Search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising are two, very different marketing methods that can boost your online traffic and increase conversions, so different that often, marketers separate them completely. While this silo mentality can help, there are also some real dangers in taking it too far.
In this post, I’m going to explain how to integrate your SEO and PPC strategies, also presenting some ideas for how they can be combined synergistically to make both strategies even better.
Why Combine SEO and PPC?
Data is the lifeblood of any search marketing strategy. Without data, we can’t possibly know what’s working and what isn’t, how to more effectively target our customers, or how to set goals for the future.
Data makes SEO and PPC more predictable and actionable. Without data, we would all be playing guessing games and losing a significant amount of money in the process.
Yes, it’s true that SEO and PPC need to be approached somewhat differently, but data from PPC can be invaluable to your SEO efforts, and vice versa. Data needs to cross the gap as frequently as possible. It’s fine if you have two separate teams of SEO and PPC. However, they need to be communicating with each other, asking questions that only the other side can answer. This kind of integrated marketing helps businesses to thrive in today’s competitive digital landscape.
To maximize our ROI even further, it’s crucial for SEO and PPC efforts to be integrated with one another. Not only can this help identify the strengths and weaknesses in each of your campaigns, but it will be easier to reach some goals with one campaign and more expensive to reach some online marketing goals with the other. The ability to designate tasks allows us to optimize the budget, using our strengths more effectively and allowing one team to cover the weaknesses of the other. This boosts the bottom line, and it can boost effectiveness too. By the end of this page, you will know how to align your PPC and SEO, producing more effective online marketing.
Tap into Valuable Data
It is critical to use every source of data to improve search campaigns. Why? Because no amount of data could create a 100% accurate picture of what is happening. Online marketers — both SEO and PPC alike — work off hypotheses, hypotheses about what the intent behind a keyword string is, hypotheses about how their core audience understands their products, enough hypotheses to fill the room. None of these are 100% accurate, and data from either PPC or SEO can help the other team confirm or deny their hypotheses. And, since anyone who pays for Google AdWords has access to valuable data, that data should be used for as much advantage as possible. You’re already paying for it anyways! So, make AdWords data available to everyone.
Improve Customer Experience
Google didn’t decide to introduce a mobile-first index because they were bored. They did it because mobile matters to users more now, than it did in the past, and Google wants to make the user experience as amazing as possible.
This means that if you aren’t creating the best possible experience for your visitors, you can expect to fall behind the competition. It’s more important than ever to focus on your customer’s experience if you want to capture their attention and improve your sales. Sharing your SEO and PPC data can shed valuable insight into what will hook potential customers.
The competition was always tough, but Google’s constant changes are making things tougher for PPC and SEO alike. And, as most of us know, this is an industry where staying one step ahead of the competition is key.
With only so much precious real estate up for grabs on Google’s search results, you need all the help you can get to snag a spot. You can leverage the data that you obtain from your SEO and PPC efforts to rank higher in paid and organic search results.
How to Make Your PPC and SEO Work Together
Here are some of the best ways to leverage the data you obtain from both paid and organic search for success:
1. Use PPC Keyword Data for SEO
Digital marketers have been using Google AdWords’ Keyword Planner data for years as their must-have research tool. Now, Google has decided to limit the in-depth data to only those who have active AdWords campaigns.
This wasn’t good news for SEOs who had been using the tool to power their keyword research and create new blog post ideas. Once a free resource, Google Keyword Planner suddenly became inaccessible to those without active AdWords campaigns. Digital marketers had to look for new keyword research tools. The only problem was that other keyword tools didn’t tell you which keywords convert.
If you have an active AdWords account, you have access to a tool that many SEOs would love to get their hands on. You are paying to use Google AdWords anyways, so take advantage of that by using the data that is at your disposal and use it in your SEO campaigns! With this knowledge, you can adjust your SEO strategy so that your visitors will convert.
2. Use SEO Data to Reduce PPC Expenditures
On the other side of the equation, it’s easy to see that SEO has some data that can be extremely useful for your paid search campaigns. Depending on the industry that you’re in, PPC ads can be pricey. Naturally, you want to do everything that you can to get the most bang for your buck with PPC.
By using data from your SEO team, you can help stretch your PPC budget even further. Here are just a few ways to do it:
Pause expensive keywords: If you’re working with a tight budget, it might be a good idea to focus on ranking organically for the more expensive keywords. Your SEO team and PPC team can coordinate to figure out which keywords should be paused while you focus on ranking for those words organically. While it may take longer, it is a cost-effective strategy.
