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Can PPC Buy You A Search Optimised Site?

Can PPC advertising buy Search Engine Optimisation? Selesti’s Search Marketing team investigates!

A recent post by AimClear has suggested that websites can use Pay Per Click advertising to enhance their search engine optimisation. “Surely not?!” we hear you cry (we imagine all our blog’s visitors are Victorian gentlefolk). Well, Selesti are here to explain how this radical new method works, and how you could even use it for your own Search Engine Optimisation.

I haven’t seen the blog, what does it say?

Sure, why would you go anywhere else for your latest SEO geekery fix than our blog? We understand.

In the article, Aimclear have outlined a number of ways in which webmasters can ‘easily buy SEO lift’, cleverly exploiting Google’s algorithm to generate search visibility through the use of Pay Per Click advertising. This includes the following marketing techniques:

  • Facebook Ads pointing to Pinterest Pins and Google+ posts
  • LinkedIn Ads pointing to Organic Search Listings and Pinterest Pins
  • Promoted Tweets to Google+, LinkedIn or Facebook posts
  • Bing Search PPC ads to Tweets and LinkedIn company pages

Many other combinations of Facebook Ads, Promoted Tweets, LinkedIn Ads, Bing & Google search ads sending traffic to each other

In essence, what AimClear are doing is to use PPC to target user’s search queries more effectively, and driving them to engage with their social content. Whilst not in so many words, they do say it themselves, engagement is a more important metric than reach. It’s like Woolworths, they had plenty of shops across the country, but nobody was buying anything! (I miss the pick & mix, okay?)

I don’t understand, how does this help?

It’s all to do with Google’s algorithm. They want to ensure that the websites that search users deem to be reliable sources of information or certain products are pushed to the top of the pile. And how do they do this? That’s right, they measure engagement.

Engagement can be measured not only through your site, i.e. how many visits it receives through organic search etc., but also - and perhaps more importantly here - through what are known as social signals.

These ‘signals’ take the form of likes, shares, tweets, +1s, pins, or whatever term your selected social platform has decided to use to make itself ‘stand out’ or be extra ‘trendy’. Whichever this may be, Google has confirmed many times in the past that more of these can help to improve search visibility.

See where this is going? That’s right, AimClear have suggested that using PPC you can drive targeted traffic to your social media pages, the aim being to generate more engagement. This therefore ‘disrupts’ Google’s search algorithm, telling it that you have generated loads more interactions with your brand, and ‘Voila!’ your site has now been optimised through the magic of PPC.

It might seem like AIMClear have reinvented the wheel, and there is no denying that it is a clever manipulation of Google’s algorithm, but SEO geniuses have been leveraging these various web entities in their favour to produce ranking boosts since the earliest days of the internet.

You may have even done it yourself without realising it. Let’s say you have created your own ‘micro site’, either on blogger.com, hubspot - wherever. You may have connected this to a landing page using an exact match anchor text link, for example ‘Search Engine Optimisation’ (you’ll have to click it to see why it’s an exact match link. I know, we’re awful, but you like us).

After having done this you could well have built external links to these pages, thereby increasing their authority. But Google got wise, and has dampened the effects of such obviously manipulative link building.

This all seems too good to be true...

Yes, it does. And there are caveats to this method. Firstly, Facebook will not allow you to point adverts to Google+. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, you have to spend money to do this.

The second point mentioned above is perhaps the only reason that this has not been leapt upon by Google as a dodgy, black hat SEO tactic. If they see that you are paying them directly to try and improve your search engine optimisation, they may not be so quick to complain. However, this does not mean that they will not raise it in the future.

Let’s remember, there is no magic quick fix to search optimisation. Just because you are paying to target keywords doesn’t mean that you will immediately generate more traffic or social signals. It is still at the users’ discretion to actually hit ‘like’ or convert in some way once they visit you online.

So whilst this is an interesting Search Marketing tactic, the jury is still out here at Selesti. If you want to be a part of the recreation of 12 Angry Men in our meeting room, or want to find out the possibilities available to you with Google (or Bing’s) Pay Per Click advertising, then why not get in touch?