Some time ago, there was a heated debate on Google AdWords Community thank to an amazing video that was published by the amazing SEM Project. The video was about if advertising in Google AdWords influences the organic positioning of a site. I will give you my opinions but I recommend you to read all the expert opinions in the AdWords Community.
There are a lot of opinions around the issue of a CTR in an organic Ad (not AdWords) affecting SEO. Personally I am inclined to think there is an effect on it. And it makes sense, lets imagine that in an organic search of the word “dog” the first page shown has nothing to do with the users search. How does Google know that is giving irrelevant information? The simplest way would be to measure the CTR of that page with the search term: if the result gives Google a lower rate than the second page, it makes sense that Google would try showing the second page as the first result, in other words it would “rank” that page higher.
Let’s assume that we want to have an online bussines about let’s say, a veterinary shop. On top on trying to optimize our SEO with the traditional tools (link building, specific pages, improving the experience on the site, etc), we could also opt for a SEM strategy that allows us to get the first position in the ads. As a consequence, we might adquire new clients related to the veterinarian world.
In the future, we might position our brand. At that moment, when the user already knows us, when they search a veterinarian term (dog leashes) and sees our site, even if its not in the first position, he might still click on our webpage. With an effective branding experience, it is possible to obtain better CTR in the organic results. As we obtain better CTR, our SEO position might improve.
This is my opinion about this issue, yet is is difficult to actually assure this because when we think in terms of months and years into the future, the SEO tactics that we and our competitors use will vary and it will result imposible to measure each small variation. As a last thought, is it possible that SEM is directly related to SEO? I would have to say no. Is it related in an indirect way? Probably.