How Do SEO & PPC Work Together?

SEO & PPC Handshake

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You invest in digital marketing strategies to boost traffic to your site, which will create more sales opportunities. Some businesses choose from various strategies and use either SEO or PPC. But did you know that SEO and PPC work together and can exponentially improve your digital marketing ROI?

Both SEO and PPC have similar goals, but they achieve these goals in different ways. Implementing a combined strategy of SEO with PPC can boost the effectiveness of your digital marketing dollars. 

What is SEO?

SEO aims to improve your online content to show up as high as possible within Google Search.

There are many factors that affect SEO, including:

  • The quality of your content; 
  • Keyword density;
  • Title;
  • URL;
  • Description;
  • Backlinks;
  • User experience of your website (including site speed);
  • And many more.

You can learn to optimize your own content, or you can hire an SEO expert who keeps up on Google’s algorithms and has the experience and skills to optimize your website effectively. 

The challenge with SEO is that, no matter how hard you work at it or how much you pay an SEO expert, there’s no guarantee you can achieve and stay in those coveted top search result rankings. 

SEO needs a long-term commitment. It takes time to gain momentum and see a return on your investment. The benefit is that, once your SEO generates results, those results are lasting and profitable.

Paid and Organic Search

What is PPC?

If your site doesn’t rank in the top 3 organic search results, it might as well be invisible. The top 3 spots on a Google search engine results page (SERP)  typically take 41.1% of the clicks on that page. And those top spots are often paid advertising.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) is an advertising strategy that allows businesses to only pay for ads when users click on them. If no one clicks on your ad, you don’t pay for it.

The ads you always see at the top of the SERPs are normally PPC ads.

The cost of PPC advertising varies depending on the keywords you want your ad to target. It’s an affordable way to advertise because you’re more in control of what you spend. The more competition there is for a target keyword, the higher the cost per click.

PPC generates immediate results, whether those results are brand awareness, site traffic, conversions, or all of these. This is appealing, but once the PPC advertising campaign ends, your traffic will probably go back to what it was before the PPC. 

Camping Gear Search Results

Does PPC affect SEO?

A common question is “Does PPC affect SEO?” Can your PPC ads affect your website’s SEO? Can your SEO affect your PPC ads?

PPC does not hurt your SEO. In fact, there are ways SEO and PPC work together to improve your overall marketing strategy. SEO can actually improve the click-through rate for your PPC ads. And PPC can boost your organic search rankings. 

It’s worth investing in a combined PPC and SEO strategy rather than focusing on one at a time.

5 Ways SEO and PPC can function collectively

Rather than thinking of SEO and PPC as separate pieces of your digital marketing puzzle, think of them as 2 sides of the same “search” coin. Implemented together, SEO and PPC are complementary and boost your efforts and ROI.

Here are 5 ways SEO and PPC work together to improve your website traffic and generate more revenue.

1. Increase your visibility & maximize your search results coverage

Your SEO strategy aims to rank in the #1 position of SERPs for specific keywords. When you purchase PPC ads for those same keywords, your ad appears at the top of those SERPs.

If you reach top ranking in organic search results through your SEO, you might be tempted to forego PPC for those keywords. But when you consider the statistic we quoted earlier – that the top 3 results get well over 40% of clicks – having your site in those paid search results seems worthwhile.

When you combine SEO and PPC for the same keywords, you’ll have the maximum search visibility possible. The added exposure provided by PPC allows your site to dominate the search results. 

Adding PPC to your SEO doubles your exposure.

Dominate Search Engines

2. Recover missed search engine clicks

Let’s say you targeted a specific keyword with both SEO and PPC. When your site makes the #1 search result ranking for that keyword, you’re tempted to save a few advertising dollars and remove the PPC ads. Isn’t a #1 organic search result enough? 

Apparently not. A Research at Google study found that 89% of the traffic generated by PPC ads was lost when those ads were paused. Organic search rankings did not make up for the traffic and revenue generated by the PPC ads. 

PPC draws in traffic that organic search rankings alone don’t produce. By using PPC in addition to your SEO, you recover clicks from searchers who might have overlooked your site in the organic results.

3. Reach previous visitors with remarketing campaigns

Not all visitors become immediate paying customers. Some people spend a lot of time researching before they buy. 

When one of these potential customers finds your site on a SERP because of your exceptional SEO strategy, they might click and visit but leave your site before deciding to purchase. That’s okay, but it’s risky for you because they might forget about you before deciding to make a purchase. 

You can bring these conscientious consumers back to your website later by using a strategy called remarketing

After a visitor has been to your site, you can remind them about it by remarketing through PPC. 

Here’s how this works. 

Let’s say a visitor searches for camping gear and finds your site on a SERP because your SEO was effective. They click on your site, shop around, but don’t make a purchase. You then purchase ad space to show this visitor your camping gear later. The ads keep your site on their minds and increase the visitor’s likelihood of coming back to make a purchase.

