Buying PPC Ads When You Have Good Organic Rankings

Here’s a very common theory I come across all the time: “If I have great organic rankings, I can save money by turning off pay per click listings for the same terms”.

This reasoning is only valid if you’re bidding on keywords with poor ROI, or your campaigns are not properly optimized. The one thing that people often overlook is that if you’re paying $100 to get $5000 in business and you’re making say $500 profit, why would you cut that? By cutting advertising with a positive ROI, you’re actually hurting your revenue and profit!

Math aside, here are a few more reasons why it’s good to buy sponsored listings, even if you rank number 1 for a specific term.

1) You are showing the audience that you are serious about acquiring traffic – it shows that you have a strong selling intent.

2) It implies market dominance

3) You provide 2 places (sometimes 3 on Yahoo) where a user can find a link to your website

4) You eliminate one of the sites you’re competing with

5) It caters to both sets of audiences, those who prefer organic, and those who prefer sponsored listings

6) It enables you to use the PPC ad copy to compliment your organic listing, by promoting special offers, trust, or unique selling points

7) Even if your PPC ROI breaks even, you’ve just acquired another customer and increased your marketshare

Edit (3/28/07):
A recent post by Rob Garner of Search Insider: Yes, Co-managed PPC And SEO Campaigns Work also backs up my experiences and proves that this strategy can work very well.

When appearing in both natural and paid search for the same keyword impression, clicks lifted 92 percent, actions lifted 45percent, orders lifted 45 percent, page views lifted 44 percent, visitors increased by 41 percent, and time on site increased by 40 percent.

The results of an iCrossing study found that organic listings actually boost the performance of PPC campaigns significantly, which really emphasizes the point that when you have both an organic and PPC listing on one page, the PPC better have positive ROI.

More Thoughts:

About reuben 109 Articles
SEO consultant from Columbus OH.


  1. If you are not selling anything and your no.1 pages are ifnormative only (even with integrated adsense code), then there is no reason to invest into PPC campaigns… Since you could lose more than you can ever imagine.

    On the other hand, if you sell products and your ROI (as mentioned above) is positive, then it’s good choice. I have seen no.1 sites with PPC advertisement on Google, so that they were no.1 for bought links and no.1 for organic results. It must do nothing but work :) .

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