Theoretically, anything that influences online searches can indirectly affect SERP position. On several occasions, Google hinted on the role of organic CTR and search impressions in SERP ranking. Moreover, many can notice the positive relationship between organic search impressions and SERP position. Given these evidences, can we indirectly attribute improved SERP position to online ads?
In this post, I will deviate from a common line of reasoning used to rule out any positive effect of advertising on organic search results. Paid inclusion and other types of online ads are not meant to improve the organic search results of advertisers, but we should not overlook the behavioral effects of advertising which can impact online searches and thus SERP ranking.
A study conducted by Fox Networks and market research firm comScore in 2010 showed that display and video ads can increase search queries on generic and brand-specific terms three times. Video ads have more immediate impact on search queries than display ads. Those who were exposed to video ads were twice more likely to search about the sponsored trademarks than display ad viewers do. But as display ad impressions increase, so does its effect on the search behavior of the audience.
The study analyzed behavioral responses to four ad campaigns aimed at travel, finance, government and utilities sectors over a four-week period. Around 80,000 British online users were involved in the study.
Optimizing Ads for Organic Search
The volume, relevancy and frequency of traffic from search engines are long believed to be a crucial SERP ranking factor. The research findings explain why new brands heavily advertised on TV stand out even in organic searches. Here are some ways you can turn your ads into an SEO tool.
1. Use targeted keywords in your brand name and prominent areas of banner and landing page. This will influence search queries and improve brand recall when users search for those keywords. The more often your domain or brand name appears in keyword-rich search queries, the higher would be the SERP ranking of your site.
2. Use paid press releases to complement your ads. This would fuel more searches when your product or website is mentioned in various domains.
3. Include paid reviews in your ad campaign. Sponsored reviews have the advantage of giving you a customized URL or title, thus increasing impressions from organic searches.
Building search engine traffic is entirely different from direct traffic generation. The latter is one of the main objectives of online advertising, while the former is often seen as an unpredictable upshot rather than an important aspect of an online marketing campaign.
By influencing online search behavior through ads, online marketers can build organic search engine traffic, especially if the advertising campaign generates millions of impressions as those used in the Fox study.
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