While search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising are very different modalities, the fact is that they are (or, at least, should be considered) two sides of the same coin: Search engine marketing. Even though these two disciplines tend to drive similar goals (increasing website traffic, conversions, etc.), many marketers treat them as completely separate strategies. By separating these efforts, retailers are limiting their businesses and the potential ROI that can be gained from their search marketing efforts. By approaching SEO PPC integration through the lens of the two being intrinsically connected methodologies, eCommerce businesses can elevate the performance of each, and raise their business’s bottom lines.
Why Integrate SEO and PPC?
The truth is that data is the lifeblood of all good search marketing strategies. Without concrete data, marketers cannot obtain definitive, objective insights into which tactics are working and which are not, how to more effectively reach consumers or how to establish future goals and roadmaps to success. Without data, search engine marketing is a black box. Thankfully, Google and other search engines do supply marketers with the necessary information for making SEO and PPC more predictable and actionable. While it is true that SEO and PPC must be approached differently, it is also true that the data obtained from each process can be invaluable in enhancing the performance of the other. SEO data inform PPC strategies and vice versa. Moreover, it is not bad to have separate SEO and PPC teams, as each crew should be highly knowledgeable about and skilled in their respective disciplines. That said, data must cross the gap as frequently as possible and bridge the divide between the two teams, engendering communication and giving rise to important questions that only the other side can answer. This is the type of integrated marketing that not only enables businesses to thrive in today’s hyper-connected digital ecosystem, but that is rapidly becoming a necessity to compete with brands that have already implemented a more unified approach. Therefore, SEO PPC integration has become a prerequisite for maximizing a brand’s ROI. As readers will soon see, the combination of these strategies allows teams to more easily identify strengths and weaknesses in each campaign type and better reach predetermined goals in both search optimization efforts and paid advertising pushes. To put things explicitly, some of the main reasons for brands to integrate SEO and PPC (at least to some extent) are:
Leverage Valuable Data to the Fullest
Utilizing each possible source of data is critical to enhancing the performance of search campaigns, as there will always be unknown variables that impact outcomes. Given this fact, all marketers and advertisers must generate hypotheses on user intent as it relates to keywords, a consumer’s understanding of a product and various other relevant campaign elements. Since it is unlikely that proposed theories will be precisely accurate, data from either PPC or SEO can help the other team cultivate more informed suppositions which are more likely to be correct, thereby producing better results. Moreover, those who are running campaigns via Google Ads have access to better data than those who merely use the Keyword Planner as a research tool. Therefore, this data should be used to its fullest extent by allowing SEO teams to cross-reference the information.
Close Keyword Gaps
No matter if one is looking at the SEO or PPC side of things, there will inevitably be keywords that are missed by one team, or potentially both. However, each team can view the search terms that users enter to either find a specific page or surface an advert. On the SEO end of things, the Queries report in Search Console can help reveal keyword phrases generated a SERP impression but that are not targeted. Alternatively, Google Ads’ Search Queries report provides similar insights for advertisers. By allowing each team access to the other’s data, both units can potentially develop more targeted efforts by employing the terms that users are actually searching, but the brand has been historically missing. Moreover, sites that possess search functions also have valuable keyword data that PPC advertisers could utilize. Similarly, tools like Keyword Gap from SEMrush enable users to compare competitor keyword profiles for up to five rivals and three types of keywords (organic, paid, or PLA).
Those that do not have SEO PPC integration will end up missing out on keyword opportunities by siloing off information to their respective teams.
Improve the Customer Experience
As Google continually aims to produce a better customer experience through implementations such as the mobile-first index or its recent BERT algorithm update, retailers must keep pace with the search giant if they wish to continue ranking well. Given that UX is vital to SEO, and that SEO can help feed PPC campaigns valuable knowledge on how customers are seeking out products, it stands to reason that sharing SEO and PPC data can shed light on what will hook potential customers, thereby creating better campaigns and better experiences.
