How PPC Ads Affect Organic Search Rankings

The more I work with funeral homes to get their internet marketing efforts up to snuff, the more questions I get about how various techniques work.

That’s totally understandable — I realize there’s a big learning curve in going from traditional marketing methods such as Yellow Pages listings and local newspaper/magazine ads to online tools such as pay-per-click advertising, remarketing and mobile marketing. It’s a process. And I love to answer questions!

So today, let’s answer one I’m hearing a lot lately:

If your business invests in a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign such as Google Ads — for the newbies, we’re talking about the paid ads displayed up high on local search engine results pages — will that directly improve its organic search rankings?

On second thought, was that a little too much information in one sentence? To be safe, let me phrase that a different way: If you want to rank higher in unpaid local search results (as every business should), will Google improve that unpaid ranking just because you use its paid advertising service?

Either way you phrase the question, here’s the bottom line:


Google won’t hook up your funeral home website with a better organic ranking just because you’re paying for ads. It’s extremely strict on that point. It wants the websites with the strongest content and the most authority to get the highest rankings, regardless of whether they choose to pay for ads.

Great SEO gets you better organic rankings. Having great reviews (and lots of them) gets you better organic rankings. Filling your site with high-quality original content gets you better organic rankings.

Having said that, let me throw you a curveball:

If you do a Google AdWords campaign, there’s a great likelihood that your funeral home website will get better organic rankings. It’s just not a direct process. It’s not something Google does to reward businesses that pay it money. Instead, it’s an indirect effect — an organic one, if you will.

When you contract with Google for PPC ads, in addition to all the benefits you get from PPC, these things happen:

  • Searchers who see a PPC ad for your business are much more inclined to click on your organic listing. The ad creates authority in the searcher’s mind, and even if that person typically avoids clicking on a paid ad, he or she likely will click on your “standard” link.
  • Paid ad clicks very often lead to an increase in links, sharing, citations, etc., for your funeral home website, which will improve the site’s authority with Google, and thus its organic ranking.
  • Searchers who have previously encountered a PPC ad for a business site are much more inclined to engage and convert with that site, even when that’s through your organic listing.

So yes, your site almost certainly will get a better organic ranking if you run a PPC campaign, just in a roundabout way.

And that’s really nice, especially when you consider all the benefits of a PPC campaign itself: It’s incredibly cost-effective, it lets your funeral home display prominently at the top of search engine results pages, and you can tweak ad copy on the fly, making the changes go “live” almost immediately.

That’s why I strongly recommend PPC advertising through Google AdWords to my funeral home clients. Not only is PPC one of the best ways to drive pre-need and at-need contracts by itself, but it also has an indirect (but very real) effect on your organic search rankings.

Honestly, anything you do to build your brand, generate more customers and general revenue, and increase the quantity and quality of online reviews is going to crank up your site’s SEO, and thus your organic ranking. PPC advertising does all of that.

(Note: Want to know the top techniques for turning online searchers into real-life clientele? Ring Ring Marketing’s book explains it all—and right now, it’s 100% free, shipping included! Order here!)

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