Does AdWords Help SEO?

Want to know whether running PPC ads has any affect on your organic rankings...? You've come to the right place.


The short answer is no. Using AdWords will not affect your organic results directly. It's absolutely crucial to Google to preserve the integrity of their search results and the purity of what you see in them, so they will not boost the rankings of any company on the basis that that company pays Google.

Google address this question themselves and they say the following: "Google's first responsibility is to provide search users with the most relevant possible results. If businesses were able to pay for higher rankings in the search results, users wouldn't be getting the information they're looking for." Amen.

But there are a few caveats. First of all if what you want to achieve is showing up high on Google search results, then you can do that through PPC - through AdWords - without worrying about SEO at all. In fact you can show up literally higher on Google through AdWords than through SEO, but of course you will be paying then for any clicks that you generate by being there.

There are some interesting ways in which AdWords can - indirectly - affect your SEO.... We'll look at three of them now.

1: Paid ads make users more likely to click on organic results.

If a user has been exposed to a site or brand through paid ads then they're more likely to click on an organic result from the same site later, improving organic traffic and leading to various virtuous circles in your SEO.

2: Link building and sharing.

PPC ads bring in traffic that consists of real people, who might go on to share your site on social media, or blog about it, or build links to it in various places so then these completely real and natural SEO boosts can come about from PPC ads. In terms of link building and social sharing, running PPC can only accelerate the process of building up external SEO signals that improve your rankings.

3: Engagement signals.

Google uses data about how users respond to your site to weigh in to the rankings, so if you have a high bounce rate and users aren't sticking around then that will down weight you slightly but if users like your site and they do stick around and they return to it and so on, then that counts in your favour.

As far as I know, there's no reason to think that PPC traffic is discounted from that part of the algorithm, so by driving high quality traffic in Adwords you can help your ranking and conversely if you drove low quality traffic with low engagement then that could damage your ranking.

That's a look at Adwords and its impact or otherwise on SEO: the answer to the question being AdWords does not affect organic results directly, but there are a few interesting possible side effects.