SEO and PPC – Why integrated SEM works best

Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn

SEO account executive Lily Bowron is used to working closely with ClickThrough Marketing’s PPC team on winning client strategies. This month, Lily decided it would be interesting to see how ‘the other side’ works. Without sounding too much like dabbling in the dark arts, or something out of a clip from Star Wars, Lily spent the day shadowing the PPC team to learn more about their work process. Here, Lily shares the pointers she picked up from PPC:

Sharing keyword data - Negative Keywords

When creating a PPC campaign, it is very important to have a list of ‘excluded’ keywords: phrases the advertiser would rather not want to be associated with. When writing SEO content, or performing keyword research, knowing the words which have been excluded in the client’s PPC strategy is obviously extremely useful. Not only will these words stop their paid ads appearing and incur a cost, but exclusion will also help to prevent ads ranking for the wrong product, and should stop them attracting the wrong sort of traffic that could consequently skew your conversion data.

Weekly and Monthly Cycles

Close analysis of PPC data shows you days when your keywords are clicked on more, how budget is split through the week, and lets you try to monitor patterns. SEO is very much a slow-burner in comparison, but looking at the PPC reports allows us to plan SEO page content to be tailored around the trends.

For example:

• More people search for MOTs at the beginning of the week – Mondays especially
• Tyre searches peak midweek
• Car servicing drives half of midweek traffic

So, SEO pages can be used to capitalise on this data, by creating a strategy to rank for these terms, and by ensuring your pages highlight the right offers at peak times. One example may be to use specific days in your page titles to attract customers, such as:

Book Your Monday MOT | Early Bird Car MOT Specials

Social Likes on PPC

PPC ads now have social links integrated below them. Google says this should increase clickthrough rates by around five to ten per cent – based on the idea that there’s no better recommendation than from a friend. This social integration should also make PPC ads more appealing.

The traditional problem with paid search ads is non-clickers – a certain amount of distrust exists (possibly a hangover from the early days of paid ads), as well as reluctance to click the yellow highlighted ads. In many cases, people choose to click the organic links instead.

Integrating social comments on products and services, in paid ad results, should help counteract this: finally teasing the reluctant clicker into following your link, and buying your products.

However, you do need to have your Google Plus and AdWords accounts connected for this to work, and the search user must be logged in to their Google Plus to see social results.

The Double Hit of Integrated SEO and PPC

Research shows even the most successful SEO campaigns benefit from the ‘double whammy’ effect - having a paid search presence and high SEO ranking combined.

Other research, carried out by iCrossing, has shown that adding a PPC campaign to organic SEO efforts resulted in a decrease in the amount of SEO clicks, but an overall increase in the total number of clicks.

With good SEO and PPC combined, your businesses’ PPC ad can appear at the top of page one, with your SEO links right below them. This double whammy is great for increasing clickthrough.

In other words, you sacrifice organic clicks in favour of paid clicks – and you get more clicks as a result. This is a more expensive approach to traffic generation, but a potentially more lucrative one, too. They key is converting PPC leads.

Planned Time Testing – Cause and Effect

The great thing about PPC is you can react quickly. SEO is a long game, but with PPC, you can quickly run a campaign and get results to base future campaigns on, as well as analysing what has what effect.

A PPC campaign can run for a week, and then you can use that time frame’s data to maximise your display in future.

This cause and effect strategy is great for testing new idea, and then using PPC results to update your SEO pages, which, without PPC date, might have taken weeks to update properly.

Using results from one discipline to benefit another is a great way to improve sites.

Doing A/B testing can also help to get the most out of what little space SEO and PPC allows you on a Google search. For instance, do searchers like ‘&’ instead of ‘and’ for a certain site? Trying to get the branding right throughout SEO and PPC is very important. And while abbreviations may work on contemporary sites, the Queen’s English may be better for more traditional sites.

This creative testing on PPC can be used to inform site messaging; giving searchers a feel for the style of the website before they click, and tracking these cause and effects both quantitatively and qualitatively, may get you less traffic, but more conversions, due to getting the right searchers on your page first time.

We don’t need to explain how important SEO and PPC are to online marketing, but the importance of using them together, not only strategically, but on a day to day basis, will yield much-improved results from doing either in isolation.

I think, if anything, it is important to remember the synergies and effects that both SEO and PPC can have on each other: in the future, these are going to cross over far more.

Subscribe to our blog and get the latest industry-updates direct to your inbox