicks To Help Generate Backlinks
Backlinks remain one of the most important ranking factors in SEO, and it’s no secret that link building is now more challenging than ever. It’s important to note that today, the quality of the incoming backlinks is more important than quantity, and getting links from high-quality, authoritative sites is harder than ever.
With that being said, when someone clicks on your paid PPC ads and visits your site, there’s a chance that they will link your site and/or share your site on social media. It also works the opposite way: when someone sees an organic result on the SERP when they searched for certain keywords and then see an ad from the same business, they are more likely to click on the ad.
Seeing both an ad placement and an organic result creates a perception that the brand is trustworthy and reliable, and can cause many searchers to click when they wouldn’t otherwise. Also, even when the said searcher doesn’t actually click on your ad or link your content, they might still click your organic result, bringing you valuable organic traffic, which we will also discuss below.
Boosting Organic CTR
How optimized and attractive your heading (title) and meta description is the most important factor determining organic CTR, and your Google Ads campaign is generally a good place to test and gather data to improve your copy.
If your PPC ad has high CTR, it’s a strong indication that it is a well-written copy, and so you can use the same approach in your content’s heading and meta description. Doing this can significantly improve your organic search CTR, which won’t only bring in more traffic from your organic SERP results, but also help to improve your SERP ranking, creating a positive cycle.
Remember that organic CTR is now an important ranking factor, thanks to Google’s Rankbrain (AI-based algorithm). That is, even if you’ve ranked high enough on Google’s SERP, if you don’t get high enough CTR, you might get demoted.
So, check your Google Ads account, and use the data to find any trends or common factors of ads with high CTR performance. Use these insights to further optimize content marketing strategy for your SaaS to generate a higher organic CTR. If you can’t find any usable data at first, you can always place more ads and do more testing as required.
Remarketing Opportunities To Improve SEO Performance
One of the key advantages of Google Ads over other platforms is the powerful retargeting (remarketing) feature.
Remarketing is the process of showing the targeted ad campaign to those who have visited your site or triggered certain actions, and so you can effectively engage those who visit your site but haven’t converted with your brand.
So, how can remarketing help SEO? There are two main ways:
Recapture non-converting organic visitors
People who visited your site after they stumbled upon your brand on the SERP might not make a purchase right away. In fact, 80% of the time it takes 5 or more brand impressions before someone will finally make a purchase.
Also, remarketing also allows these visitors to recall your brand in the future, and they might search for your brand name later and return as organic traffic. This is known as brand recall and might improve your organic CTR in the future. Also, by reminding your audience about your, it can improve the likelihood of them sharing your content (which might lead to backlinks).
Gather more audience data
Your remarketing list can be a really good place to help you learn more about your customers and prospects. You can check your Google Ads’ Audience Insights section on the dashboard, and then you can check various data like their interests (affinities), what they are actively shopping for, and more.
To Balance Out SEO’s Long-Term Nature
We have briefly discussed this in the beginning, but SEO is a long-term game. Although it can produce sustainable results and pay-off really well over time, it can take months and even years before you can see any of these results.
So, if you are an SEO agency or digital marketing agency, it can be difficult to convince your clients about the real value of SEO. Or, if you are a marketing executive in a company, it can be difficult to convince your boss to invest in SEO. This is where incorporating Google Ads in your plan can be the solution. By including PPC ads, you can potentially shorten the time frame in getting the same results.
Also, if said business has already spent a lot in PPC ads, working on SEO can potentially save some of this amount once the SEO results come into full swing. You can base the projections based on the value of Ads’ revenue to help convince your clients or your bosses.
While Google Ads won’t directly help your SEO performance, there are various ways it can indirectly help your SEO performance. Google Ads can help expose your content to more users, which can improve the likelihood of people sharing or linking to your content, generating valuable backlinks in the process.
PPC ads can also help balance out the long-term nature of SEO, and so can help shorten the timeframe required before you can generate traffic and conversion.
Keith is the founder of Fat Frog Media. He has worked in the tech, fitness, food, and hospitality industries. Keith helps businesses improve their marketing and conversion rates.