Destination Digital

If You Have Google Ads Running, You Don’t Need SEO… And Other Lies

In this series of articles, we are here to tell you that digital marketing isn’t the silver bullet that will fix all your business issues in one fell swoop.  In our fourth installment this week, we bust the myth that Google Ads removes the need for performing SEO on your website. This one is simple, because it’s not true.

This one is pretty simple. Just setting up a regular Google Ads campaign won’t help your SEO* or replace the need for SEO. Google Ads is Google Ads and Google organic is Google organic.  There are crossover points that complement each other nicely, and so implementing these in conjunction with each other is the way to hit that sweet spot.

If you rely on Google Ads for bringing in the majority of your traffic and conversion activity, you are putting all your digital marketing eggs in one basket. You run the risk of becoming entirely dependent on advertising to do your marketing for you, and are then committed to all the attendant costs associated with that.

When you switch off your Google Ads campaigns, all that traffic gets turned off overnight. That’s pretty dramatic if, like we have seen on a number of occasions, you have over half of your traffic to your website coming from Google Ads (we’ve even seen a few websites where almost 90% of the traffic is PPC too, which is a frightening prospect to be so reliant on one single digital marketing platform).

Saying that you don’t need to SEO your website because you have Google Ads is like saying that you don’t need oil for your car because you have petrol.

So what’s the real scenario?

On-page Search Engine Optimisation is helpful for improving the quality of the search results in your Google Search, Performance Max and Shopping campaigns by giving Google keyword phrases on the landing pages that can be matched to search phrases you are bidding for. The process of Google Ads landing page optimization is pretty similar to the SEO process, and so this ties the two activities together if you optimise your landing pages for both purposes mindfully.

The act of ‘on-page’ optimising your content for SEO involves honing down what a particular individual page on your website is all about, and how it is different to all the other pages on your website.

In terms of digital merchandising for large e-commerce websites, optimisation of individual product pages can mean that a product will be served higher than a competitor’s on organic Google search results which will get you the lion’s share of the traffic for that particular product. In PPC, this same optimisation is needed to improve the quality score on search phrase bids you add into your campaigns, but it is also crucial for enabling your product to be served into the Google Shopping channel in the first place. This can significantly influence where your ad gets served due to its match with the bid-for search terms in your Google Ads account.

Back to the point of heavy reliance on Google Ads which is the subject of this blog though.  In our view, landing page optimisation for Google Ads, which is effectively also on-page SEO, leaves behind a strengthened organic page which can pave the way for cutting the umbilical cord on bidding for some phrases that then end up performing strongly organically. When catastrophic economic events like Covid19 and the lockdowns happen, it also means that, when push comes to shove and you need to cut right back, you won’t lose all that traffic when you switch off your campaigns, as the SEO benefits will live on.

In July 2022, there has also been a complete upheaval of the Google Ads platform where Google has decided to eschew their Smart Shopping campaign format in preference for Performance Max campaigns. This is a problem for ecommerce websites with large content sections like blogs that aren’t direct revenue driving channels as in a Performance Max campaign ‘anything is game’, so you could end up spending a lot of money driving people to that ‘brand building content’ rather than paying it out on product pages from now on. So broadening out the channels you are investing in is a smart move, as any channel owned by ‘big tech’ could change at a moment’s notice, collapsing your own business’ reliance on those technologies.

So, further to the point of this article, relying solely on Google Ads, or any other channel exclusively is a risk to your business when something like this comes along to disrupt how you get results out of the channel.

Nothing replaces the need for anything else in digital marketing, and so our advice would be to broad base your options as much as possible to reduce risk.


*  research by Google shows that the presence of Google Ads on pages you also score for organically lifts your SEO performance – 89% of clicks through organic would not have happened without the presence of Google Ads.


Read more

Take a look at the full series of myth busters about digital marketing:


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We’re proud to say that we’ve helped many businesses generate millions of pounds of revenue through digital marketing. If you’d like help with your digital marketing email us on or give us a call on 01629 810199 for a quick chat.

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