Many marketing experts like to work on SEO and PPC in separate silos.
While this isn’t a bad idea, per se, incorporating SEO and PPC campaigns can make for a more effective marketing mix.
But, if you properly glean the right data from your PPC campaigns, you can better impact your SEO and link building efforts by knowing and acting upon:
- What types of pages and copy converts and why
- What ranking keywords hit searcher intent and drive actual conversions
- What types of customers (demographics and psychographics) convert and why
- What geographies are most impactful, which can drive decisions for how you approach local SEO.
Let’s dive in!
Comparing SEO and PPC
When you’re looking to take a hybrid approach for your online marketing goals, you might want to incorporate a mix of PPC and SEO into your marketing strategy. However, how does aligning the two fare for your business? Let’s go over the pros and cons of using these campaigns separately, compared to using them together, so that you can decide for yourself.
Search Engine Optimization
How does SEO fare for your business, and what are some of its pros and cons?
SEO impacts your brand’s rankings for the long haul and is a sustainable method for securing your online reach and visibility. Unlike PPC, where you can lose out to competitors if they bid higher for particular keywords, SEO allows you to hold your position longer than ads.
SEO also gives you more coverage than paid Search ads. There’s less space online for ads than organic listings, so an effective SEO strategies gives you more real estate coverage. However, more organic reach doesn’t always mean that it’s quality.
SEO is also cheaper than paid Search ads, but more importantly, a comprehensive SEO service that delivers long-term results, so your site won’t drop rankings like paid Search ads once you stop paying. In addition, bidding for keywords can be costly, so SEO is cheaper than paid listings in most cases.
With PPC, you can miss out on many consumers who don’t frequent the particular platforms or sites where you run your ads. For example, if you’re posting your ads on social media, you might be missing out on users who don’t have social media accounts.
However, SEO broadens your reach, as just about everyone uses search engines these days. So you could better spend your money focusing on SEO and reaching a more diverse pool of consumers than you would with simply sticking to paid Search ads.
Also, SEO allows you to experiment with keywords and even helps you with your PPC results. With SEO, you can understand which keywords work best for your audiences before investing in them for PPC.
Lastly, SEO gives you higher credibility and a perceived stamp of approval by search engines. Since your rankings rise organically, it seems that your content is high-quality and liked by audiences.
So, how does PPC differ from organic searches, and what are its benefits? Let’s have a look.
PPC gives you faster results with higher reliability levels. Although they’re not free, they deliver the outcomes in much less time. You don’t have to wait months for a return on your investment like you do with SEO. You can start seeing Search Engine results within days with PPC instead of months with SEO and other organic search optimization methods.
Also, if hands-free management is your thing, PPC allows you to set up automation and scripts to bid and manage PPC ads on your behalf. This way, you don’t have to spend time or money finding professionals to run your campaigns, as you must do with SEO.
PPC allows you to target your audiences better and deeper in the funnel, which will generate more conversions and sales for your brand. So even if you’re paying slightly more for PPC, the higher investment is justified with more quality lead generation.
Also, PPC allows you to work around a budget and control your campaigns accordingly. Setting limits and increasing average order values are much easier with PPC ads than it is with an digital marketing SEO campaign, and you know how to measure your return on investment better. Steer clear from bidding wars with competitors, and you’re good to go.
With PPC, you have more leverage to make adjustments since you see faster results and know what’s working and what isn’t. PPC ads also allow you to take up more space for an individual ad.
Lastly, you can tweak your ads through visually appealing designs and pictures, impacting user perception more than organic searches. This improves your click-through rate compared to organic searches.
Running SEO and PPC Together
However, the best marketing experts run digital marketing SEO and PPC together and combine their Search Engine results with driving more traffic and conversions for their brand. Here’s how you can incorporate paid and organic searches to gain the highest rankings online:
Make room for expansion: A combined PPC-SEO campaign allows you to cast a broader net. Even if you aren’t getting the visibility you want through paid ad’s, you have the option to reach them organically, or vice versa. Although some channels might have higher charges, you’re sure to find one that’s worthy of expanding. By hedging your bets through a mix of both, you can capture audiences you might have missed otherwise.
Improve your brand perception: Since organic and paid ad’s ensure that you show up on the first pages of search engines, you can increase your online real-estate share and enhance how audiences perceive your brand. When audiences consistently see your site showing up on top, it will cement your position as an authority within your niche and industry.
