We’re often asked how PPC (specifically, Google AdWords) can impact SEO rankings in financial marketing. Consider this article our answer to the question!
There are some very important ways paid ads can affect organic rankings. Yet, there are also important ways in which they do not. So let’s establish something clearly from the very beginning…
Google AdWords does not directly affect organic search rankings.
We are aware that there are some stories out there which might lead people to think otherwise. Often, we hear stories such as: “Our Google rankings were really low, but after we started spending money on Google AdWords they went up.”
Another common claim we hear in financial marketing goes like this: “We’re already spending money on AdWords, but our competitor has a bigger AdWords budget. They’re ranking above us in organic search results, so their higher AdWords spend must be the reason why.”
Whilst these are interested stories showing a correlation between organic rankings and AdWords spend, they do not demonstrate causation. This is really important.
Google has done a thorough job of separating paid search listing from organic search listing. In other words, paid ads and organic results may well inhabit the same search engine real estate. But there is a clear division between the two sides.
There are a few indirect ways in which AdWords and organic search results intersect. A lot of these intersections are not controlled by Google, and we’re going to look at them now to make them clear.
#1 Click Through Rates
If a user makes a search in Google, and they see an organic listing and a Google Ad from the same brand, then they may well be more likely to click on it.
In other words, in our case, our financial marketing will probably see a higher click through rate on our organic search results:
If they see an ad like this beforehand in the same set of listings:
This is why we, and many of our clients, bid on our branded ads and keywords. It typically encourages the click through rate in our over financial marketing strategy.
As any good SEO will tell you, a higher click through rate on your organic search results tells Google that users are interested in your content. That means Google is more likely to want to push your rankings higher up the search results.
#2 Previous Financial Marketing Exposure
If a user has seen your AdWords content in previous searches, or maybe in the Display Network, then they may be more likely to click on your organic content in the future.
In many cases, by looking at a client’s analytic and AdWords data, we can see that users first clicked on a paid ad, and then later clicked on the brand’s organic search results.
Remember, the first time we are exposed to a new brand, company or website, we are less likely to engage with the content than when we return to that content later.
This is why it can help your financial marketing to run paid ads alongside your SEO efforts, to maximise prior exposurein order to maximise engagement later.
#3 Paid Ads & Linking Opportunities
There are, of course, other potential outcomes of paid ad clicks.
For instance, suppose one of your Google Ads leads a user to your site. From there, they might like your content so much that they share it on social media. Or, they might link to one of your articles from their own website a bit later on.
These kinds of activities (link building, or backlinks) are hugely beneficial to financial marketing, because they are a positive organic ranking factor.
#4 Paid Ads Can Shift The Market
This dynamic is a little more difficult to explain and understand. Essentially, however, the point here is that by bidding on a keyword with your Google Ads, you shift the nature and direction of the market.
In other words, in this situation your financial marketing directly influences how other people conceptualise content for these kinds of keywords. You affect their value perception of these search queries, and how the content built around them should be monetised.
An example from the fitness and insurance industries might illustrate what we mean here.
Not too long ago in the USA, not many companies were bidding on insurance discounts in relation to fitness levels. It wasn’t too long, however, until companies started taking notice of this gap in the market.
Fitness tracking businesses and insurance companies started bidding on the keywords, and suddenly a new value chain was established. Competition over the keywords, moreover, rapidly increased.
Other brands and affiliates started getting involved with the action. As the PPC fighting grew, so did the competition over the same keywords in the organic search results.
So be mindful of this dynamic in your financial marketing. You might be insightful and smart, seeing a gap in the paid search landscape that you think you can exploit. However, be aware that diving into this pond might well invite all kinds of new, interesting competitors and participants to the show!