How Do PPC and SEO Go Hand in Hand?
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Most businesses run PPC (Pay-Per-Click), and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) campaigns separately. PPC ads are the targeted ads on the search engine, and SEO focuses on ranking the site on the SERPs. This builds visibility and site traffic, leading to what we refer to as organic traffic.
Both strategies lead potential clients to your site. Therefore, by integrating them you can help your site reach a larger audience. According to Google Research, high organic search results in a site can improve the CTR (Click-Through-Rate) of the site’s PPC ads.
So, how do PPC and SEO go hand in hand? Read on.
Differences Between PPC and SEO
Although the purpose of both organic search and paid advertising is the same, they have significant differences.
If you create highly targeted ad copy, there’s a high probability of converting site visitors. Targeted PPC ads drive the prospect to take action such as subscribe or buy your product compared to search traffic.
Sites rank high on search results because they contain relevant and trustworthy information that fulfills the searcher’s intent. While your site may rank for the keywords you’ve optimized, your site visitor may not be looking for that exact information on the page.
Site Traffic Potential
SEO has more potential to bring more traffic to your site than PPC ads.
Google displays the search results that meet the searcher’s search intent and are optimized for particular keywords. More than 25% of searchers click on results on the first page.
If you keep your content optimized for the right keywords, you can receive constant high traffic.
With PPC, you can get traffic for as long as you keep paying for the ads. The day you don’t pay, you won’t see any traffic. Therefore, PPC does not guarantee constant traffic.
Position in the Search Result Pages
PPC ads are positioned on the top or bottom part of the search result pages. Where your ad appears depends on factors such as keyword competitiveness and how much you’re paying. If you’d like your ads to appear on the first page, your cost per click will be higher.
Organic search results appear in the middle of the result pages. To get your site on the first page, you need to optimize your content by targeting the right keywords, creating relevant content, getting links from other sites, among others.
PPC campaigns cost more than SEO. You pay per click, meaning every time someone clicks on your ad.
Your cost per click (CPC) depends on factors such as where you want your ad to appear and your industry. For instance, general contractor sites pay more per click compared to sites selling $10 phone cases.
For SEO, search engines do not charge you to appear in organic search results since they aim to rank the search content that’s trustworthy and relevant to the searcher’s interest.
You will only incur costs paying an SEO expert or agency or SEO tools such as keyword researchers. However, these are optional.
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Ways PPC Can Help Boost Organic Performance
PPC does not affect organic rankings directly. However, it can affect the target audience, making them take actions to boost organic performance, such as the following.
Improve Brand Awareness
When your paid ads appear at the top of the page, the searcher sees them and can associate them with what they are looking for. They may not click the ad but continue to view the other results.
If again, they see you in the search results, they’ll be more aware of you, whether consciously or unconsciously. PPC can increase brand awareness by 80%. The chances of them clicking on the result are higher.
If they do, they’ll interact with your site, probably look around to see what you’re offering. It’s also possible that the viewer will bounce. Whether they stay or not, they’ll have gotten awareness about your brand.
Test Organic Keywords
SEO keywords do not show results immediately. PPC, on the other hand, generates immediate results. However, both depend on keyword optimization for best results.
You can therefore use PPC campaigns to test and refine organic search keywords. If you have keywords that have performed exceptionally well on PPC campaigns, you can target and optimize them in your SEO campaigns.
Paid Ad Clicks Can Increase Engagement, Coverage, and Links, Which Can Boost Organic Rankings
When a potential customer clicks on your paid ads, they arrive on your landing page. An optimized landing page with high-quality content can give them the urge to share or even link to your page.
A high click-through rate, a high rate of engagement, and backlinks to your site can boost your search engine results and rankings.
When to Use Optimization Instead of Paid Traffic
So, when should you use SEO instead of PPC? Here are the answers.
If Your Marketing Budget is Limited
PPC campaigns are expensive, especially if you’re targeting keywords with high competition.