Canadian Camping Gear Search Results

SEO helps customers find your site when they’re researching a purchase. Remarketing gives them time to think about your products and services before they buy while reducing the risk of forgetting about your site before they make a purchase.

4. Elevate brand awareness

When one of your PPC ads is at the top of a SERP, and your SEO strategy has put your site at the top of organic results, searchers see your site twice on one page. 

Even if they don’t click, they’ve been exposed to your brand twice instead of only once with an SEO-only strategy. This kind of search result dominance presents your brand with an element of authority.

If a searcher sees your PPC ads, they’re more likely to notice your site in organic rankings because they’re more familiar with your brand. This is sometimes a subconscious response, but familiarity with a brand increases engagement. 

The more a potential customer is exposed to your brand, the greater the likelihood of clicking on your site and making a purchase. Put, higher exposure = higher conversion.

Even if searchers don’t make a purchase the first time they see an ad or see your site in search results, continued exposure could lead to more traffic in the future.

5. Make smarter decisions with more data

SEO takes time. You might target a specific keyword because you think you have a good chance of ranking highly for it. You might be right, but you’ll have to wait a while before you find out if your suspicion was correct. Until you have enough data, you’re just guessing.

PPC is an inexpensive way to gather the data you need to inform your SEO strategy. The immediate results you get with PPC allows you to gauge the effectiveness of keywords by monitoring quickly:

  • Clickthrough rate;
  • Bounce rate;
  • Exit rate;
  • Time on-site; and
  • Conversion rate.

These metrics tell you which keywords attract the most visitors to your site and which ones lead to the most conversions.

The information provided by your PPC campaign can then be used to tweak your SEO strategy for optimal results. When you see which target keywords work well for PPC, you can immediately adjust your SEO by changing your SEO title, meta descriptions, and webpage copy accordingly.

You can get valuable data from SEO and PPC separately. Your SEO data can be used to improve your PPC strategy, but, as we said, SEO data takes longer to collect. 

Using both PPC and SEO, you end up with double the data, which means more accurate information. More accurate information leads to a more effective strategy, which leads to more sales. 

How to track & measure SEO & PPC performance

Let’s look closer at this data. How can you track and measure SEO and PPC performance?

Start by defining your goals. What are you hoping to achieve through your search engine marketing (SEM) strategy?

For most businesses, the goal is basically more traffic and more conversions. But it’s helpful to set specific goals and parameters for your strategy. For example:

  • X amount of traffic
  • The timeline within which you want to gain that traffic
  • The budget you have to work with to produce that traffic

The critical key performance indicators for any SEM strategy are click-through rates and conversions. 

Google Analytics can measure what’s working in your strategy through reports on keyword rankings, time spent on-page, organic traffic, and organic conversions. These metrics will tell you if you’re targeting the right keywords, and if your audience is finding your site with those keywords, and if users are engaging on your site and ultimately converting.

Use SEO & PPC Together to Boost Your Digital Marketing

Using SEO and PPC together can drastically boost your digital marketing efforts. 

Focusing on SEO alone might get you ranking highly on SERPs, but without PPC, you’ll miss out on the high percentage of clicks that come through the ads at the top of the page.

Focusing on PPC alone might be effective for a while, but as soon as you pause your ad campaign, the traffic you’ve gained could come to a screeching halt. There’s less longevity with a PPC-only strategy.

By implementing SEO and PPC together, you can use the data you collect from both to optimize your overall SEM strategy. Combined, SEO and PPC can:

  • Increase your visibility;
  • Maximize your SERP coverage;
  • Recover missed clicks; 
  • Reach previous visitors with remarketing campaigns; and
  • Elevate brand awareness.

The affordability of PPC advertising makes it a low-risk endeavor. Give it a try. You have little to lose and much to gain. 

SEO & PPC Management with Calgary’s Digital Marketing Experts

Search engine marketing is essential to any long-term effective marketing plan. SEO and PPC together will boost your efforts and result in a higher ROI. 

But for many businesses, having someone handle SEO and PPC in-house can seem overwhelming. Maybe you’re comfortable with SEO but have no experience with PPC. Maybe you have a decent understanding of both, but time is precious and in short supply. Maybe you’re comfortable with PPC, but not SEO. 

Whatever your situation and experience, combining SEO and PPC works best when data is shared and a cohesive strategy is implemented. 

For businesses in the Calgary area, the digital marketing experts at CodeWeb offer exceptional SEO services and Google PPC ad management. Our knowledge and strategies, backed by state-of-the-art big data science tools, deliver relevant web traffic, qualified prospects and positive results to grow your business. 


Are you ready to boost your SEO strategy? Are you looking for ways to increase the ROI of your PPC ads? Contact Code Web today for help in maximizing your digital marketing investment.

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