Merging pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and search engine optimization (SEO) can lead to pure performance marketing magic. However, Google tends to keep this tidbit of knowledge under wraps. That’s why even seasoned marketers think there’s no real connection between linking SEO initiatives and a PPC strategy. Fortunately, as the founder and president of a successful digital marketing firm, I know that research has proven otherwise.
Through my many years as an entrepreneur and digital marketer, I discovered that if you prove through your paid efforts that you’re providing value, you’re better positioned to rank for SEO. For example, I’ve built small audiences around long-tail keywords as part of a data-driven mindset. As a result, Google gave ranking credit for shorter, high-volume short-tail keywords within those long-tail keywords.
This tie between PPC and SEO makes logical sense if you think about it. Case in point: Company A sets up a new site. Although the site has tons of keywords and great content, it takes years to rank organically. The way to move the needle on those rankings is to start an aggressive but regimented Google Ads campaign. The ad campaign increases the site’s perceived digital value by providing traffic to the site (aka data to Google) that shows Google your site is worthy of traffic, provided you have a properly built converting campaign. As a result, the rankings for specific keywords get higher and higher for SEO.
You won’t hear about the SEO-PPC correlation from Google. But you will hear about it from marketers like me who have seen PPC and SEO work together in real-world situations.
The issue is that you can’t just toss out some PPC ads and expect everything to fall into place. You have to follow the proper steps, starting with PPC performance.
How to Improve PPC Performance to Ultimately Improve SEO
Because PPC is the pivotal element in the SEO-PPC equation, you need to master your PPC campaigns before beginning to see any uptick in SEO. Further, mastery starts with establishing your keyword goals.
Keywords are crucial in both PPC and SEO. They’re a bit mysterious, too. You can’t tell precisely how much traffic you can hope to get by doing keyword research alone. That means you have to test and test again. In my experience, running a smaller PPC campaign to see what kind of traffic and audience exists is the best method for success. The answers inform which long-tail or short-tail keywords make sense to include in your PPC and SEO plans.
Remember: Picking the right keywords bumps up your online authority and promotes business growth. So using your PPC as a testing ground to determine audience size will help you keep your eventual cost-per-click amount in check.
Once you have some keywords, you can create SEO-rich landing pages and capture their conversion rates. Landing page conversion rates are essential. You want more than just a reasonable click-through rate; a good landing page conversion rate is necessary as well. These rates ultimately increase your Quality Score and can even earn you a Google PPC discount.
The next step in improving PPC performance involves knowing your customer acquisition cost. Ideally, your PPC campaign should cover the cost that it takes to get your initial customer engagement. It might take a few months for everything to balance out. During that waiting, watching, and testing period, retargeting might help lower the CAC. For example, if you haven’t set up your metrics properly, you might be missing out on hidden revenue. Implementing laser-focused retargeting can help uncover these bonuses and keep your campaign running smoothly.
During the testing period, you can also spend energy and resources by doubling down on your SEO. Just keep in mind that this is all a long game. If you can shift from seeing everything as a one-time sale to recognizing that customer lifetime value is more critical, it becomes easier to make data-driven choices.
How to Bring PPC and SEO Into Focus and Alignment
Is it complicated to align PPC and SEO? Yes and no. The more you explore your possibilities, the less complex things appear. When embarking on your next SEO-PPC campaign, there are many facets to consider.
First, you should embrace Google AI sooner rather than later. There’s a huge industry misconception that Google AI involves turning over your marketing keys to Google. That’s not the case. I know because I was a beta tester of the program. I have been using Google AI since 2016 when my business’s CMO was asked to participate in the Google Council.
Like any other tool, Google AI is individualized to the user because it’s based on the training set and data. No one is going to feed Google AI the way you’re going to feed your Google AI. Consequently, you need to set it up in a way that gives you a competitive edge. This is why it’s wise to have someone on your team who’s comfortable with learning and leveraging Google AI.
The only way you can scale is through the use of data augmented by AI. Most people are still relying on manual bidding and are missing huge discounts and incentives as a result. You can’t afford to take your organization down that road because of a misconception about how AI works with PPC and SEO.
Why Foundation and Framework Are Essential for PPC
When considering the keywords you want to use for your SEO-driven copy, build on your PPC findings. If you start to gain traction for long-tail keywords, you’ll get two benefits. The first is a micro audience. The second is Google’s attention and credit toward shorter, potentially competitive keywords.
Too often, marketers never connect their SEO and PPC keywords. You need to see them as players on the same team. After all, that’s how Google sees the organic and paid content you’re publishing. This doesn’t mean your pages will suddenly shoot to the top of the ranks. But it does mean that taking a holistic approach makes sense.
Now Is the Time to Take the First Step
Integrating all your SEO with your PPC requires an investment, especially if you have many e-commerce pages, product descriptions, and other affiliated links. However, it’s worth the time to rethink your performance marketing methodologies, particularly when you aren’t pleased with the current outcome.
Do you have to dabble to work the PPC-SEO connection? Absolutely. And there’s no time like the present to get started.