June 5, 2013
You may be investing quite a bit of effort into your online presence, and a majority of that effort may be organic SEO. And when done the right way, this is great for your brand. But did you know that organic SEO and PPC can work together to provide even stronger results?
Search marketing is about the relationship between things -- disciplines, strategies, tactics, search engines, websites, people -- and there are many ways these relationships affect one another. When working together, these things create stronger results than if they were used alone.
So we're going to look at three ways SEO and PPC work together to create a mutually beneficial relationship for a website. We'll explore:
When clients come to Group Twenty Seven looking to explore new paid search campaigns, and they already have a fair amount of data in Google Analytics, we always explore the organic side when selecting keywords to target.
What we do is analyze all the keywords that drove conversions and sales, and start thinking about how we would group them within our AdWords campaigns (assuming you've got your e-commerce reporting set up already).
So, for example, say you have a keyword phrase that is producing conversions organically, and that term is "dog beds." And as a pet store business, you have multiple lines of dog beds.
We'd then look at creating a PPC campaign around dog beds, with ad groups such as soft dog beds, extra-large dog beds, small dog beds, brand-name dog begs, and so on.
Organic e-commerce data can also help you find potential combinations of branded keywords that you may not have thought of to add to your new pay-per-click campaign. So don't forget about those.
2. Your Organic SEO Can Benefit From Your PPC, and Vice Versa
PPC is a nice complement to your search engine optimization because you can use it to quickly determine which keywords drive traffic and conversions, and then build those keywords into your organic SEO efforts.
Building on the PPC-SEO relationship, good PPC landing pages always contain the information the keyword is promising when a user clicks on an ad. This is why your on-page optimization is important when you're running both organic SEO and PPC campaigns together.
Make sure that you optimize the landing page that you're driving users to. This includes ensuring that the page not only has relevant products and information for that keyword, but also that the Meta information and content is optimized with the keyword.
This can help your overall Quality Score in PPC, and Quality Score is an important clue to how targeted and relevant your PPC campaigns are. You may also find a boost in your organic conversions after you start weaving those conversion-focused keywords onto your pages.
For more on Quality Score and how that plays into PPC, check out this post.
3. PPC Campaigns Can Help Boost the Usability of Your Site
PPC campaigns often reveal ways to group products together in a manner that people are searching for. You can use data from PPC campaigns to look at a website with a critical eye and ask, "Which pages best fulfill the promise of this ad and this ad group?"
If no pages on your site support the products you're grouping together in your AdWords campaigns (for example, you're just landing users on your home page), create a new landing page with those products grouped together so you can send your customers to the most relevant results.
This also builds on the Quality Score idea I mentioned in the last section.
Relationship Analysis: How to Know if SEO and PPC Are Working Together
Multichannel attribution is one way to know how well all your marketing channels work together on the bottom line. The "multi-channel funnel" report in Google Analytics can be very informative.
Here's a short video on it:
To access this, go to Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels.
Here's a screenshot:
Another way you can explore whether PPC is boosting your organic SEO is to watch your organic rankings and traffic for particular keywords that you're using in PPC. If, for example, you've optimized pages of your site with PPC keywords as I talked about earlier, you should be able to tell if those keywords are driving more visibility in organic search.
In Google Analytics, look at Traffic Sources > Overview. Under "Search Traffic," click "Keyword" (by default, it should be displayed anyway).
To see which page the keyword that's driving traffic is on, you can set the secondary dimension to "landing page." From the overview section, in the bottom right of the screen, click "view full report." Then set the secondary dimension to "landing page" as shown below.
Another way to see the power of PPC and organic search together is to take a look at the search engine results pages. In a post I published on the Group Twenty Seven blog we showed an example of what the top listings in organic search can look like if you're taking advantage of all the paid and search channels that are available to you.
Here's a screenshot from that post:
Pretty impressive real estate, wouldn't you agree?
Remember, Search Marketing Is a Relationship, Even If You Don't See It
Even if hard data is not staring you right in the face, your organic search efforts and your PPC campaigns are always interconnected. Often, people tend to look at different marketing channels as separate. In reality, users follow a long path to arrive at the action you want them to take online.
One powerful example that demonstrates that marketing is holistic is the story of a client who got hit by Google's Panda algorithm update (which targets low-quality content on a site).
This client was never truly able to recover from Panda's penalty on the organic side, and we saw PPC campaigns also not performing as well around that time. Unfortunately, the client's PPC performance was never the same either.
This is just another indicator that the overall quality of a website and what it's doing in other marketing channels has a profound impact on the success of a business online.
So when you're looking at your marketing efforts online, remember: It's a relationship. Make sure you're tracking your efforts in as many ways as possible for both SEO and PPC so you can truly see this relationship in action.
Then use that data to compare and contrast how the channels are working together for a clearer picture of ROI, a stronger brand online, and a lasting relationship between your website, the search engines, and your users.
Pauline Jakober is CEO of Group Twenty Seven, a search marketing agency that specializes in optimizing pay per click advertising campaigns. Follow Pauline on Twitter here, and for more PPC tips, subscribe to Group Twenty Seven's monthly newsletter here.
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