SEO and PPC Better Together: Optimizing Marketing Campaigns

SEO and PPC are two of the most profitable marketing channels, but it’s time to stop thinking of them as competing methods to the same goal – increasing relevant traffic to your website – and look at how SEO and PPC are better together.

Search Engine Optimization and Pay-Per-Click advertising not only complement each other; they are essential components of a well-rounded and more effective search marketing plan. SEO done right will get you higher visibility in SERPs but adding PPC gets you added exposure. And if you can dominate search engine results with two, three or four positions in both paid and organic links you’re conveying authority in your market and recurring exposure to your brand.

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PROs & CONs – SEO vs. PPC

Both Search Engine Optimization and Pay-Per-Click are inbound marketing strategies that have advantages and disadvantages. What I want to open your eyes to is this… both SEO and PPC have strengths and weaknesses that directly balance each other.

SEO PROS:

  • Cost Less
  • More Sustainable

SEO CONS:

  • More work to attract traffic
  • High content demand

PPC PROS:

  • Relevant audience targeting
  • Prominent SERP positioning

PPC CONS:

  • Larger investment
  • Bidding wars

Looking at the benefits of both channels, SEO and PPC shouldn’t be an either/or scenario. Instead, you’re looking at increased sales by integrating the two to boost visibility, increase traffic, and drive up conversions.

Getting Started Combining PPC & SEO

Marketing strategies are understandable constrained by budgets. Deciding whether to invest in SEO or PPC is usually financially obvious – it’s going to be one or the other. But you can have a combined strategy, and benefit from both channels.

It’s common for new marketers and small businesses to think of SEO and PPC as separate entities because they are unclear on their goals.

Start by getting clear on the goal of your marketing campaigns.

Vague, right? This isn’t a goal-setting post, but I won’t leave you hanging because this is important. Impact (an inbound marketing agency) has a great post you should read - How to Come Up with Marketing Goals Based on Business Goals. It’s a short read, but I’ll summarize:

  1. Identify how much revenue you need to generate from your campaigns
  2. Determine how many sales you need to hit those revenue goals
  3. Identify closing rate and how many opportunities you need
  4. Identify how many sales qualified leads (SQLs) you need [leads ready for sales team]
  5. Identify how many marketing qualified leads (MQLs) you need [leads needing nurturing]
  6. Estimate how many leads you need [visitors who have converted on your offers]
  7. Identify how much traffic you need to achieve your goals
  8. Implement other key business goals [sales, revenue, retention, etc.]
  9. Set quarterly benchmarks [raising quarterly benchmarks as traction increases]

While that sounds like a lot, this shouldn’t be a time-consuming activity because your goals don’t have to be perfect. They just need to be realistic estimates to start so you can measure performance, implement improvements, and make budgeting decisions on you’re going to use SEO and PPC together for an increased return on investment.

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Combining your SEO and PPC for Stronger Marketing Campaigns

Maybe you are already using both SEO and PPC. A lot of marketers will start off with a PPC campaign, work on SEO for their top keywords, then back off on PPC and live off SEO-generated leads. You’ve got PPC and SEO in there but saying this is a “combined” strategy would be a stretch.

Let’s look at how to develop a combined SEO and PPC strategy that works better together.

Use PPC Data to Pick the Right SEO Keywords

Organically ranking new web pages can take months, even years with how long the optimization process can be. You don’t want to waste time and resources working at ranking for the wrong keywords. Your client may want to be known as the premier “green dry cleaner” in Waikiki. So it’s too bad there are a total of 4 local search users who care what chemicals are being used to get their one special occasion Tommy Bahama shirt pressed. If you’re optimizing for the wrong keywords, you’re screwed.

If you have any data to work with, then PPC trends are a gold mine of keyword effectiveness you can use for SEO. If you find specific PPC ad copy converted well, then apply it to your landing page copy for optimization. Also, keep an eye on interaction rates and search volume for specific keywords before going all in optimizing your web pages for those words.

Time on Site is an SEO Ranking Factor PPC Can Help With

If you have a piece of content you’re trying to rank; it will be harder with a low time on site. What you can do is get this content in front of the right audience by running retargeting PPC ads to the struggling page. Retargeting is the important part here.

To do this, you are going to:

  1. Use Google Analytics and look at the average amount of time spent on each page and the keywords in that content.
  2. If you have enough website visitors you can generate a list of users with viewed a page with good time on site and similar keywords.
  3. Use retargeting based on that user list to run PPC ads to the struggling page.

Combine PPC and SEO for Branding Domination

It might seem crazy to run paid ads on a brand name when SEO should organically take care of keeping the links you want at the top of search. But… remember what I said in the beginning about taking up more real estate in SERPs and increasing visibility?

Well, combining SEO and PPC ensures you knock both short-term and long-term branding goals out the park.

SEO will handle your long-term branding by ranking the things that generally don’t change over time like company name, location, and founder information. At the same time, PPC tackles short-term branding around new or changing information. Things like seasonal offers, awards, community involvement PPC ads not only get you more brand exposure on page one, they can bump competitors off of first page results for your name.

Ensure Your Continued Success Combining PPC and SEO

Remember that SEO and PPC best practices frequently change to keep up with Google updates and new algorithms. If you want your campaigns to thrive, continuous optimization is crucial. Keep an eye out for significant changes, adapting and improving your SEO and PPC strategies regularly.

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