Clients often ask us whether they should invest in paid search efforts or put more money into SEO. They seem to think that SEO and SEM are either/or strategies that are independent of one another. However, SEO supports paid search efforts, while paid search provides valuable insights and guidance for the SEO team. If you want to maximize Google exposure to increase traffic and sales, then you need both. Here is how paid and organic search efforts overlap.
4 Ways Paid Search Helps Your SEO Efforts
If you have focused exclusively on SEO to promote your website, then PPC marketing is about to give you a windfall of data. If you have operated your SEO and PPC efforts in isolated silos, then it’s time to marry the two for better information spreading across your marketing efforts.
Discover Better Keyword Research and Targeting
Google Ads is essentially a free keyword research tool for your SEO team. They can see what keywords perform best and what makes people click to your page. Some SEO teams use Google keywords results to identify low-hanging fruit. What keywords have high CTR and conversion rates, but low organic results? This is a great place to start to buffer SEO efforts and focus your work.
Tap Into a Steady Stream of Content Ideas
One of the best tools you can use to come up with landing page ideas and blog content is the search terms tab in the keyword section. This shows exactly what people are typing in to reach your website. If you predominantly use broad and phrase match keywords, you may be surprised by how people are finding you.
Most paid search experts check this column at least weekly to see what their top terms are. This allows them to and add poor match results to negative keyword lists to prevent wasted clicks in the future.
More customers than ever are typing complete sentences and long-tail keywords into Google. This is only going to increase with voice search tools like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home. In fact, 57% of Amazon’s sales come from long-tail terms. It’s time to look into your search terms and turn these keywords into content.
Most of the keywords in this section won’t require much adjustment to become ideas. If someone lands on your site with the phrase “how can I grow closer to my boyfriend,” and you write advice columns, you have your next idea. You can even pull some of your top performing keywords and base ideas off of them in your next ideation session. The possibilities are endless.
Learn Who Your Top Competitors Are
Google Ads allows you to get a clear picture of where you stand in the auctions and who your top competitors are. Your search team likely keeps an eye on these other bidders, but your SEO team can benefit as well.
Use this information to see where your competitors outrank you in paid results and how they compare organically. What can you do to stand out and reach new audiences? What do your competitors have from an SEO standpoint that you don’t have? If you want to go after your competitors to maximize Google exposure, use this tool to see what you’re up against to overtake them.
Learn More About Your Target Audiences and Personas
Google Ads and Google Analytics provide more data about who is visiting your website and what they are getting out of it. If you are developing brand guidelines and a content strategy for SEO, consider using the data from your PPC efforts to create profiles on potential customers.
There are a variety of tools you can use within the ad interface to do this. You can look at specific audiences that Google divides users into. You can look at specific demographic information like age and gender, or you can look at demand for certain products and services and the people who buy them. Use the mountains of data that Google provides to create reliable, accurate target personas.
4 Ways SEO Improves Your Paid Search Campaigns
While PPC is predominantly used to help SEO with ideation and strategic planning, marketers can see almost immediate monetary improvements from working with the organic search team. You can’t maximize Google exposure in paid search without organic efforts.
Improve Site Experiences for Customers
Our clients often try to use paid search as a crutch in the short term while their website is getting updated. Their logic is that they can still maintain or improve their traffic levels through paid ads until the organic search traffic kicks in. Unfortunately, this is a costly misconception. Sure, you can drive traffic to your homepage and landing pages through PPC, but if your audience hates what they see, they are going to bounce.
Bad content, slow loading pages, and questionable design all drive people away, and the likelihood is slim that they will return. Almost 80% of customers say that they would not return to a poor or slow loading website.
A good site experience through strategic SEO makes customers want to stay on your site and increases the chances that they convert. You can win over new customers through paid search and convince them to turn them into loyal direct or organic customers in the future.
Increase Clicks Alongside Organic Listings
SEO and PPC are not exclusive strategies. You can’t separate keywords that you want to rank organically for and keywords that you want to support with paid ads. In fact, ranking highly for certain keywords organically can actually help your paid search efforts.
In 2012, Google reported that having an organic listing on the first page lead to more incremental clicks. About half of the clicks for ads when your organic listings are at the top of the rankings are incremental, but this jumps to 82% and 96% for listings that are in positions 2-4 and above five.
What does this mean? Essentially, your paid ads don’t steal from your organic search results, but rather your organic results encourage customers to click on your ads. Why? When audiences see multiple listings, they associate quality and relevancy with your brand. They don’t think you have a questionable website that paid to be at the top of the content. Rather, your site must be valuable if Google is ranking it so highly organically and promoting an ad.
Use your organic results to build up your paid search ads. You will appreciate the higher CTR and higher ROI that comes with it.
Enjoy Higher Quality Scores
The value of quality scores is debated across marketing circles. Some decry this number as a vanity metric while others point out the correlation in performance and cost for results with higher scores. As recently as 2018, Larry Kim insisted that quality scores impact your cost per click. Ads with higher quality scores have lower CPCs but the same rankings, while ads with lower quality scores had to pay more for the same exposure.
Remember, it is in Google’s best interest to get you to click. The company would rather lose a few cents and get the click over no click at all because of poor results from a high bidder. This is why Google promotes brands that are likely to have better success rates.
Quality score is determined based on the quality of the ad copy, the relevance of the ad text, the historical performance of the keyword, and the landing page quality. If you have a strong landing page experience with top SEO best practices, you are already nailing that part of the quality score. Google will be more inclined to raise your scores and give you more exposure and results without your having to spend more.
Increase Your PPC ROI
All of these SEO efforts work together to improve your paid search ROI and maximize Google exposure. Higher quality scores result in lower CPCs, better site experiences lead to lower bounce rates, and creative copy sells customers on your products. With a combined SEO and PPC strategy, you should start to see your conversion rate increase in your paid search efforts, driving your ROI up. You can stretch your marketing efforts farther because you’re being strategic about how you spend, not just where you spend.
You don’t need to be an expert in both SEO and PPC to have a successful marketing campaign. Consolidating your efforts through one organization increase communication and helps you develop a unified strategy where your PPC efforts help your SEO and vice versa.
Call us today and grill our team on how you can maximize Google exposure through SEO and PPC. Or request a free digital advertising health check to see how your efforts stack up against industry best practices. Either way, you are taking the first steps toward better paid and organic search results.