Work On Each Stage of the Funnel: With a mix of organic and paid ad’s, you can enhance the top of your funnel. Content is a significant driver for users in the conversion funnel. And there are multiple channels to offer a mix of content, such as a blog that boosts organic searches and a landing page that users are brought to through paid ad’s.
Blog posts are usually the first form of content your visitors come across. They should be engaging and educating a generalized audience about your brand, products, and the services that you offer. In short, blog posts represent the quintessential top of the funnel content.
Instead of haranguing them with requests to buy what you offer, you ease them into becoming a customer by addressing their pain points and educating them about your brand’s USP and the value it provides them.
As they move further down in the funnel and think about making some decisions, you can present them with tailored offers in a more controlled and customized setting. Again, getting to know your customer and their journey can boost sales and conversions rather than sticking to a conventional ad formula.
PPC ads are paid ad’s and appear next to the searches and other relevant content displayed on the web. However, running PPC campaigns, such as a search engine/ Google Ads campaign, doesn’t boost your digital marketing SEO rankings right away but gets your conversions an upstart and gives you the visibility you need.
Your brand gets the foot in the door, and your ads get the first few clicks. Even if those clicks do not lead to immediate conversions and help you make an impression on audiences, as they start warming up to your product, they will follow that by returning to your search engine results page and giving you their business. Also, those clicks will be beneficial for your rankings.
When digital marketing SEO strategies seem to take a hit, PPC can cover up for it. Search engines keep changing their algorithms, and digital marketing SEO experts have to play catch up to the new updates fast enough. In addition, it can be hard to predict the algorithms of search engines, and sites can instantly be penalized for an infringement, leading to a fall in organic rankings.
PPC can be used to make up for the loss in organic rankings by boosting the site to the top of the search engine page. So while the rankings might go up or down, your visibility will not suffer if your ads answer what the users are looking for.
What Makes For A Good PPC + SEO Hybrid Approach?
Now that you know the benefits of a combined PPC-SEO mix, it’s natural to ask how you can incorporate them in a hybrid approach to give you the best results. Although it might be a little unusual to combine the two campaigns, with the vastly different techniques PPC and SEO link building strategies entail, there is some common ground to work on between both of them.
PPC generally involves number-crunching and analytics, while SEO is more geared towards subjective content, especially for on-page SEO. However, there are ways to blend the technical aspects with the creative ones and come up with a mix that’s unique to the search engine marketing needs of your business.
However, PPC writers depend on content writers for their ad copies, and due to this overlap, the communication between SEO and PPC teams can be fluid.
Let’s delve into detail how PPC and SEO teams can create a symbiotic environment and work together efficiently, including some essential practices:
Enhanced Data Sharing Between PPC And SEO Teams
Both teams should develop unique content, keyword targeting strategies, and search engine marketing tactics to increase online visibility and attract customers. Key information regarding competitors and market trends should be shared in tandem that highlights how audiences online are reacting. The emphasis should be on enhancing information relay regarding the industry, competitors, and customer responses to bolster results for each team.
Both teams should work together to set up monitoring systems to identify competitors based on their branding initiatives, keyword terms, pricing, and positioning within SERPs. The accumulated data should be shared, especially during critical seasonal periods, when product demand is higher or lower than average. It would help create a calendar around specific locations and seasons pertaining to organic and paid ad trends. This information can be used to adjust ad budgets and improve CTR strategies to outrank competitors.
Keyword Data Synchronization Between The Two Teams
Keywords form the edifice for both PPC and SEO campaigns. But the keyword strategies employed for a successful organic SEO campaign might not work for PPC campaigns and vice versa.
Both SEO and PPC teams must conduct keyword research to identify their target audience’s behavior and use that data to predict traffic growth to drive conversions. The Search Console keyword research used by SEO experts can come in handy for both paid ad and organic search campaigns.
Some key stats that can prove beneficial for both teams include search volume, clicks per search, and keyword difficulty, in helping craft content relevant to the target audiences. Additionally, suppose the content is offered through a mix of organic search and paid ad’s. In that case, it can fill the required niche without spending additional time and money on new content.
Our CMO, Samuel Edwards, gave the following presentation at a pre-pandemic event, discussing how to use your paid search can influence your organic keyword strategy.
