Pay per click (PPC) is an Internet advertising model used to direct traffic to websites, where advertisers pay the hosting service when the ad is clicked. With search engines, advertisers typically bid on keyword phrases relevant to their target market. Content sites commonly charge a fixed price per click rather than use a bidding system.
Many people approach SEO and PPC as completely separate strategies. And while they are different in many ways, it can be helpful to think of SEO and PPC as being two sides of the same coin: search. There are many ways in which SEO and PPC efforts complement each other, and lead to a more successful search strategy. Consider these eight ways that make a coordinated SEO and PPC strategy greater than the sum of its parts.
The most obvious benefit of combining SEO and PPC efforts is added exposure on the search engine results pages (SERPs). Clients are often tempted to reduce PPC efforts once a search term ranks number one. However, it’s important to remember that the top two or three results on most SERPs are PPC ads. Dominating the organic and paid search results will greatly increase traffic, and give the impression that you’re an established presence in a particular market.
2. Share Keyword Data
Simultaneously running organic and PPC campaigns gives you double the data to analyze. Determine which organic and PPC keywords have the highest conversion rate, and use that information to optimize your overall strategy.
3. Use Best Performing PPC Ad Copy to Inform Your Organic Content Strategy
What works for PPC often works for SEO. By determining which PPC ads result in the most conversions, you’ll have a good idea how to create title tags, meta descriptions and page content for the pages that you want to rank organically. The benefit of using PPC ads to test page attributes is the immediacy of the results. You’ll know pretty quickly what works and what doesn’t, while organically testing titles and Meta tags can take a long time.
4. Integrate E-Commerce Feeds into AdWords Results
Google is doing some pretty cool things when it comes to e-commerce. You can now link specific product pages to PPC ads. The ad will feature the product, often with reviews, and will take the user directly to the product page, where a purchase can be made. This is a great way to give your existing e-commerce efforts a boost.
5. Use Site Search Data to Inform PPC Keywords
The main goal of PPC advertising is to figure out which keywords your customers use to find your product or service. Enabling site search on your website, and analyzing the terms that are frequently used, can give valuable insight into your customers’ needs and search habits.
6. Combat Negative PR
Occasionally, someone will say something negative about your company. It happens, and when it does, combined PPC and SEO efforts can be great damage control. The principle is similar to the first point in this list: visibility. You can guide the conversation more effectively if you control the SEO and PPC results for a certain term. A great example was seen during the Gulf oil spill. For some time afterward, BP paid for PPC ads linked to the keyword ‘oil spill.’ The PPC ad led to a page on BP’s site about the cleanup effort. They wanted to make sure that whenever someone searched ‘oil spill,’ BP’s PPC ad was at the top of the list. Use this technique to help tell your side of the story.
7. Social Media Visibility
The social media landscape is changing dramatically, and part of that change has been the emergence of highly targeted advertising opportunities. Sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube (owned by Google) can serve up ads targeted to incredibly specific groups of people. Using Facebook user profile information, it’s possible to show an ad only to 22 year olds living in Kansas City who are interested in motorcycles and horticulture. It may be a small group, but it’s precise. The data that you collect from these campaigns may uncover granular details about your target audience, and help refine your overall SEO strategy.
8. Test Strategic Organic Keywords with PPC
PPC ads are a great way to refine your organic keyword strategy. As your long term organic keyword strategy evolves, test the conversion rate of the words you want to rank for with PPC ads. You’ll get immediate feedback on the effectiveness of the organic keywords you’re after, and can fine tune your strategy accordingly.