For many years the SEO versus PPC debate was the hottest topic in digital marketing. Unfortunately, it was also one of the most pointless because it suggested you had to choose one or the other.
These days, it’s pretty well accepted that SEO and PPC management services work best when they work together. As the way search engines and users interact continues to evolve, the only way to maximise reach and ROI is by combining organic search and paid advertising.
The truth is SEO and PPC have never been a like-for-like swap. Choosing one over the other doesn’t make much sense because they actually fill two very different roles. This is because organic listings and paid results attract a different kind of user intent.
Consider this statistic from WordStream research: “64.6% of people click on Google Ads when they are looking to buy an item online.”
This is important because it highlights the different roles of SEO and PPC. While organic clicks still generate the majority of traffic (47%), the clicks PPC ads generate (6%) are from people actively looking to buy.
We’re talking about two different types of lead here – and you absolutely want both from your search marketing efforts.
Most of your PPC efforts will focus on targeting people who are close to making the final purchase. These are often consumers who know what product or service they want; they just haven’t decided where to buy it yet.
You want as many of these high quality leads as possible, of course. They’re the most likely to convert and generally take less convincing than people who are at an earlier stage of the buying process.
With targeted PPC campaigns, you should be getting high conversion rates and ROIs from this type of lead. They’re precisely what PPC is designed for.
SEO can be good for high intent consumers too – especially when it comes to local and mobile searches. People looking to book a hotel, find a hairdresser or check the opening times of a nearby shop are ready to buy. In fact, research by comScore says almost 80% of local searches end in a conversion – many through offline store visits.
The other side of organic traffic tends to come with a lower purchase intent. Instead of booking a holiday in the Seychelles, these users are more likely to search for ‘best tropical island holidays’. They’re looking for information, advice and other content that helps them make better buying decisions.
Here’s the key: despite coming with a lower purchase intent, organic traffic is made up of the vast majority of online consumers (46% to PPC’s 6%). You don’t want to miss out on this group and you certainly don’t want them going to your competitors.
SEO is about capturing these leads early and making sure it’s your brand they do business with when the time comes.
So that’s how SEO and PPC generate different types of lead and create a more rounded search marketing strategy. But that’s not all we want to talk about. We also want to look at how you can use SEO to actually improve your PPC results and vice versa.
As we’ve already said, the main aim of PPC is to generate high intent leads from people ready to buy. But you can also use a number of paid search techniques to improve your SEO performance.
As you can see, this is where PPC starts to compensate for some of the weaknesses of SEO – and it works both ways.
Just as PPC can boost your organic ranking, SEO can improve your PPC performance and even make it that little bit cheaper.
So there are two lessons here. First, SEO and PPC generate two different types of lead – and you need both to maximise reach. Second, you can use SEO and PPC techniques to improve the performance of both, which in turn affects ROI.
If you need any more information on this, don’t hesitate to get in touch, and check back with us again soon for more search marketing tips.