Too often SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) & PPC (Pay Per Click) channels operate independently. When the channels work closer together it can increase views of your company’s site. Let’s start by defining the two channels:

SEO – This revolves around optimising a website organically to appear for your chosen keywords you are targeting. This source of this traffic usually has a high conversion rate as consumers trust the content on the search results page.

Traffic is free but it is important to remember that SEO is a long term channel and can sometimes take approximately 3 months for new content to perform. It is therefore important not to view SEO as a quick win but see the longevity of how this will boost your brand organically.

PPC – As the name reads, you pay for each click. For some smaller businesses this may seem a bad thing that you are clicking for each visit you get, but the advantage is that you appear immediately to customers searching for your company.

The combination and collaboration of the two channels for greater chance of click conversions can be achieved by the following methods.

Adwords Paid & Organic Report

This report can be great for answering questions such as:

‘Why should I bid on brand when SEO can take the traffic?’

‘What keywords do I rank well for organically and convert well?’

Businesses should not be paying for search terms that they rank number 1 organically for. Finance departments can call this ‘wasted spend’. 

This report is a great way of seeing a holistic view of the two channels and how they rank for search queries. It can provide insights on which terms are best left to either SEO or PPC, depending on rank, competition and performance.

To gain access to this report, you will first need to link your adwords account to your search console (webmaster tools) account.

Once done this, you can go into the report by navigating to  – Reports > Predefined Reports > Basic > Paid & Organic, as shown below.

You can filter the search queries by ‘result’ type which will show you when and if both channels are serving for the same keywords.

There are few things to consider when looking through this report.

  • ‘Both Shown’ If SEO seems to rank well for this term you need to look into how many PPC ads are above it. If the ads take the SEO listing below the fold (screen before scroll), it is still good for a PPC ad to be shown.
  • If only your PPC ad is showing for a search term look at it’s performance; if you are seeing strong CTR (click through rate), sales & competition isn’t too high, this search term could be covered by SEO and therefore replace the need for the PPC ad?
  • If your search results are only organic and performance isn’t strong, you could be being bumped out of the fold by multiple PPC ads for that search term.

Budget

If you have a set budget which is relatively small you can utilise SEO to help you gain visits by going after the longer tailed keywords focusing more on the content of your website. For the search term whilst your SEO is gaining traction, look at terms that drive a good amount of sales or leads, and support these in PPC to enable you to compete within the ad space until your SEO gains ‘pace’.

Attribution

Assisted journeys are getting more important by taking into account how all channels, SEO, PPC, affiliate etc take in gaining your websites sales. 

You can see from the above customer journeys that consumers use these two channels alot to get to their end goal. Look at reporting on different attribution models and compare the revenue – this could help you increase your budget for PPC.

Ad copy

Sometimes a business’s SEO titles & meta are ignored by Google and Google will ‘crawl’ your website and select what they believe are the key pages to show. 

With PPC, you have much more control. Both your PPC and SEO listings should be treated as if they are your homepage or shop window. Within PPC, use your extension as a way of showcasing your top offers, top products and key USPs that your brand is known for.

You should also treat your SEO listing the same as you would your PPC ad copy. Make sure your SEO titles & descriptions are as optimised as they can be. If you need some help, look at the performance of the PPC ad copy – this can help determine what ads are gaining a strong CTR. These changes can determine how many visits you receive. CTR is just one of the factors Google uses to rank your pages and ensure that they are relevant to the user’s search. 

Within Adwords, look into your quality score for your keywords. For search terms and copy that has a high quality score and good landing page relevance, these can then be good terms to crossover into SEO and google is informing you that the users search is relevant to your ad and the user experience is strong.

Rankings & Keywords

As previously mentioned, check your SEO rankings and ensure that your search terms rank 1st, & aren’t being pushed down the SERPS due to PPC ads. If your SEO search terms are not ranking 1st PPC can be used simultaneously to gain visits ensuring that your brand is visible within the top results.

If for certain keywords your are 1st organically for them and you are a retailer, think about how you can showcase these terms within shopping ads. That way, you are not cannibalising the SEO ranks but instead allowing for your brand to take up more of the space within the search results by showing up for both SEO (free) and shopping.

When you begin to have some data from campaigns whereby you have had a jointed strategy for PPC and SEO, begin to look at what have been the top performing the keywords for your KPI’s (sales, leads, visits etc) and think how these keywords into your SEO content and embedding these search terms into your website. This will then enable you to improve your rankings organically, whilst still having strong visibility via paid.

Competitiveness can play a key role in how to plan keywords. For search terms that are competitive and provide the company with good traffic, keep using these terms in PPC ads. For middle/lower competition search terms, consider adding these terms to pages & content, as improving visibility on these terms (as opposed to higher competitive terms) will be easier. Only go after those keywords that are attainable.

Branded Keywords & Campaigns

If a PPC account is bidding on the brand term via exact match have a look to see if this needs to be on all the time; look into when you are seeing your best performance and optimise towards these. For all other days, allow SEO to take the branded traffic and save your money or divert into other campaigns. 

Monitoring performance when the brand is on and off it will be evident that the traffic isn’t lost for the account, it is captured by SEO rather than PPC. By alternating between the two channels you can make your spend go further.

Incrementality

Finance teams may enquire which channels are driving incremental growth to the business. 

To demonstrate the importance of the PPC account and to show its incrementality, turn it off. This may sound drastic but have faith in the data & if you can afford to have PPC off for a length of time to provide sufficient data. Run analysis on other channels & if they manage to pick up the traffic & sales that would have been captured by PPC – make sure to take out any anaomle dates such as pay days & promotional periods as these can make the data unreliable.

If your data shows that SEO doesn’t take all of the revenue & traffic whilst PPC is off then this is a great way to feed back of the benefits of having PPC on and that it captures additional visits and customers.

Summary

When creating a campaign ensure the SEO & PPC channels are working simultaneously and compliment each other. Both channels are visible on the same SERPs so the channels should not be ignorant to each other’s strategies potentially wasting the companies money or under performing.

Claire Henley

PPC Executive

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