Identify high-performing long tail keywords: You can also use your SEO data to identify any high-performing long tail keywords and use them to boost your PPC efforts as well. Long tail keywords tend to be more affordable than generic keywords, so this will naturally lower your advertising budget.
Geo-targeting potential: Your SEO team might notice that a significant amount of organic search traffic is coming from a specific geographic location. Sharing this knowledge with your PPC team allows them to adjust bids to more effectively target this audience.
Enhance your PPC ads: Your SEO team and PPC team can also work together to boost your sales potential as well. If you have a product that is ranking well organically, you can use your PPC ads to offer discounts so that they appear alongside your organic search listings. This can increase your visibility in the SERPs and boost overall traffic.
A Retargeting Strategy for SEO Traffic
It isn’t easy getting to the top of organic search results. What’s worse news is that most first-time visitors won’t convert. SEOs work hard to get that organic traffic, and this fact is dismaying, to say the least.
Yet that is exactly why having a remarketing strategy in place is so critical. SEO professionals can use their remarketing strategy to win back that traffic and get a second chance to convert their visitors. Remarketing is where both PPC and SEO combine their efforts to achieve their ultimate goal—whether that is to purchase a product or download a new eBook.
You’ve roped the visitor in with your SEO; now it’s time to let PPC do the work by creating an effective retargeting advertisement that will get them to follow through with their action. To do this, your SEO and PPC need to communicate. Sending the same basic, introductory advertisement isn’t going to be effective. Create something unique that will gently nudge them through the buying process.
Using PPC for Content Marketing
Your content is valuable for SEO purposes, but it can also play a huge role in nudging the consumer along the sales funnel. Yes, the goal of PPC, for many marketers, is to gain traffic and increase sales quickly, but those who are creating a content marketing strategy to meet long-term goals can benefit immensely from PPC.
Instead of using PPC to make quick sales, you can also use it to promote your content and build your brand. As mentioned earlier, with your AdWords account you have access to data that not every SEO does. You know which products are most popular, which demographics are most interested in your products, which keywords convert best, and more. With this knowledge, you can build your content to appeal to these users that will be 10x more impactful than other content.
Once you have written the amazing content, all you need to do is use PPC to get seen in search results and promote your brand. For no additional ad cost at all, you can include a sitelink extension that further promotes your content. Plus, even if users aren’t clicking on your ad, they are still becoming more familiar with your brand and will trust your content the more they recognize your brand name.
Create Ads That Match Content
PPC professionals work hard to craft the perfect ads that will capture a online user’s attention and get them to click on their ad, but what happens once they click? If you want to maximize the effectiveness of your PPC ads, you need to ensure that your traffic converts in the post-click experience.
The problem is that the PPC team may just create their ads and have nothing to do with the post-click experience. That’s where your SEO team comes in. They are in charge of creating the landing pages that convert visitors into buyers.
That’s why they need to be working closely with the PPC team to ensure that the visitor is further pushed along the conversion funnel. This involves crafting ad copy that closely matches the headlines of landing pages, and/or your site’s content, so that the visitor is further enticed to take action.
Improve Quality Score
If you are familiar with AdWords, you know that improving your quality score is important. Not only does it affect your cost-per-click of your keywords, but it also affects the position of your ad in search rankings.
Improving your quality score is another benefit that can come from your SEO and PPC working together. SEOs are in control of landing page optimization for organic search, but they can help PPC out by optimizing for a quality score as well.
Over the years, Google has placed more importance on landing pages, and it is one of the three main factors that make up your quality score. That means that there is a lot riding on your landing pages and your SEO team. By working together, both SEO and PPC teams can maximize the potential of landing pages and maximize their campaign’s ROI in the process.
As the real estate in Google SERPs becomes more competitive, it is essential that your SEO and PPC strategies are integrated. Google is constantly updating its algorithm and making changes to both paid and organic search. The best way to weather these changes and come out on top is by ensuring that your SEO and PPC teams are in constant communication with each other.
Don’t underestimate the value that both sides can provide. We like to pit SEO and PPC against each other, but the truth is that each of these strategies can offer data and value that can maximize the ROI of each campaign. By integrating SEO and PPC, you can achieve better results for you and your clients.