Are we talking about “how to find SEO opportunities within your PPC campaigns” or “how to find PPC opportunities within your SEO campaigns”?
Most people will advise one or the other. Should you invest in PPC or SEO?
When we look at the 2018 data for our e-commerce clients, paid search advertising generated nearly 26% of all traffic. But organic traffic accounts for more than 43% of traffic. And those numbers continue to climb with an increase of 38% compared to 2017.
Is one better than the other?
If you invest all your time and money in PPC, you risk having a severely underdeveloped organic presence. Which means you might be paying for your customers for years to come.
If you dive 100% into SEO, it’s going to be a while before you generate returns.
If you do it right, they can actually improve the results you see in both. There’s no reason to choose one or the other. Even a few hundred euros invested in both channels can pay off.
1. Why you should be running PPC campaigns
PPC advertising can open up all kinds of opportunities to drive the sales of your products and services. Paid search ads show up first on search engine results pages (SERPs).
Here’s an example:
There’s not a single organic listing in these results!
You need to scroll down to find organic results. PPC advertisements give you control over the messaging. You can launch a new PPC campaign within hours. Afterwards, traffic immediately starts coming your way.
You can launch a new SEO strategy within hours, too. However, it might take a few months before you start seeing any traffic drain into your site. Ads also help you get new ideas about what people are searching for. Use these terms to include them in your content strategy.
2. Why you should also be running SEO campaigns
Organic search makes up 52% of all online revenue for the top channels.
Paid search, on the other hand, only makes up 14.2% on average.
Organic search traffic is separated into two parts with branded and non-branded keywords. A branded keyword is a query that includes your website’s brand name or variations of it and is unique to your domain. Keywords that don’t reference a brand name or any part of it are considered non-branded keywords.
So organic search takes the cake when it comes to driving clicks, traffic and revenue in the long term; it’s the best source of revenue. Now compare that to the organic listings.
PPC ads might show up first on a page. But organic search claims the majority of clicks.
If you rank in the first three organic positions, you’re looking at significantly higher CTR than the positions from 4 to 10:
Now, if we compare the number of clicks versus the number of impressions between organic and paid traffic from Google search ads, you can see a major difference.
Let’s take an example from one of our clients, i.e. the keyword “new balance”. This keyword is a well-known brand of running shoes and sneakers. Below are the metrics for April 2019 for Google search ads and for Google organic results.
This keyword gets a good position. But the CTR is not so great, right?
Why are we getting a difference in CTR?
It’s because clicks are mainly driven by the Google paid search ads. So, mainly companies are advertising on this keyword on Google search ads in the top 3 positions. They are getting the majority of clicks and the highest CTR as well.
We have 3 reasons that can explain the difference:
- The keyword intent can be informational, transactional, commercial, navigational or quick knowledge:
Informational CTR 36%: new balance, new balance superge, new balance 2019
Transactional CTR 41%: new balance akcija, new balance ugodno, new balance 574, new balance 247, new balance cena
Navigational CTR 33%: new balance mass
Quick Knowledge CTR 41%: new balance ljubljana, new balance slovenija
- The different behavior of the users can be heightened further by the quality of your account in Google Ads, with the relevance of your keywords, the landing page experience and the ad experience.
- Nonetheless, it also depends on the strategy you adopt (automated or manual). You will get a different CTR for the same keyword based on which strategy you want to optimize: if you are chasing clicks or chasing conversions (clicks, conversions and CTR can go up or down to reach your desired goal).
3. Move high-cost PPC keywords to SEO
Nobody enjoys paying hundreds of euros in PPC to get zero conversions or really low conversions.
Some keywords just don’t have the same purchasing intent as others.
Below is an example of a bad sign:
You’re showing up around the first position. You’re paying a bunch of money.
But you’re not seeing results where it counts.
So, use this opportunity for SEO instead of throwing away thousands of euros.
You still want that targeted keyword traffic. You can start to research organic traffic and potential keyword variations that you can use to rank for it.
For example, let’s say you’re bidding on the keyword “pečica” (oven) and you aren’t getting any conversions.
Look it up on SEMrush or any other similar tool first to check the average CPC and organic SEO strength:
Now you know that the competition is high (0.64, the max. competition index is 1).
And you’re in a bidding war with the companies that are also bidding on this term.
A bit lower, you will find “phrase match keywords”, and you will see a box of keyword suggestions with more than 2,400 different keywords, like “mikrovalovna pečica” (microwave oven), “pečica gorenje” (Gorenje oven) or “vgradna pečica” (built-in oven). You need to group similar keywords to narrow the list down a little bit and see the competition of search ads and its monthly search volume. Try to find keyword variants to rank for organically so that you can still drive traffic from keywords, because you will have less competition and they are cheaper than the main keywords (“pečica”).
4. Use PPC keywords to find a content opportunity for SEO
A close examination of the search terms used by people when they click your ads will show you their intent. In other words, it will give you an understanding of what your target audience is looking for. You can then use the information to optimize your content.
You can now browse this list of search terms for your awareness, consideration, and decision stages to better match what the searcher is looking for.
This makes targeting relevant audiences much easier because you will know what people are looking for. Gather the top-converting long-tail keywords from your paid campaign and then use them to optimize the content on your website. During this phase, you need to prepare your content strategy and produce content. You can still advertise on Google search so you don’t lose traffic, because your SEO effort will pay off in a few months as you will start seeing organic traffic on your website.
And start receiving free clicks in the long term with your unique content.
- SEO can take months or years to rank on the top search pages.
- PPC can deliver results right away. Such traffic also converts fast.
- Both PPC and SEO have their own pros and cons.
The good news is that you can do both. You can use one to help cover up the flaws of the other. It’s even true that SEO and PPC use the same strategy or goals.
When running both organic and ad campaigns simultaneously, you have more data to collect and analyze. You may discover more unexpected details about your target audience, and use that information to refine your SEO and PPC strategies accordingly.
Keep in mind that both SEO and PPC are constantly adapting to changes in the Google algorithms. That is how they help websites meet the new requirements and maintain their high positions.
So, keep an eye on the most significant changes, and don’t forget to update your SEO and PPC strategies on a regular basis.