Many digital marketers try to balance organic and paid traffic. The most popular paid ad platform, Google Ads, can increase targeted traffic and has quick results. However, there’s an ongoing debate about its impact on search engine optimization (SEO).
This article answers the question, “Does Google Ads hurt SEO?” We will define each marketing strategy and highlight the benefits you’ll enjoy by combining them. We will also give you tips for using Google Ads to shape your SEO efforts and increase conversions.
Let’s dive in.
What is SEO?
Search engine optimization is a set of techniques to improve a website’s ranking on the SERP. This form of digital marketing is crucial for any business looking for organic traffic. It is a cost-effective strategy that brings you long-term results.
The first result on Google search has a 26.7% click-through rate that decreases the lower you go. SEO aims to get your website to that coveted position without paying for ads. It’s a lot harder than most digital marketers imagine it would be.
To optimize your website, pay attention to these three types of SEO.
This type of SEO focuses on a website’s content and structure. The main aspects of on-page SEO include
- Keyword research
- Title tags
- Meta description
- Header tags
- Page URL structure
- Internal linking
- Image optimization
This type of SEO focuses on your efforts to promote your content on the internet. Besides, great content is irrelevant if people don’t know it exists. Here are the critical elements of off-page SEO.
- Link building
- Social media marketing
- Brand mentions
- Local SEO
- Reputation management
This type of SEO focuses on the technical aspects of a website that affect its ranking. These aspects include.
- Site speed
- Site security
- Site navigation
What is Google Ads?
To understand Google Ads, you must first understand pay-per-click advertising (PPC). PPC is a digital marketing strategy where you pay every time an internet user clicks your ad. Advertisers bid for keywords, meaning their ads will appear at the top of the SERP when someone searches a specific keyword.
Google Ads is Google’s native PPC platform. Since Google makes up 92.8% of internet searches, Google Ads became the largest ad network by default. Google places your ad in prominent positions across its Display Network.
Google Display Network is a group of over 2 million websites where your ad can appear.
Do Google Ads hurt SEO?
The short answer is no, according to Google. The search engine advises combining SEO and Google Ads for a more rounded approach. It’s a debunked myth that Google Ads affect SEO, but many digital marketers are not convinced.
Let us put your mind at ease by exploring seven ways Google Ads can benefit your SEO campaign.
1. Jumpstart your SEO campaign
SEO campaigns are challenging to get off the ground. Many businesses spend years trying to hack the ranking system. On the other hand, Google Ads are almost instant. Your ad appears on the top of the SERP when the algorithm chooses your bid.
You can use Google Ads to drive initial traffic and create brand awareness. Users who enjoy their experience on your website will return and refer to their networks. As a result, you will boost your SEO strategy.
2. Increased visibility
Google Ads places your ad copies at the top of search results. This means that more people click your ad and land on your website. Typically, these are audiences that would otherwise not see your website.
Don’t be discouraged by high bounce rates from your Google Ads. Even those who bounced from your website are now aware of it. By optimizing your SEO, you can convince these demographics to stay longer on your website.
Did you know you can simultaneously appear as a top search result and as a paid ad? Google Ads gives you more screen real estate. If someone misses your ad, they will scroll down and see your website again. You get twice as many chances to capture an audience’s attention.
3. Targeted reach
Google Ads provides a range of targeting features that allow you to connect with particular groups of people based on their demographics, interests, and online behaviors. When you run focused ad campaigns, you generate valuable data about your audience’s traits and gain insights that can shape your SEO content strategy.
Creating SEO content that resonates with your target audience can boost engagement with audiences from your Google Ad campaigns.
Retargeting or remarketing is a technique where you show your ads to people who visit your site at least once. Your Google Ad follows them when they browse through another website in the Display Network.
Many people in the consideration stage of conversion need a slight nudge to decide. Retargeting ensures people remember your products or services when weighing different options.
You can bring back previous audiences using Google Ads and retain them with your SEO techniques. Provide valuable content and an incentive to increase your conversion rates once they’re on your website.
5. Budget control
All businesses dread spending money on digital marketing because it can get expensive fast. With Google Ads, you can control how much you spend per day and ads. Here are two factors that influence the cost-per-click you pay.
Google determines the quality of your ad and keyword relevance before deciding the CPC you’ll pay. Google Ads’ Quality Score is determined by several factors, including:
- Your click-through rate. A higher CTR indicates that your ad is relevant and engaging to users.
- The relevance of your ad to search queries and keywords. A relevant ad is more likely to receive a higher Quality Score.
- The landing page experience of your web page. A well-designed and user-friendly landing page contributes to a higher Quality Score.
- The performance history of your ad and its formats, such as text ads, image ads, or video ads.
- The overall performance history of your Google Ads account, including past ad campaigns.
