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Can I stop running PPC if my organic ranking is high enough?

Written by Natalie Ng

“After all their efforts in search engine optimization (SEO), many clients ask the question: “Can I stop running PPC if my organic ranking is high enough?”. It is understandable because.. why pay if your website is already on top of the search results? Well, there are a lot of good reasons why you shouldn’t stop doing PPC in this case, if you do you will miss opportunities to put your brand in front of the right audience.” – Natalie Ng, Head of PPC MediaGroup Worldwide.

Undoubtedly, organic traffic is crucial (and sort of free). More and more clients focus on SEO activities (on-page and off-page) to improve website traffic. PPC, in contrast, is to bid on keywords relevant to your business to achieve higher ranking in the sponsored search result.

Despite SEO and PPC having different approaches, they are actually complementary with each other as part of your marketing strategy. Below are some of the benefits of keeping PPC campaigns running:

Maintain Top Position on Search Engine Result Page (SERP)

Given the top position on SERP is reserved for paid results, ranking 1st organically does not guarantee your website is at the highest position. Without PPC, your competitors’ paid results may override your website when people search for relevant terms. If you turned off PPC campaigns, your organic search result cannot always substitute for ad clicks — according to Google research, 89% of the traffic generated by search ads is not replaced by organic clicks.

Gain More Traffic

Another insight from Google research is that PPC campaigns can get 50% incremental clicks when a brand also has a top organic ranking. We suggest noting your converting PPC keywords, then using them for SEO content optimization. This SEO work will also help to improve Quality Score for the paid campaigns while PPC provides detailed and fast insight about the highest converting term, so SEO can be commercially more viable.

Generate More Revenue

Most concerns about stopping PPC is to reduce cost, but what if running PPC alongside with SEO can generate higher revenue? Search Engine Land did an experiment campaign to compare performance in different scenarios, it indicates that SEO+PPC brought a better conversion rate when compared to only running PPC or SEO, and they also generate better revenue.

Build Trust

Studies show that paid ads and organic rankings together make people trust a brand more. Some people see organic traffic as more trustworthy than paid, so people might click more on organic results, particularly if both organic and paid results are on the top positions.

More control on ad text

It is important to show the correct and most relevant ad copy when audiences search for specific queries. With PPC campaigns, it allows you to write the exact phrase of wording on ad copy, especially for promotional or seasonal campaigns. SEO, in contract, takes longer time for system crawl and update the wording on result and how it is displayed is entirely up to Google.

All in all, my reply to the question is “No, we don’t suggest pausing the PPC campaigns”. The ideal approach is for SEO and PPC to work together. Using SEO to improve rankings and therefore increase organic traffic to a website while running PPC to drive fast result and indirectly bring better performance from SEO.

If you are interested in discovering how SEO and PPC synergy affect your marketing result, feel free to reach out.

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Natalie Ng

Head of Asia & PPC

Based in Hong Kong, Natalie leads our PPC international team. Before MediaGroup, Natalie worked in various digital agencies in the UK and Hong Kong. Natalie holds an MA from the University of Warwick in Electronic Business Management. Her experience working and studying abroad has prepared her to lead a multi-national team of PPC experts.

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