Q and A: Can running a PPC Campaign affect my Organic Rankings?

Question

Dear Kalena…

I was wondering if you have an active ppc program if this hurts you in natural search optimization since your paying for keyword placement. Why would Google/Yahoo rank you high if your already paying them lots of money. I tested this by pausing my Yahoo ad for 1 month and sure enough my keywords are all on front page when beforehand they were are pages 3-5. Too nervous to do with Google since we spend a lot per month.

Billy

Hi Billy,

This is a topic which has been much debated over the years, but the short answer is No, running a PPC Campaign will have no “direct” impact on your rankings.

People have speculated that using PPC might improve your rankings (as a reward by the search engine) or – as you’ve have suggested – decrease your rankings (presumably to encourage people to click on the ads).

It should be very easy to test, and many people have tried to prove it one way or the other – but I am unaware of any conclusive proof.  Even though your test seems to suggest a correlation between your PPC and organic rankings, you only appear to have done a part of the test.  In order to prove the correlation you would need to turn on and off your PPC campaign over an extended period and track this against changes in your rankings.

In my opening sentence above, I emphasized that there is no “direct” effect, because running an aggressive  PPC campaign could in fact have an indirect impact on your organic rankings – in a couple of different ways :

  1. By running PPC you will get extra traffic in a shorter amount of time, and the data that this generates can help you to tweak and improve factors that can influence your organic rankings.  For example, through using a broad range of keyword phrases on your campaigns – and by looking at the impressions you get, you will get an idea of which phrases are being searched most often.  You should also be able to determine which keywords are converting better.  By focusing your optimisation efforts on high volume and higher converting phrases, you will boost your rankings and your sales or enquiries.
  2. Running PPC will also raise the visibility of your brand and your site. You will be getting extra visitors – and if they like what they see they are likely to link to your site.  This in itself will also improve your organic rankings.

Andy Henderson
Ireckon Web Marketing

Share this post with others