Does A High PPC Bounce Rate Affect Organic SEO?

Machine Gun YAY!

Is your Pay Per Click (PPC) bounce rate higher than Elon Musk (during a live interview)? Don’t panic. It’s not having a detrimental effect on your organic SEO. However, it will affect things in other ways. 

You may have noticed various knuckle-dragging mouth breathers bemoaning lately about how the COVID-19 vaccine apparently turns you into a lizard, a black hole, or Bill Gates. Yet, the vaccinations are doing just fine.

Perhaps you read about how Hiram Maxim – inventor of the machine gun – claimed his weapon of mass destruction would ‘make war impossible’. Yet, more men have died at the hands of those with machine guns than any other weapon of modern times. 

Or how about Irving Fisher, an economics professor at Yale University, and his “stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau” speech of 1929? He got that a bit wrongThen there was Variety Magazine’s passing judgement of Rock’n’Roll in 1955, where they declared that “It will be gone by June”.

As the icing on the cake, how about Newsweek’s 1960’s prediction that the American tourist who “really wants to get away from it all” could look forward to “safaris in Vietnam”? Their holiday predictions were, shall we say, a little off.

What I’m getting at is our nature to accept predictions as gospel, and then act surprised when things turn out differently. The same mantra seems to be applied to IT aspects – such as Pay Per Click (PPC) Campaigns having a direct effect on Organic SEO Rankings. 

Not as sexy a topic as machine guns and Rock’n’Roll, granted, but it’s something that you should really know about when trying to establish your professional online presence. So, with that, let’s delve in! 

Does A High PPC Bounce Rate Impact Organic SEO?

Pay Per Click Bounce Rate

It seems like common industry knowledge that the PPC (Pay Per Click) bounce rate can have an impact on organic results. However, that’s not exactly 100% true. You have been living a lie, my child. 

To put any misconceptions to rest: Paid does not directly affect organic rankings.

Need proof? Well, Google Ads get somewhere around 2 – 3% of all search result clicks. As a rule that Google (other search engines are available) adheres to, money paid to Google doesn’t directly affect organic rankings.

If they opened the floodgates like that, then those with the largest budget would control the top results of Google SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages). That’s how monopolies start. And nobody likes Monopoly. Not even those who play Monopoly like Monopoly. 

Google may come under fire for unscrupulous business practices, but the company understands drowning out smaller businesses and those with lesser budgets – in favour of Jeff Bezos or Ernst Stavro Blofeld – is not a good long term strategy. 

Furthermore, having the money to smother other companies from the rankings is no guarantee that you provide good services, nor prove that you are trustworthy. Google is actually remarkably fair when it boils down to rankings. 

That’s because Google’s not just suspicious of you; it’s suspicious of everyone. Everyone has to work hard to gain Google’s organic trust. It’s not all about money. You can’t bribe your way into the top search results. And, if you do find a glitch in the matrix, once Google has figured your tactics out, the Google algorithms will hound you to professional damnation

As such, if your PPC bounce rate offers numbers over 80%, contrary to what others may tell you, it will not have a detrimental effect on your organic SEO. PPC and Organic SEO are very much treated as separate entities and do not impact upon each individual performance metric. 

Excellent. You are in the clear. Right? 

However…

While your hard-earned Organic SEO results remain unaffected, various aspects can bring things around full circle. There are several indirect things that Google can’t control which cause paid and organic to cross paths.

PPC Can Aid Organic CTR

Click Through Rate PPC Organic Bounce Rate

Firstly, searchers who clap eyes on an advert for your business may be more likely to then click on an organic listing. Research has proven that 90% of internet users simply don’t trust Google Adverts – but if your organic result then appears below the advert in the rankings, you’ve practically guaranteed yourself a website visitor on the basis of trust. Yes, people are strange.

However, we wouldn’t suggest relying on this factor. We believe that this sort of action depends on the behaviour of each individual searcher. I won’t lie and deny skipping the adverts at the top of the search results almost entirely – so I’m one of those people where your advertising budget is wasted. Sorry about that. 

Not everyone behaves like me, though. Other people rely on the adverts for guidance – especially if they are unconfident in their search results, or researching a topic they know nothing about. 

Brand Recognition

Brand Recognition through PPC

Secondly, brand recognition can come into play – big time. Searchers who’ve previously been exposed to your business via Google Ads are said to be more likely to convert into a return on digital investment

By catching sight of your advert and clocking your business name, a searcher may be more likely to click and engage with organic content later down the line. As a higher click-through rate and engagement ratio can butter up the Google bots like Roseanne Barr’s favourite hot dog, your Organic SEO rankings can benefit considerably. 

