While they often have the same goals, search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) are two very different digital marketing strategies.
Most of the companies manage them as two entirely separate ways to drive traffic, leads, and conversions. They often consider SEO and PPC as alternatives to each other.
Is it possible to use them as a combined strategy to grow your business? How are SEO and PPC connected to each other? Most importantly, how can you use the best of both worlds to produce optimum results for your business?
This blog post is going to answer all of these questions and highlight actionable ways to make them work together.
Before that, let’s quickly define SEO and PPC to give some context to this discussion!
What is SEO?
You probably know a thing or two about SEO. If not, here is a simple definition:
SEO is the process of ranking a piece of content or website higher on Google and other search engines. It’s a long-term strategy to attract quality traffic to your website in an organic way.
Unlike PPC, SEO requires a lot of time and strategic effort. It represents a combination of several tactics, but creating great content (and optimizing it) is probably the most crucial part of your SEO marketing strategy.
What is PPC?
PPC marketing enables you to publish an ad and pay the publisher a small amount of money every time someone clicks on your ads. In simple words, you buy clicks.
You can use PPC to display your ads on Google, social media, and other platforms. It’s a quick way to attract targeted traffic to your website and achieve your business goals. PPC can give instant results, but the leads stop flowing in as soon as you turn off the campaign.
In contrast, SEO can bring in traffic months and even years after you stop actively applying it.
Is SEO or PPC better for your business?
Wondering which one is better for your business? They both come with a set of pros and cons.
It’s difficult to decide where your marketing dollars should go, especially when you’ve plenty of channels to market your business online.
If your goal is to beat the noise and stay at the top of your online marketing game, you should be using both. That way you end up with a mix of both long-term (SEO) and short-term (PPC) marketing strategies.
Now, the question is how we can integrate SEO and PPC to produce better results on an ongoing basis. Apparently, PPC ads don’t affect your SEO or site’s ranking, and vice versa. However, there are certain ways to make them work together.
7 actionable ways SEO and PPC work together to benefit your business
1. Sharing data about keywords
Let’s assume that you have dedicated professionals or teams to manage SEO and PPC. Or, you run SEO and PPC marketing efforts separately. There’s always an opportunity for both departments to share keyword-related intelligence with each other.
Need an example?
Let’s say you want to target a keyword but are not sure if it will produce significant results. PPC is a good platform to test the viability of such keywords.
Just pick up a keyword you want to test and then purchase PPC ads for it. Run the campaign and keep track of the results.
If your PPC campaign fails to generate results, consider NOT using that keyword as a part of your SEO strategy. If it does perform well, consider optimizing your campaigns and your site for that keyword.
Make changes to your search marketing efforts to ensure you’re targeting the keywords that actually boost your conversion rate.
2. PPC experts should consult with SEO experts about URLs
Creating simple, compelling, and accurate URLs is a factor of on-site SEO. When your PPC team creates a new landing page or implements tracking URLs for a page, it can impact your SEO.
For example, creating duplicate pages for tracking purposes could lead to a decrease in organic rankings. Creating new pages without consulting your SEO experts can also create some issues.
So, when designing your PPC campaigns, be sure to take into account the importance of URLs for SEO.
3. PPC team should inform SEO team about increased bids
Paid ads may influence your organic results. Many businesses report an increase or decrease after spending a lot with Google. According to Rand Fishkin, paid ads don’t impact organic ranking directly. But there’s an indirect connection between the two.
Imagine your audience can see both your ad and organic result in the SERP. Will they click organic results or ads? If most of your prospects and customers are clicking on your ads, you’ll observe a decrease in organic traffic.
In case searchers are familiar with your brand, they would prefer to engage with your organic content. As a result, you’ll witness an increase in organic traffic. Therefore, when you increase bids, report this to your SEO team so they have a better understanding of the fluctuations in organic traffic.
This is how paid and organic traffic can impact each other.
4. Control negative opinions
Talking about online reputation, not all of your customers are going to be fully satisfied with your products or services. While negative feedback can seriously damage your brand reputation, the right combination of SEO and PPC will help you control the damage.
Feel like you don’t have any control over how people talk about your business?
It is not a must-have, but you should try an SEO and PPC combo to uplevel your visibility and ability to track and guide conversations. You can use them together to redirect traffic to sources where your customers can hear great company stories.
Need an example? Let’s say your brand name is XYZ. When someone searches the term “XYZ complaints” or “XYZ negative reviews”, you can bid on these keywords and land the searchers on a page that displays more positive reviews. Use this at your own risk though.
5. Avoid paid keywords misunderstanding
Searcher intent is an overlooked ranking factor most businesses don’t optimize for. Don’t be one of them. Your content must be aligned with search intent.
Modern-day marketers are usually good at answering the question: “why did the person make this search?” However, certain keywords can have delicate differences and, thus, lead to a keyword trap.
Didn’t get it? Let’s say you’re a web development agency. What will happen if you go for broad keywords like “web development agency” when designing your PPC campaign?
You might be able to get some traffic but the potential for bleeding is likely. You will get visitors that are not interested in your services or just aren’t ready to buy.
It would be a good idea to target keywords like “web development services for Edmonton restaurants”. In short, your content should help searchers accomplish their intended task.
This only happens when you strike a collaboration between your search engine marketing and search engine optimization. SEO insights will help you understand user intent and build well-targeted PPC ads.
6. PPC team should share information about best-performing headings and descriptions
It might take your SEO team months to experiment with new keywords and see measurable results. After all, SEO results don’t happen overnight.
Let’s say you rank on page one for a keyword after a months-long effort only to find out that the engagement and click-through rate for that keyword are pretty disappointing? It is not a good sight to see your efforts going down the drain.
PPC campaigns let you test keywords and other elements such as headings and title tags quickly. Your SEO team doesn’t have to wait for months to find out the real value of those elements.
Therefore, encourage your PPC team to share information about top-performing content. It will help your SEO team save plenty of time and energy down the road.
7. Optimizing landing pages both for SEO and PPC
Landing pages are an essential component of your PPC ads and organic marketing. They enable you to test and improve your content experiences. After all, you don’t want to waste your budget on ineffective campaigns.
Regardless of your conversion goals, be sure to optimize your landing pages. If you build a landing page for a PPC ad, engage your SEO team to create landing page variants and split test them.
Your SEO team can create long-form, educational landing pages on similar topics. Here is what happens when your PPC and SEO landing pages work together.
Let’s say one of your prospects searches for your product or service, clicks on your PPC ad and then spends a few minutes on your landing page before leaving. They haven’t bought anything yet.
After a few days, the very prospect searches for guides to choose a perfect solution and comes across your educational landing page.
Now, they’re getting used to your brand and messaging. And we know brand repetition is powerful. After all, customers and clients won’t buy from you if they don’t trust your brand. Repetition is one way to build that trust.
What are you waiting for?
So, what are you waiting for? Let your SEO and PPC teams work together to dramatically improve each other’s performance. By doing so, you’ll be able to unlock a whole new world of search marketing opportunities.
Start developing a holistic approach to search marketing. Connect with your audience exactly when they’re looking for your products or services.
Marvin Flores is the Global Account Manager at product feed marketing platform DataFeedWatch. The platform offers everything you need to be successful on Shopping Channels and Marketplaces.