Why invest in both SEO and PPC?
If you’re looking to get your business in front of a larger proportion of your target audience, chances are you’ve considered some form of search engine marketing. But what should you go for? Should you optimise your site for organic listings? Or should you start investing in ads? While many view SEO and PPC as completely separate entities, they can be more effective when thought of as two parts of an overall Search Strategy.
SEO, or search engine optimisation, refers to the practice of increasing a website’s traffic by improving the visibility of the site for relevant search engine queries in the organic listings.
Paid Search is the practice of increasing a website’s traffic by showing ads on search engine results pages for certain search terms.
Both have the same goal, to draw more visitors to a website via a search engine. A comprehensive search marketing strategy will incorporate both.
1. Dominate the SERP
Even if you’re ranking in one of the top positions for a search term, continuing your PPC efforts can help your visibility. The more space your results take up on the SERP (search engine results page), the more likely users are to take notice of you and click through to your site. Even if users don’t click on your PPC ad at the top of the page and scroll down to the organic listings, your brand will benefit from the extra bit of exposure and perhaps remember you when they come across your brand again in the organic listings.
2. Increased efficiency
From the initial keyword research to the copy that provides the best click through rates, there’s plenty of data that is relevant to both SEO and PPC.
At the start of any search campaign, extensive keyword research will need to be carried out by both your SEO team and your Paid Search team. Without it, neither team will know where to start. Many of the insights that the PPC team glean from this research will be useful for the SEO team, and the other way around.
Paid Search experts will usually spend time testing different approaches for their campaigns, working out which keywords and ad copy yields the best results. The results of these tests can be gathered and analysed relatively quickly when compared to similar testing with SEO. This means that SEO can take a lead from these tests and produce better optimised page titles and meta descriptions for the right keywords from the get-go.
Optimise landing pages
In a previous article, we outlined how landing pages for Paid Search can also work for SEO and vice versa. Google takes into account the quality of the page an ad leads to when deciding how much a click will cost and where to place it on a results page. Pages that you want to rank organically must also be of high quality, answering the search query.
When you can produce a landing page that works for both Paid Search and SEO, why not utilise this?
3. Paid Search as support for SEO
While the ultimate goal is the same with both disciplines, you can get results very quickly with Paid Search, whereas SEO is more of a long-term strategy. This means that while your SEO campaign is being set up and you’re waiting for changes to have an impact on your organic rankings, you can use Paid Search to get some quick results and boost your traffic from search engines.
Equally, if you see your organic ranking for a high value term for your business fall, Paid Search can also help you maintain your visibility on the results page. This gives you a bit of breathing space while SEO changes are made to earn back your organic visibility.
If you have already managed to increase your traffic from your search marketing efforts but are struggling to achieve any additional conversions, a remarketing campaign might be a good option for you. This allows you to target users who have already visited your site with PPC ads. The bonus with this is that these users will be further down the marketing funnel and closer to a sale.
“For PPC, I always find it’s best to work in alignment with SEO. We can get a sense of areas we need to be more competitive in looking at our organic ranking.
It’s also helpful to align to business objectives. If there is a new area we want to focus on, we know SEO needs time to work, so PPC can help in the meantime.
Some brands don’t want to do PPC in the long term, which is understandable. We have had some clients who want to use PPC while they build up their SEO. After some time, they start to wind down their spend, or shift it to new areas, as they start to see their organic traffic increase.”
4. Making the most of your budget
You may find that some competitive keywords aren’t cost-effective for a Paid Search campaign, but this is where your organic efforts kick in. If you can start ranking well for these terms in the organic listings and can run a more limited PPC campaign alongside your organic campaign, you’re in a much better position. You might also find that by ranking well organically, you earn more trust from users.
5. Beyond search engines
The points above have all focussed on a search marketing strategy, but with PPC you can extend your efforts to other parts of the web. Display advertising allows you to advertise on other websites or social media sites, usually in the form of a banner.
This can benefit your SEO strategy in several ways. Firstly, by looking at which ads are the most successful, you’ll have more data to help you refine your metadata and produce more eye-catching title tags and descriptions for your organic listings, encouraging more users to click through to your site. Secondly, the results from your display campaign can highlight new outreach opportunities for link building elements of your SEO efforts. Sites where your ads have worked particularly well might be great targets for guest posts which could help you secure a link. The more authoritative and relevant websites that link to your site, the higher your site will rank on SERPs.