Question: Does purchasing paid advertising help with organic search engine results? I know Google says it doesn’t, but have there ever been any tests to determine whether that’s truly the case?

It isn’t just Google that says that paid advertising has no affect on search engine results — Moz agrees, too. That doesn’t mean that PPC campaigns SEO don’t work great together. As Search Engine Watch points out, PPC campaigns give a marketer a lot of additional data to work with.

And there’s a correlative effect, too; marketers who are willing to spend money on PPC campaigns are more likely to have spent some time on their search engine optimization and site quality.

It’s easy to see why this myth keeps coming back. But a few moments of thought should make it really clear that this wouldn’t be ultimately beneficial to Google — or to anyone.

  • It would lower search engine quality as a whole, reducing the amount of control they have within the search engine industry.
  • It would be extremely obvious; marketers would notice it very quickly and thus be able to game the system.
  • If it wasn’t obvious, marketers wouldn’t be aware of it, and thus it wouldn’t help them.

The final reason is perhaps the most obvious. It’s silly for Google to promote PPC advertised sites in their organic search and then deny doing it, because that invalidates any reasons they might have for doing it. By promoting advertised sites in organic search, they would actually lessen the importance of PPC ads.

Funnily enough, this has actually led to a competing theory: that Google actually sabotages websites that invest in PPC advertising, so that they need to pay for more PPC advertising. But, again, that makes no sense — marketers crunch a lot of data, and this would just incline them to believe that PPC advertising had a negative effect on SEO somehow and should not be used.

But that’s not to say this is an entirely paranoid or naive thought. Companies like Facebook sabotage marketing efforts all the time — and Facebook is a big company and they make a lot of money in advertising. It’s worth it to be skeptical. In this particular situation, though, neither the numbers nor the logic add up.

Answer: Not directly, and certainly not as any initiative through Google. But there are indirect results of a PPC campaign that can help with organic search queries, such as improved data collection and site quality.



Ellie Hammond
Ellie lives in San Diego, CA with her three golden retrievers and small orange cat. Contact Ellie via email if you want to ask her a question!

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