Harvard Business Review reported last month that, for the first time in history, customer relationships are being valued more highly than a company’s brand.

That puts a big responsibility on companies to deliver relevant information on their websites to both prospective and current residents. Having a best-in-class website with responsive design and integrated SEO is essential to an effective digital marketing strategy. But integrated SEO isn’t enough; SEO and PPC together create a strategic formula for success.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is often referred to as organic search. It is the practice of optimizing content, keywords, site speed, citations, links, and social signals to leverage brand performance on search engines and improve organic website discoverability. PPC (pay-per-click) is often referred to as paid search. It is a targeted way to deliver the right information to the right prospect at the right time, displaying contextual, behavioral, or keyword-targeted advertisements across the web. There are a couple of common misconceptions around SEO and PPC that I’d like to clear up.

Misconception #1: You Don’t Need PPC if Your SEO is Optimized

With over 51% of all searches now taking place on smartphones and tablets, PPC is the clear winner on mobile, potentially dominating over 70% of the first page listings. PPC may be the only way to out-rank Google and get above the fold for many queries.

Misconception #2: PPC is a Temporary Solution That is Required Until SEO “Kicks In”

Nathaniel Tower of First Scribe wrote in a recent blog post, “What business owners need to understand is that SEO and PPC aren’t rivals; they are harmonious partners. They are two equally important marketing strategies that shouldn’t — and don’t — compete against each other. Rather they work together to create a stronger, more reliable strategy for your site.”

Your Search Strategy Should Leverage SEO and PPC

There is clear evidence supporting the need for search strategies that cover SEO and PPC. The results of a Google study exploring click trends between organic search results and PPC ads confirm the symbiotic relationship between the two disciplines. On average, 50% of the ad clicks that occur on the top PPC ad are incremental. In other words, they would not be recovered organically for the same site if the ad campaigns were paused.

To look at this another way; even if your website ranks in the number one position, and you were to pause your PPC campaigns, 50% of the ad clicks that used to be yours would now go to a competitor’s PPC ad, not your organic listing. And when you look at the results of a Google Study for sites ranking in the positions two through five and below, the numbers are even more staggering. “On average, the incremental ad clicks percentage across verticals is 89%. This means that a full 89% of the traffic generated by search ads is not replaced by organic clicks when ads are paused.”

The increased benefits of SEO and PPC working simultaneously to drive relevant traffic don’t stop there. Experts in their field, SEO buff Mark Munroe and PPC specialist Evan Waters, presented advertiser data at Search Marketing Expo in 2013 showing a 66% higher CTR (click-through-rate) on PPC ads when an organic listing was also present, and a 92% higher CTR on organic listings when a PPC ad was also present.


The last piece of the puzzle: There are no guarantees when it comes to SEO and PPC as Google algorithms change frequently. In fact, last year alone Google made over 540 changes. To keep up with these constant algorithm changes, G5 leverages its Google Partnership and has 25 Google certified members on its Digital Strategy team to help our customers. Despite the shifting landscape of search, one thing is clear – utilizing both SEO and PPC harmoniously to dominate valuable search engine results is a formula for success in today’s complex digital landscape.