How PPC and SEO Can (and Should) Work Together
- Posted by Nick Gallagher
- On May 22, 2019
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and search engine optimization (SEO) are both essential to any effective digital marketing campaign. Yet these disciplines are too often siloed among marketing teams, completely separated from one another.
This is a big mistake too many digital marketers make. PPC and SEO are most effective when they work together. At Screen Pilot, we provide our clients with holistic digital marketing strategies that blend SEO and PPC data to get the highest return possible.
Four Ways SEO and PPC Work Together
SEO Using PPC Data
One of the biggest advantages PPC data has over SEO data is conversion data at a keyword level. In SEO, there is no report to see which organic keywords produced conversions on your website. If we optimize a page for a keyword and then see increases in both the organic ranking of a keyword and the organic conversions from that page, we can infer that at least some of those conversions can be attributed to that keyword. That’s about as exact as we can get right now.
Google Ads, though, allows us to analyze conversion data at the keyword level. While it’s not organic data, paid conversion data can inform organic strategies.
Take this example: your SEO team does its own keyword research. They find “keyword X” and “keyword Y,” but ultimately determine “keyword X” to be the best organic target for a page. It has 18,000 average monthly searches (twice that of “keyword Y”) and is highly relevant to the target page. They then make optimizations to the target page for “keyword X.” Many SEO teams stop here. But that’s only part of the picture.
After three months, the SEO team’s optimization has “keyword X” consistently ranking on the first results page, but the page isn’t converting any better than before the optimizations. That’s when the SEO team should also analyze PPC keyword data. If the team finds that “keyword X” is also not converting on the paid side, but “keyword Y” is converting at a much higher rate, the SEO team can optimize the page for “keyword Y” instead. This optimization might sacrifice some traffic, but it’s also likely to generate more conversions for what will be a better return.
PPC Using SEO Data
One of the best ways a PPC team can use SEO data is to reduce costs. If the budget becomes tight, the PPC team can use SEO data to identify high cost-per-click (CPC) keywords where the site’s organic performance is already strong. The PPC team can then test removing those terms from the paid account.
When testing the removal of expensive keywords, be sure to closely monitor campaign performance. It’s important to ensure that the revenue gained through those keywords doesn’t outweigh the amount saved in CPC.
Utilizing PPC and SEO to Dominate SERPs
For example, PPC and SEO teams can combine efforts to dominate the search engine results page (SERP) real estate. A keyword may be performing well in one channel or another, but that doesn’t mean you should only focus on that channel. For example, your site’s organic ranking for a high-converting PPC keyword may land on the second SERP. The best strategy might be to make organic optimizations to the landing page to try to move that ranking onto the first SERP.
If this strategy works, your site could end up with both the first ad position and a number one organic ranking. This shows users your site is an authority on the keyword. If your site is also included in an additional SERP feature for that keyword, like a featured snippet, you’ll have taken up as much real estate on that SERP as possible. This a good strategy for both branded and unbranded keywords.
Optimizing Landing Pages
Another great way for PPC and SEO to work together is if a PPC landing page quality score is low. SEO optimizations to the landing page for keywords in the PPC plan can increase quality score and likewise increase PPC performance.
Conversely, as a PPC team tests different ad copy it can send the best-performing, highest-converting ad copy to the SEO team to add to pages on the site. This can not only improve organic rankings, but also the overall user experience on your site. The SEO can also test using that ad copy as the meta description for the page to see if increases organic click-through rates.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to PPC and SEO working together. As more technology and data becomes available to digital marketers, the possibilities will only continue to grow.
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