How SEO And PPC Can Work Together To Maximise ROI



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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.

SEO & PPC work better together

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.

Target people in ‘buying mode’ with PPC

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.

Target local and info searches with SEO

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.

Use PPC to improve your SEO results

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.

  • Ranking: If you can’t rank organically for an important keyword, you can pay for a top spot on the SERP.
  • Visibility: Some searches push organic results below the second half of the page. PPC can get you back at the top for important keywords.
  • Remarketing: An AdWords feature that helps you chase lost leads can also be used to attract organic traffic back to your site.
  • Data: PPC gives you insights into keywords, conversions, landing page performance and various elements that are equally as important to SEO.
  • Testing: Because PPC gives you instant traffic, you can use it to test the performance of ‘organic’ pages while you build on ranking.

As you can see, this is where PPC starts to compensate for some of the weaknesses of SEO – and it works both ways.

Use SEO to improve your PPC results

Just as PPC can boost your organic ranking, SEO can improve your PPC performance and even make it that little bit cheaper.

  • Cost: For keywords that are too expensive to bid on, SEO gives you the chance to rank organically instead.
  • Quality Score: With proper on-page SEO, your landing pages will have a better Quality Score in AdWords, which can lower your cost-per-click.
  • Long-tail keywords: Your SEO keyword research will naturally uncover a list of long-tail keywords you can target in AdWords.
  • Visibility: Some searches don’t show any ads whatsoever but you can cover these gaps by ranking organically.

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.

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As a former “Big Four” accountant within the world’s top Pan-European and US real estate funds team, Luke is our SEO expert. He built his first website, an expert’s guide on hang gliding, in 2005 and since then has ranked both his own and clients’ websites for some of the most competitive terms on the internet in the UK, US, and Africa. Away from Tinderpoint, he enjoys cricket and chess.