Separately, SEO and PPC can each do wonders to increase your traffic and sales, but if you really want to see your marketing efforts take off, use them together in a holistic strategy. Each has their strengths and weaknesses and luckily where one is lacking the other tends to excel. In this article we look at three ways you can use PPC and SEO together to turbo charge your marketing efforts. But first, for context, let’s outline the strengths and weaknesses of each.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimization and is all about adapting your on and off page web presence so Google will reward you with a higher ranking. A high ranking means that Google has determined your site to be of high quality, relevant and useful. A site with a high ranking will be displayed more often in a better position in organic search results in response to a relevant search query.
The most cited downsides of SEO are that it is slow to see results (up to 3-9 month) and it is hard to measure results. However, the benefits are great, including:
- Organic listings on search engine results pages (SERPs) are free
- Increases brand credibility if you attain a good position in SERPs
- Best SEO practices increases your site’s usability
- Great SEO = a higher conversion rate because in order to rank your site must be relevant to the search
- SEO success lasts for a long time and creates a positive loop of increasing traffic, since the more traffic you get, the higher you are ranked and so on
What is PPC?
PPC stands for pay-per-click because with this sort of advertising you are only charged when somebody clicks the ad. PPC involves creating ad campaigns using appropriate keywords and bidding on those keywords so your ad is displayed in response to searches for them.
The downsides of PPC ads are that they aren’t free and expertise is needed to set up the campaigns correctly so they achieve a good return on investment. Like SEO, the benefits of PPC are also great (if different), including:
- PPC ads show up at the top of the search results page
- Your investment is completely up to you and totally controllable
- PPC gives fast results
- PPC is targeted
- PPC results are measurable
With these strengths and weaknesses in mind, let’s look at three ways we can capitalize on this to make the best use of their unique capabilities.
1. Use Remarketing to Capitalize on Interest
Remarketing is the classic method to combine PPC and SEO efforts. Remarketing targets people who have already shown an interest in your business by visiting your website. Remarketing works by first tracking people who visit your site with a pixel installed in your site’s code, and then presenting your ads to these people as they browse Google’s display network.
Simple, but so effective to increase brand exposure, making your brand immediately recognizable to prospective customers. This brand affinity can increase click-through-rates by 2 to 3 times and it only gets better with the number of times your ad is shown to previous visitors to your site (impressions).
While remarketing strategies often start by targeting everybody who visits your homepage in order to increase your general brand exposure, you will quickly want to move onto targeting your visitors according to the specific pages they visited and the implied intent. The intent of a person who visits your homepage and bounces is different from a person who visits a specific product that you sell.
2. Use PPC Insights for SEO
Marketing strategies based on hard data are always the best. Results from PPC are fast and measurable. You’ll know within days whether your ads are working and just how well various components are working by paying attention to the various metrics in your Google Ads account. The fact that PPC shows results quickly and relatively cheaply makes them a fantastic resource to inform your SEO strategy. SEO is great, but it can take a while to see results and so it can take a while for you to know if you’re on the right track or not.
The possibilities are endless, but here are a few metrics to look at to get you started:
- Examine the ad’s click through rate (CTR) to determine which headlines and descriptions are connecting with the searcher which can then be used in your site’s metadata, messaging or even as topic suggestions. The CTR will also give clues as to which keywords have the best correlation with the ad copy and this information can also be used within your site’s page metadata to target it more effectively.
- PPC data on the success of keywords such as the cost-per-click, the number impressions or quality scores will give you valuable insight into why keywords are effective (or not) and if they would be suitable for your SEO.
- PPC data such as the conversion metrics can reveal which landing pages are working best, which can be used to improve the pages that aren’t performing as well.
- PPC remarketing interest/demographic data can be used to understand your prospective customers, create audiences and adjust your messaging to meet their needs and interests.
3. PPC + SEO To Dominate SERPs
On any Search Engine Results Page (SERPs) you will likely see some paid search ads at the top, then perhaps some map listings for local searches, and below those, the organic search results. The search engine optimization you do on your website increases your chances to get a top position in the organic search results. But even a top organic position can get lost in all the clutter of the SERPs. To make sure you’re noticed you need to take up as much of the SERP real estate as possible.
In fact, more and more of the above fold SERP space is being filled with Google Ads — this is how Google makes money after all. Google Ads do get clicks, and are especially effective if you use keywords that target products or services and make use of the new ad formats that are bigger and more engaging. The new ad formats make it easier for advertisers to target prospective customers with additions such as product listings with large images, click to call options, map/location extensions, site links and chat or email ads to name just a few. Approximately half of all searchers don’t notice they are clicking on an ad. [https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2012/07/17/google-advertising],
Even though PPC is primarily focused on commercial intent, it is possible to use PPC to promote your informational material that will increase brand affinity. More people will click on a SERP entry, especially ads, if they’ve heard of the brand before. Interestingly, brand affinity could work the other way around as well: a person could see your ad at the top of the page, register the name and gist of the ad, and if you also rank in a top organic position for the same topic, the chances people will click on your organic link also increases substantially. Having both PPC and top organic results could increase your click through rate 31% according to a study by Bing.
To dominate the SERPs you could:
- Determine your highest-ranking pages and then run paid ads using those keywords.
- Bid on your brand name: not only is this method cost-effective because of quality score, you will dominate the SERP’s above-the-fold real estate [https://www.highervisibility.com/blog/organic-vs-paid-search-statistics/]
Imagine having your Search Ad at the very top of the page (with plenty of extensions to increase your presence) and then also having a top position in organic results. Nobody could ignore you then.
To Sum Up
Separately PPC and SEO work well, but together they can move mountains, extending your marketing dollars by rooting your marketing strategies in data. Together PPC and SEO can magnify your visibility and conversions by targeting prospective customers at different stages of the sales funnel.