PPC for SEO: How Paid Advertising Should Support an SEO Campaign

5 years ago

Beyonce and Jay-Z. Ham and cheese. Gin and tonic. Charlie and Naga from BBC Breakfast. PPC and SEO.

Yes, some things just go together, work well together and combine to push each other on to greater things. This includes PPC and SEO, two acquisition channels that work better together as they both aim to achieve the same end goal - maximising relevant traffic coming through to your website.

Here at Aira, we find when we combine both PPC and SEO efforts together, we gain our clients more qualified and relevant traffic, which produces effective results faster.

So here is why paid advertising is the perfect partner to your SEO efforts, and how PPC can help you drive greater results from your marketing strategy.

1: Boost SERP visibility

Ideally, you want your website to have as much search visibility as possible - think Beyonce and Jay-Z levels of brand awareness.

As Google refreshes the SERP experience with an ever increasing frequency, your precious first position keyword rankings are more likely to slip below the fold, behind a plethora of Google-led elements such as featured snippets, knowledge graphs, ‘people also ask’ boxes, images, videos, news results, shopping results, maps and paid advertising.

To ensure and maximise the amount of visibility your website can receive, it's important to ensure your brand is seen above the fold. As Google appears to push organic results further down the SERP:

This is even more prominent for some sectors - such as jobs, with the introduction of Google Jobs, or flights and the introduction of Google’s flight checker.

By combining the power of PPC and SEO, you can gain increased visibility, by ensuring your brand has the best chance of competing at the top of the SERP.  What’s more, imagine being P1 for a search term and having your PPC double down on that effect. Greater prominence suggests to your target users that you are a credible authority in your area.

So if Jay-Z wants to spend some of his billions on some Nike golf shoes there’s lots of competition, but Nike have their brand locked down, pulling users towards their official site. Remember, others will bid too, so think of PPC visibility as your backup against competitors going after your brand terms.

2: Use extra data

A ham sandwich is nice, but how much better is a ham and cheese toastie? (The tedious pairings continue throughout this blog - sorry/not sorry!) Much the same, with data we can collect from PPC or SEO tools, we can use both to create a richer combined strategy that focuses on what attracts the right user at the right time.

Data such as the search terms report from Google Ads can help guide SEO keyword priorities by showing you quickly, the keywords used that not only triggered an ad, but were actually clicked on. A clear insight into engagement.

This information should be added into any keyword research stage as its effectively a head start into what works.

You can also use the multivariant testing capabilities of Google Ads to test out keywords, titles and descriptions. quickly understanding which variants work by driving increasing click-through rates and conversions through your site.

On the flip side, you can start testing out possible organic keyword targets via PPC campaigns first to see if there’s any point pursuing targeting those keywords, as it’s faster to run compared to SEO split testing.

Whilst talking testing, if you’re interested in testing out different toastie fillings, try bacon and banana toasties - the flavours work perfectly together. (Am I getting my point across yet?)

3: Focus on what works

Without combining efforts and using these useful insights from PPC campaigns, your team could be duplicating efforts and wasting valuable time. Why work harder than you need too?

Using the extra data you can glean from your PPC campaigns, you have a valuable head start on your keyword strategy. You can instantly focus on topic areas you know are driving clicks and conversions, and build those out with cluster and target pages.

Focus on keywords and ad copy that has high click-through rates - clearly users who see those ads are finding them engaging and want to find out more.

What works for PPC can also guide your SEO efforts. I’m not saying copy and paste everything, instead consider the tone and style alongside the keywords that are attracting attention from potential users.

For example, you could identify the most effective ad copy in your PPC campaigns, and use that as a guide when you look to produce organic content. Your most convincing ad headlines can be used as inspiration for fresh title tags and your most engaging ad descriptions could be used as the basis of compelling meta descriptions. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel, and what’s better, your messaging will be tidy, consistent and as you already know, effective.

Here’s a good example of a gin maker’s (wait for it…) PPC and organic listings lining up nicely, where they use similar wording and focus on the same areas. In this case, nature and natural elements.

So not only does combining your PPC and SEO strategies make them more effective, you could save time and launch SEO efforts quicker. Then you can celebrate with a gin and tonic to toast a successful day’s work. (Yikes, that’s a tediously bad link!)

4. Give your strategy a structure

Now imagine watching the news, filled with the slow-burning stories of the day - such as Brexit discussions, the state of the high street or the HS2 rail line. Charlie and Naga (clearly the best newsreaders) will continue to chip away and analyse as the weeks go by to give you the latest updates and build your understanding of each topic.

That kind of explains the impact of SEO, with which it’s notoriously difficult to show instant results and impact, once all your quick wins and technical changes have been implemented. It can be a slow burn, but one that brings huge value over time.

Then, every once in a while, the ‘BREAKING NEWS’ banner appears and Naga or Charlie go into quick fire mode and give us all the latest on a developing story.

That grabs the attention, much like PPC can at the top of the search results page.

And PPC can further support your SEO efforts by quickly providing you visibility at the top of the SERP for your target keywords whilst you work on producing content and optimising on-page to increase your reach organically.

To summarise, if you want to make your overall acquisition strategy stronger, you should combine the power of SEO with the boosting support of PPC. Both channels are effective in their own ways, but combined, they can compliment and guide each over, pushing performance to new levels.

If you would like further help linking your PPC and SEO efforts together, feel free to get in touch

Just think of PPC and SEO as the Beyonce and Jay-Z of the digital marketing world. A true power couple, who may or may not enjoy the occasional ham and cheese toastie...

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