Conquer the Competition
The competition has always been fierce, but Google’s constant changes make things even more challenging for PPC and SEO teams. As most are aware, this is an industry where staying one step ahead of the competition is vital. With only so much real estate available in the SERPs, merchants need all the help possible to snag a spot. Moreover, even with a cavalcade of data at one’s disposal, reaching Google’s zenith is no simple task. However, by leveraging the data obtained from SEO and PPC efforts within each team, it is more likely that a brand will rank higher in paid and organic search results.
How to Make PPC and SEO Work Together
While the benefits of SEO PPC integration are clear, the practical application of the effort still requires some clarification. Here are some of the best ways to leverage the data obtained from both paid and organic search for success:
Use PPC Keyword Data for SEO
Digital marketers have been using Google Ads’ Keyword Planner data for years as their must-have research tool. However, the last several years have seen Google limit Keyword Planner data for those who are not active advertisers. This change was unwelcome news for SEOs who had been using the tool to power their keyword research efforts and to build effective content marketing strategies. With Google Keyword Planner suddenly off the table, some marketers were forced to seek out alternative keyword research tools. However, those that do actively advertise through Google still have access to tons of valuable keyword data to inform PPC efforts. Most importantly, PPC teams can see which keywords convert searchers to customers. By sharing this critical information with SEO teams, companies can amplify efforts targeting user intent by optimizing product, landing and other vital pages for terms that drive sales and meet user’s needs. Moreover, the keyword data supplied by PPC teams can be utilized to create content that targets prospects at different points in the buyer’s journey, thereby helping to elevate a brand in the SERPs.
Use SEO Data to Reduce PPC Expenditures
On the flip side of the equation, SEO teams also possess data that can be extremely useful for paid search campaigns. The fact is that PPC advertising is sometimes an expensive endeavor. Thankfully, Google Ads industry benchmarks show that the average eCommerce cost-per-click in search is $1.16. However, some terms are far more costly. Moreover, industries such as legal services reach an average of $6.75 per click.
Yet, no matter which industry we look at, getting the most bang for one’s buck is crucial. By handing SEO data to PPC teams, this goal can be realized in a variety of ways, including:
- Pausing Expensive Keywords: For those with a tight budget, it might be a good idea to focus on ranking organically for the more expensive keywords. SEO and PPC teams can coordinate to figure out which keywords should be paused and handed over to the SEO side of operations to target those words through optimization. In fact, this is likely to prove quite valuable as winning more expensive terms with SEO will not only help save a PPC team’s budget, but it will drive extremely valuable traffic for much longer than any paid campaign could.
- Identifying High-Performing Long-Tail Terms: Sellers can also use SEO data to identify any high-performing long-tail keywords and employ them within PPC efforts to enhance performance and reduce costs. Long-tail keywords tend to be more affordable than generic keywords, so this will naturally lower one’s advertising budget.
- Better Geotargeting: An SEO team might notice that a significant amount of organic search traffic is coming from a specific geographic location. Sharing this knowledge with the PPC team allows them to adjust bids to more effectively target this audience.
- Enhanced Overall Sales: SEO and PPC teams can also collaborate to boost sales potential, as well. If retailers have a product that is ranking well organically, PPC ads offering discounts can be deployed to appear alongside organic search listings, thereby increasing visibility in the SERPs and boosting overall traffic.
- Improved Quality Score: A campaign’s quality score impacts the cost-per-click of keywords and the position of ads in search rankings. Since SEOs are in control of landing page optimization for organic search, they can help PPC efforts by optimizing for quality scores as well by aiming for complete congruence between the ad and the destination, as well as the terms utilized for each.
