When you think of SEO, you’re probably thinking of organic search strategies, or the methods you’re using to increase your visibility in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Pay-per-click (PPC), on the other hand, is when you actually pay for that visibility. If you’re considering the two as totally separate tactics, you might be missing out. Thinking of PPC and SEO as two components of the same campaign will help you coordinate your efforts and multiply your results with a cohesive strategy.
Search engine marketing is an all-encompassing term that includes both PPC and SEO tactics to improve your visibility across the web. A balance of the two is key to both short and long-term success with search engine marketing. The bottom line is that both PPC and SEO have the ultimate goal of converting visitors (either via click-through rate or conversion rate) and turning your audience into paying customers.
Without SEO, your PPC efforts could be a flop. Why? If your landing page isn’t relevant to the ads you’re displaying, your visitors will be hitting the road instead of forking over their hard-earned cash.
One of the biggest things PPC and SEO share in common is the need to conduct comprehensive keyword research. The same keywords you’re using to entice visitors to click on your ads could be the same keywords you want to use to improve your organic rankings on your site content and off-page SEO efforts-but not always.
PPC keywords should be high in search volume but low in competition for the ideal combination. Of course, that’s not always achievable. Depending on your niche, the competition can get pretty heavy with some tough-to-beat websites occupying the first page of Google’s SERPs.
Beating your competition at the SEO game, especially if your competitors have had a strong presence on the web for years, isn’t an easy feat. It can be done, but it will take time. With PPC, on the other hand, it’s possible to beat out your competitors fairly easily if you have enough cash to outbid them on your desired keywords. Cost isn’t the only factor that comes into play, but it is a significant one.
Short-Term vs. Long-Term
SEO is a long-term strategy, and one that you want to sustain with consistent effort. PPC can be used as a short-term tactic to gain visibility on the front page of the SERPs before you’ve had time to ramp up your SEO campaign.
But PPC isn’t only for the short-term benefit. Many businesses continue to use PPC for years and reap tremendous benefits. The key is to find the sweet spot where your investment pays off in terms of ROI-in which case, it doesn’t make sense to not do it. If you could spend $500 per month for a guaranteed $5,000 payoff, would you do it?
Given the similarities between the approach and the complimentary short-term and long-term benefits, many businesses opt for a multi-channel approach, focusing efforts on both SEO and PPC to ensure their site’s viability over time.
It doesn’t just end there. The exposure you get from your PPC campaign-brand awareness, paying customers and repeat business-can actually boost your SEO. Things like repeat visitors, backlinks, social mentions, positive online reviews and social followers all remain important factors for Google in determining which websites hold the most value.
Meshing the Two: A Cohesive Strategy
The best way to approach it is to think of PPC and SEO as a single, comprehensive campaign that has two different avenues. When you consider both approaches during the strategy planning phase, you’ll be more likely to consider how the two will compliment one another when actual visitors are viewing or clicking your ads and reaching your landing pages.
When you’re thinking about the terms visitors looking for your products and services are likely to enter, you should also consider what information would be most compelling once they reach a promising web page.
• What information can you display that’s most relevant to the search query?
• What data will convince your prospects to click the “buy now” button?
• Does the landing page directly relate to the ad copy that led the visitor to it?
• Are your headlines clear and captivating?
• Does your landing page link out to related areas of your site that will provide more detailed information?
The great thing about all these considerations is that if you plan your landing page and site copy to compliment your PPC campaign, you’re already going to appeal to the search engines without even really trying. When you answer these questions, you’re writing for the reader-not the search engine. That means you’ll have high-quality content that’s both meaningful and relevant, which is exactly what Google is looking for today. Balancing the two components of search engine marketing, you’ll make your life easier and reap handsome rewards while you’re at it.
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