You pay every time a potential client clicks on your ad, even if they don’t convert. Over time, you’ll have spent a lot of money, and when it runs out, so will your traffic.
With SEO, you’ll only need to pay freelancers or an SEO agency.
To Reach Customers at Different Stages in the Sales Funnel
You can create different types of content and optimize them to target customers at different stages in the conversion journey. From blog posts to guides and product reviews, you’ll have content for beginners and customers who are already convinced and loyal to your brand.
PPC campaigns work to convert potential customers. They don’t cater to people looking for more information about your brand.
To Build Brand Authority
Search engines see you as an expert in that field when you continuously create high-quality content that people engage with by clicking, sharing, and linking to it. As a result, your rankings rise, and you gain brand authority.
However, with PPC ads, there’s no content, and chances of building authority are slim.
To Maintain Constant Traffic and High Return on Investment (ROI)
As long as you keep your content optimized, your traffic will be high. Also, because SEO doesn’t cost much, you’ll probably earn a high ROI.
Traffic from PPC ads stops as soon as they stop running. Besides the high cost of running the ads, this fact makes PPC campaigns, not the ideal option. It is especially true if you’re looking to drive constant traffic to your site and a high ROI.
When You Can Use PPC to Optimize SEO Campaigns
Although PPC does not affect SEO directly, you can make your SEO efforts more successful. Here are situations when you can use PPC to optimize your SEO campaigns:
When You Want to Test Your Keywords
A/B testing your keywords with PPC campaigns is easier as results are immediate. You can use it to try keywords that you intend to use in SEO.
When You Want to Drive More Traffic to Your Site
If there’s a page or content you’d like to drive more traffic to, PPC can help. Unlike SEO, PPC is not affected by Google algorithms. Algorithm updates may lower your site rankings, but the site can get more traffic with PPC ads.
When You Are Looking to Improve Engagement
PPC ads can increase customer engagement with your brand through social shares and comments. You also stand a chance to increase backlinks and CTR, thus improving your site rankings.
How to Integrate PPC and SEO
Integrating PPC and SEO campaigns is one of the best ways to get the most out of the two strategies. But how do you combine the two strategies?
Use Retargeting Ads
You may have ranked for specific keywords, and someone clicked on the search result to your website. They probably looked around but did not take action like subscribing to your newsletter or signing up for a free trial. It’s also possible that they abandoned their cart.
You can create retargeting ads to prompt these potential customers to come back and take action.
Remove Poor Performance Keywords
Although you may have done extensive keyword research, some don’t add value to your SEO. It’s challenging to find out which keywords in your blog posts are not performing.
Running PPC ads using the exact keywords in your content can help you identify low-performance keywords and eliminate them.
Target Competitor’s Keywords
The PPC Auctions Insights Report allows you to compare your performance with that of your competitors. Use this report to see the campaigns, ad groups, and keywords they are using.
After identifying the keywords, test them with PPC ads, then use the Search Query Reports to refine them and see which ones are converting.
Use the highest performing keywords and those that assist in conversions to create relevant and valuable content.
Improve Metadata by Analyzing PPC Ads
Determine which copy generates more clicks and conversions by analyzing the highest-performing ad copy.
You can then incorporate the ad copy into meta titles and descriptions in your content to increase CTR, site traffic, and conversions.
Integrating PPC and SEO Campaigns Creates a Holistic Marketing Strategy
Depending on your business and marketing goals, you might want to use either PPC or SEO. Each campaign has its benefits and downsides.
However, an integration of the two types results in a holistic strategy. It may not be ideal for every business, but integrating and sharing data will help improve marketing results compared to implementing PPC and SEO separately.
About the author
Ryan Conway is the founder of Digital Tradesman, a digital marketing agency which helps builders, contractors, and tradesmen grow their business online. He has five years of experience in marketing, web design and search engine optimization.