Your business is looking to grow. Your target audience is online searching for a company like yours. How do you make sure they find you? Some say organic search is the key. Others argue paid search gets quicker results. We think you need both.
In this guide, we’ll focus on the fruitful relationship between PPC and SEO, and how the latter can help you get the most out of the organic search work you’re already doing. We’ll start by separating the two, before showing exactly how you can get them working hand in hand for maximum reward.
PPC and SEO have always gone hand in hand in conversation, just not so much in practice. For many, they’re alternatives to one another; they represent a decision that needs making before investment is made. For others, they might as well be the same thing.
Before we start bringing the two closer together, let’s draw a line between them and briefly remind ourselves of the differences. After all, it’s these differences that allow them to work so well together.
SEO – or ‘organic search’, is the process of drawing more traffic to a website by using a range of techniques and methodologies to improve or maintain its position in search engine results pages (SERPs).
Both can be hugely powerful, and both have their benefits. PPC can yield positive results almost instantly with little time or monetary investment, while the rewards of an effective SEO campaign take longer to show but can be much bigger and more permanent in nature.
Digital marketing is all about insight; the more you know, the more you can achieve. Often, a single piece of information can be equally useful to specialists across different teams. We also find that the data generated by work in one campaign can go on the benefit efforts in another, and that’s usually the case with PPC and SEO. So the data you need to drive your SEO efforts; where does it come from? Well, some of it can be provided by your PPC campaign, if you’re running one.
Testing is a big part of paid search. In order to get results, campaign managers are constantly trying different approaches; trialing various keywords and search terms so they know what works and what doesn’t.
The short-term A/B testing of adverts is often the best way for a PPC expert to determine what will be worth spending on in the long term, but can also allow for more informed SEO decisions. Say, for example, you carry out split testing for the term ‘catering company’. One of the headlines is ‘Award-winning catering company based in London’ and the other is ‘Catering company in London – request a free quote now’. Once you can see which one generates the better click-through rate (CTR), you have a better idea of which title tags are likely to draw more organic visits – either the former, with its trust signal, or the latter, which uses a strong call to action (CTA). It takes considerably longer to generate data like this through SEO alone.
We’re all restricted by budgets, and while PPC can be an impressively cost-effective way to get results, there will be times when the keywords and search terms that prove most effective in testing are not quite financially feasible in the long run.
If you’re only relying on paid search to get you seen, this is likely the point where you’d breathe a sigh and move on to look for something more attainable, but when your PPC is running alongside an organic campaign – as it should be – you have an opportunity.
If a particular term is effective but expensive, try targeting it using more natural techniques. ‘Catering company in London’ may be out of reach on Google AdWords, but that doesn’t stop you using it to inspire SEO-driven content to improve your search rankings. Sure, PPC is quick, but you’ll find that being at the top of the listings in your own right will garner more trust from your audience.
Whatever you’re selling, gaining visibility will likely be one of your marketing objectives; building your customer-base is quite literally impossible if you’re not being seen by new people. SEO is one obvious way to achieve this, and PPC is another; so if you’re doing either already, you’re on the right track. Combine the two, however, and you’ll find your visibility reaches new levels.
Time for some crowd participation. Assuming you’re reading this on some kind of internet-enabled device, go to Google and type in ‘laptop’. It’s a broad term, yes, but it illustrates the point perfectly: on a desktop screen around the top two-thirds of the visible page (without scrolling) are taken up by paid listings.
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