The Quality Score rates from 1 to 10, where one is the lowest and ten is the highest. Having a higher Quality Score offers various advantages, such as:
- Improved ad rankings because ads with better Quality Scores appear in more prominent positions within search results.
- Reduced cost per click because Google appreciates ads that enhance the user experience.
- They have enhanced ad visibility because your ads display more frequently and reach a broader audience.
Google determines your ad rank by multiplying your quality score by your maximum bid. Your maximum bid is the most you’re willing to pay per click. Google will choose advertisers with the highest ad rank.
6. Manage your campaign
Google Ads offers you granular control over your campaign. You can tweak your campaign to target a demographic, location, or device type. This ability lets you align your Google Ads and SEO strategy.
Here’s how to manage your campaign right from your Google Ads account.
- First, sign in to your Google Ads Manager account, and click Campaigns from the left page menu.
- To change your campaign status, check the box next to the campaign you want to change. Afterward, click Edit, and select the position you wish for the campaign. The new one will save automatically.
- To change your daily campaign budget, check the box next to the campaign you want to change. Afterward, click Edit, and select “Change budgets.” Once you’ve made your changes, click “Preview” to see them. Finally, click “Apply” to save your changes.
7. Measure your campaign’s performance
Google Ads offers immediate insights into your ad’s performance. If someone clicks your ad, you’ll know. These analytics help you see the type of audiences that interact with your ad, thus helping you understand who to optimize your website for.
Here are examples of PPC metrics to keep an eye on.
This metric refers to the number of times your ad is shown to users on the search engine results page or the Display Network. It informs you of the reach of your campaign. It’s important to know you can have many impressions from one person.
This metric refers to the number of times someone clicks on your ad. Clicks tell you people’s initial engagement with your ad.
Click-Through Rate (CTR)
Given the number of mentions of CTR in this article, you can tell it is vital to Google Ads and SEO. This metric is a factor in determining your ad’s quality score.
CTR is the percentage of clicks divided by impressions, showing how often users click on your ad after seeing it. It gives you insights into the relevance and appeal of your ad to your target audience.
This metric is the percentage of clicks that result in a desired action, such as a purchase, form submission, or download. Conversion rate indicates the effectiveness of your campaign in driving an outcome.
Any ad aims to achieve a conversion. Therefore, a high conversion rate tells you your campaign is successful and your SEO is effective. If your conversion rate is low, try changing your landing page content or ad copy.
Another helpful tip is to include a CTA in your ad copy. Make it noticeable by using contrasting colors and including a clear message, for example, “Schedule an appointment.”
Consider these ways to increase your conversion rates.
Tips for using Google Ads to Boost SEO
Combining Google Ads and SEO is an art few digital marketers implement in their marketing strategies. This combination needs more time and resources to execute, but the results are significant. Apply these three tips to boost your SEO strategy using Google Ads.
1. Optimize your content around relevant keywords
Google Ads depends on keyword research to work. Thorough research informs you of competitive keywords that most people search for; thus, more people will click on them. The ad’s algorithm matches keywords to a person’s search intent.
SEO also relies on keyword research to show relevance. Therefore, you can create quality SEO content around the most competitive keywords you bid for.
2. Test and refine your website
Google Ads metrics offer quick insights into the performance of different ad copies, landing pages, and CTAs. You can also quickly and frequently adjust and test these elements with diverse audiences.
These metrics help optimize SEO content. If an ad copy performs well, follow the same format in your SEO content.
3. Optimize your landing page
Google Ads considers your landing page to determine your ad’s relevance to search queries. Therefore, it’s vital to design top-notch landing pages that match your ad content while providing an excellent user experience.
When you optimize your landing pages to create a pleasant user experience, you indirectly boost your SEO strategy. Search engines prioritize websites with user satisfaction in mind and rank your website higher.
Here are quick ways to optimize your landing page.
- Create a compelling headline that grabs people’s attention and tells them the value of your product or service. Your headline should be clear and concise to entice visitors to continue reading. An excellent example is “Do You Do Any of These Ten Embarrassing Things?”
- Place a hard-to-miss CTA on your landing page that tells visitors what to do, such as “Buy Now,” “Sign Up,” or “Download.” Make it visually appealing and easy to locate.
- Optimize your landing page for mobile users by creating a responsive website.
- Test variations of your landing page with different audiences. Doing so lets you identify the most effective landing page to maximize conversion rates.
Google Ads does not hurt SEO. On the contrary, combining the two marketing methods is a recipe for success. Google Ads contributes significantly to jumpstarting your SEO strategy. Its fast results boost your visibility. Google Ads also helps you optimize your SEO content for targeted audiences.
Thanks to its granular budget and campaign control features, Google Ads helps you minimize spend and invest more in your SEO techniques. Its extensive metrics also help you make informed decisions about your website’s optimization based on ad performance. The information in this article will help you strike the perfect balance to improve your business.