For organic search campaigns, consider selecting SEO keywords outside the range of search engine/Google Ads. SEO experts should pick those search terms organically that their competitors are spending money on or have abandoned already. By focusing on these trending keywords, you can capture audiences’ interest in SEO and PPC while concentrating on the most desired keywords. This will help you reduce the digital advertising budget and optimize it for better PPC and SEO campaigns.
Utilize Indexed Landing Pages
Ideally, landing pages should be the preferred content for paid ad campaigns, and the goal should be to bring audiences to landing pages instead of driving traffic towards your website. This helps cut out the clutter, provide a clear direction to newcomers, and help drive quality conversions for your page.
But for some cases, you could drive traffic to pages meant for products and services, which are indexed for organic searches and paid ad traffic. This can help save on developing landing pages separately while driving more paid traffic and boosting organic rankings.
However, it can be difficult to track whether the traffic was generated organically and drawn to your page through paid ad’s. Landing pages let you know with certainty which traffic came your way through paid ads. Although this is not the right approach for all landing pages, indexing particular landing pages can boost your organic rankings and be a temporary fix for generating traffic from paid and organic channels.
Fill SERP With PPC-SEO Hybrid Strategies
Ad campaigns that offer direct messages and feature next to organic listings on search engines can improve your click-through rates and give you a better return on your investment. For example, you might have seen paid ads showing alongside the search results for some websites at the very top of search engines. This does wonders for boosting their visibility and reinforces the brand name for consumers. Even if they don’t click right away, it can help draw conversions your way.
Even if you’re not ranking for target keywords, you might want to run ads for them. First, make sure that you check if you’re already catching the organic market for specific keywords. If you are already ranking, shift your focus to a different keyword for your paid ads campaign. This way, you aren’t spending money on ads for keywords that you already catch organically.
Although paid ads generally don’t fare as well as organic search results, their click-through rate is still significant and undoubtedly helpful for driving additional conversions towards your brand. People still click on first-page ads, despite the lower CTR for paid ads instead of organic search rankings.
Dominating the market on both the paid and organic search engine results will help you cast a wider net and help you establish a more authoritative presence in the online market.
Utilize PPC For Link Building
It can be difficult and time-consuming to build organic links, and not all link-building strategies deliver results. It is imperative to find quality links to improve organic rankings, but sometimes it’s impossible to find ways to earn links. Fortunately, you can utilize paid advertising to assist you in improving your organic rankings. Some advertising networks display lists of relevant sites for their members, which they can use to find quality links and bolster their organic rankings.
If the paid ad campaigns are targeted by keywords context, they must be displaying ads on relevant sites based on the keywords you use, allowing you to connect with relevant websites and reach out to them for your link building.
Search Engine/Google Ads allows users to find this data by navigating through their Placements menu and finding relevant placements listed for veritable sites pertinent to your keywords and niche to place your ads. However, you will need to drill down further to see exactly which pages display your ad and then choose the root domain of the sites that you find relevant. Then, drill down further to specific pages of those domains to find link-building opportunities that cater to what you’re looking for.
PPC also allows you to promote content to larger audiences who would not see it organically. This is an excellent opportunity for you to introduce popular influencers to your content through ads. They might like your content and share it with their followers, boosting your organic traffic and driving leads your way.
Search Engine/Google Search pages only allow a selected number of ads, ranging from three to four, which means that PPC marketers need to apply their best efforts to ensure the ads end up on the top. To optimize this, PPC experts can focus on catering to transactional queries through their ads.
In contrast, SEO experts should provide information and develop quality content that engages customers and speaks to their needs. This allows for a diverse content mix that caters to multiple stages within the funnel and leads to a more satisfying experience for users.
With both the teams strategizing and syncing their efforts, the search results for both paid and organic traffic will be optimized, helping generate business for the brand in multiple ways. Syncing the two strategies together enables you to reap the benefits of PPC and SEO separately and of a combined mix. If paid ads seem to miss out on some audiences, SEO appears to cover the rest and vice versa.
Instead of debating the benefits and disadvantages of SEO and PPC, why not incorporate a hybrid approach that brings you the best of each strategy? When one plan fails, the other can act as a crutch, all while boosting your conversions and generating more traffic your way!
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