Establish Where and How to Use Various Keywords
Determining which teams target which keywords is vital for enhancing both PPC performance and SEO outcomes. When both teams have access to a shared pool of data, the feasibility of meeting loftier search marketing goals becomes a real possibility. For instance, by analyzing the totality of keywords a business is targeting through PPC and SEO, teams can pinpoint the areas of overlap where specific terms are winning in both the SEO and PPC arenas. Similarly, teams can uncover which keywords are the most difficult for their respective units, thereby allowing them to see if the other side could better support those terms. Possessing this information enables businesses to make the wisest possible decisions in terms of how an ad budget is spent and how SEO teams optimize on-page content. By identifying these keywords, the teams can work in concert to establish which queries both channels should focus on versus those that only one of the groups should address. For example, by analyzing the individual and combined click-through rates for phrases that both SEO and PPC and ranking on the first page for, the teams can determine if it is worth spending the money advertising for that specific search, or if it is best left to earn clicks organically.
Craft Ads that Match Content
PPC professionals work hard to craft ads that capture the attention of consumers and generate clicks. But what happens after the click? Will they convert or bounce? Of course, to maximize the effectiveness of PPC ads, it is necessary to ensure that traffic converts in the post-click experience. However, a common problem is that PPC teams create ads and have nothing to do with the post-click encounter. This disagreement is the result of the separation of the two groups. By allowing SEO and PPC to work closely together, SEO teams can create landing pages that convert visitors into buyers, while the PPC crew crafts ad copy that closely matches the headlines of landing pages or the site’s content, thereby enticing the visitor to act. Moreover, tightly tying the landing page and ad copy together will help to improve quality scores. An excellent tactic for accomplishing this is allowing the PPC team to leverage engaging title tags and meta descriptions developed by the SEO team as ad copy. These assets likely already include some potential keywords and help to ensure a close match between ads and their destinations.
Using PPC for Content Marketing
Content is incredibly valuable for SEO purposes. However, it can also play a considerable role in nudging the consumer along the sales funnel. While the goal of PPC is often to earn traffic and increase sales rapidly, those who are creating content to meet long-term goals can significantly benefit from PPC integration. Instead of using PPC for its usual function, advertisers can deploy ads to promote content and build brand awareness. After all, the Google Ads data that advertisers have access to shows which products are most popular, which demographics are most interested, which keywords convert best and other powerful insights. With this knowledge, SEOs can build content that will be substantially more impactful than content created without such information. Then, PPC teams can help to push the content up the SERPs by driving paid traffic from Facebook or Google to support a faster ramp-up for premier rankings. Even if users aren’t clicking these ads, they are still becoming increasingly familiar with the brand, thereby breeding higher levels of trust as the company becomes more recognizable.
A Retargeting Strategy for SEO Traffic
Plainly put, topping the SERPs is incredibly challenging. Making matters worse, most first-time visitors won’t convert. In fact, 92 percent of first-time visitors aren’t even there to buy. Talk about a gut punch. That said, this sobering fact is precisely why having a retargeting strategy in place is so critical. After roping in a visitor with a supreme SEO program that earned ideal visibility, it’s time to let PPC do the work by creating an effective retargeting campaign that will get them to follow through with the desired action. However, to achieve optimal results, SEO and PPC need to communicate. Again, PPC has data on popular products, demographics, keywords and targeted information. SEO ensures product pages are built to increase conversions. By facilitating a synergistic atmosphere among the teams, the two will be far more likely to create a unique retargeting campaign that will gently nudge prospects through the buying process and convert them into paying customers. Google is quite possibly the most competitive place on the internet. Therefore, SEO PPC integration has evolved into a must for becoming a top contender. Additionally, as Google continues to update its algorithms and implement seismic changes to both paid and organic search, the best way to weather the frequent storms and thrive under the new paradigm is to ensure that PPC and SEO teams are in close, constant communication. After all, communication failures are often the root cause of all sorts of breakdowns. When SEO and PPC combine their powers, better results can be achieved across the board.
If your brand needs help in achieving the victories that can be won as a result of SEO PPC integration, reach out to Wpromote for a free consultation, and we can discuss how to use each discipline to dominate the SERPs.