In the end, it boils down to trust. As with any form of advertising, the more people see your company or brand, then the more likely they are to stop on by. Don’t expect this to work as a short term strategy, however. Building brand trust takes more than a single Google search, and we wouldn’t recommend depending on Ads as your sole venture into the world of online marketing.  

Sharing Is Caring

Engagement and Sharing through PPC

As a third point, paid adverts have proven to result in higher amounts of sharing, backlinks, mentions, and overall coverage. These aspects can boost organic rankings like Coke boosts Courtney Love (she doesn’t like the diet stuff. What did you think I meant? Shame on you). 

As a process, this concept is pretty simple. Should a searcher click on a paid ad and land on your website or social media profile, and like what they see, then the potential for sharing and social media activity is increased! Huzzah! 

With more shares, Google learns that you are a trustworthy business. As a direct result, your organic rankings can jump a few places towards the coveted top spot. After all, it is an accepted practice for engagement and higher traffic to drive positive SERPs results. So why not capitalize on that? 

If Google understands that your website provides a positive user experience by means of content sharing, then your SEO groundwork has been set. 

Stimulating The Market

PPC Bidding - Bounce Rate

Then there are the search queries to think about. Paid results often impact organic click-through rates (CTR) and can affect the broader market around those keyword searches. It’s not a way to manipulate the market (Google is watching you), but it can shift searcher demand and stimulate content creation. 

When setting up your adverts, you are basically invited to bid on paid search results. By doing so, you are effectively steering the market and stimulating your competitors to keep up. You directly impact how others think about content creation through the keywords that you target for your adverts. Not to mention how the value of specific queries can change. 

Therefore, Organic SERPs can themselves become more competitive as certain paid search terms rise in popularity. To maintain your organic position, you may have to overhaul your content and work your website harder. 

By starting a bidding war, you can have a detrimental effect on your Organic ranking by inviting competition into the search results and changing the landscape. So be careful what you wish for! 

Furthermore, as the appearance of adverts has been updated (and subsequently brought about a landslide of extra clicks), organic results can sit reasonably far down the first page depending on how popular the search term is

Sounds inconsequential, right? Think again. The further down the page anything sits, the less likely people are to scroll. Therefore the Organic click-through rate can be affected, but it won’t play havoc with your organic standing. So don’t panic about it. 

PPC Bounce Rate And Organic SEO: The Summary…

PPC Bounce Rate and Organic SEO Impact

Adverts are often viewed as a ‘life hack’ to sit atop the search rankings. But it’s not that simple. Adverts are treated as a separate entity to organic SEO – and as soon as you stop paying for your adverts, then you disappear from the search engine pages entirely. 

Organic is different, and whatever you invest in building trust with the search engine providers – through solid organic SEO aspects –  is there forever. 

As such, Google cannot let one rule over the other. If your PPC bounce rate is sky high, it won’t pull your organic rankings down. And vice versa. You get what you pay for with adverts, and you gain good SEO karma with organic work. 

However, in summary, paid and organic can cross paths. From the content above, we can deduce that:

  • Clocking a paid advert can lead to a higher organic click-through-rate. 
  • Those who have been exposed to a company through adverts may be more likely to convert.
  • Paid results can affect the organic click-through-rate depending on the search term’s popularity.
  • Adverts can cause increased link and social media sharing – which boosts organic SEO.
  • You can cause a ripple effect in the broader market by bidding on the correct keywords.

And there we have it. A high PPC bounce rate doesn’t kill your organic SEO. However, we’d suggest investigating your PPC bounce rate for ways to improve, as a healthy PPC campaign can work hand-in-hand with the organic elements for a killer strategy and some bonus results.

Hopefully, today’s lesson wasn’t information overload of the highest order. If my ramblings haven’t helped answer your question in the slightest, then get in touch with us and I can try again. With less Coke this time (Vanilla flavour. What did you think I meant? Shame on you).

Want to know more? Get in touch with us through the contact page. We’d be happy to help! 

About The Author

Calum Brown

Calum has worked with SEO for the best part of a decade and is proud of it! He previously created and led Bauer's SEO strategy for their digital classic automotive portfolio and helped to launch America's largest collector car site for SpeedDigital. Having come from an SEO, marketing and editorial background, and having studied Business Information Systems at Edinburgh Napier University, Calum now dedicates his time to all things SEO. He takes great pride in helping Physical Therapy businesses find their perfect (local) clients and drinks copious amounts of tea doing so. Best not to feed him after midnight.