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FAQ: Does PPC Cannibalize Your Organic Traffic?

The short answer: No.

We get asked pretty often about whether or not it’s a good idea to run PPC ads if a client already ranks on the first page of a search engine. Many people are concerned that running PPC ads could cannibalize their organic traffic, but a Google study that was released this last July suggests that ads can help increase your traffic, not cannibalize your organic listing. Within the study, “Incremental Clicks Impact Of Search Advertising,” researchers observed the organic click volume when ads were not present in search results. Using organic impression volume and ad spend as predictors, the Google researchers then built a model that could predict click volumes for various levels of ad spend. Once the model was built, the researchers were able to calculate estimates for incremental clicks that could be attributed to the presence of ads, or “the percentage of paid clicks that are not made up for by organic clicks when search ads are paused.”

What they found was that the percentage of incremental ad clicks was around 89%. This suggests that 89% of search ad traffic is not replaced by organic clicks when ads are paused.

Now…of course there’s room to be skeptical of a Google study that promotes the use of Google ads, which obviously makes Google a good deal of money. Fortunately for Google, many big name SEO/PPC experts back up their study findings with arguments for running PPC ads despite having first page organic rankings. When it comes down to whether or not that makes sense for your business, it’s all about strategy. In the case of brand name terms, it’s important to appear as many times within that first page of Google as possible. The repetition of your brand name builds trust over time and helps protect you against competitors that may decide to bid on your brand name.

There are many different strategies on how to use PPC to benefit your company/brand. The trick is finding out which works best to get you the kind of results you’re looking for. If you’re interested in starting a PPC campaign and need some help getting things started, give us a call to learn more about how we may be able to help. Reach us at 800-267-1704.