The benefits of a joint SEO & PPC campaign

Search engine optimisation and pay per click advertising are both very effective ways of increasing relevant traffic to a website. They both have their strengths and weaknesses and in some cases one is the preferred option over the other. They are often seen as two opposing options and there are lots of PPC vs SEO articles online to argue the points. There is a third option, and that is to go for both at the same time. Running an SEO and PPC campaign together can help both run more effectively.

When to use each one

PPC is great when you need traffic quickly, and with regular reporting and conversion rate optimisation techniques it is possible to work at a campaign and site to make them as cost effective as possible. PPC is 100% trackable and with reporting in Analytics it can be regularly refined and improved. PPC can be prohibitively expensive in some markets where the competition is fierce. And of course with PPC, every click is paid for. This can often put businesses off using it. The very idea that the business has to pay Google every single time somebody clicks on their ad seems to send panic into some customers.

And while it is very easy for novices to waste money on PPC, experienced account managers are able to spend their budgets wisely by utilising keyword research, correct match types, negative keywords and A/B testing. SEO is looked at as more of a free traffic source, even though it does require a budget to allocate the necessary time of experienced SEO consultants plus the necessary resources.

However, SEO will bring in traffic long after an SEO campaign has finished, and will bring in traffic from a wide range of related keyword variations to the ones being targeted and enhanced by the campaign. SEO costs don’t have to balloon either. Depending on the strength of a site it can be possible to achieve top rankings for one group of keywords and then move onto the next, creating steady traffic growth.

The drawback with SEO is time. It can take 6 to 12 months, to years to achieve the desired rankings for specific keywords. Some generic keywords such as “car insurance” or “news” may not ever be possible to achieve without investing huge amounts of money. For new sites in particular with no ranking strength it can be a long slog indeed as a link profile needs to be built up over time.

Benefits of running SEO and PPC at the same time

Running SEO and PPC at the same time has a few benefits.

  • 1. PPC can bring in traffic and enquiries straight away while the SEO campaign is working to improve rankings.
  • 2. PPC traffic data can be used to refine the design and conversion rate of the website.
  • 3. There are often as many as four sponsored listings above the organic rankings. Running ads at the same time as SEO can ensure that a site is visible at the top of organic results as well as featured amongst the sponsored listings, increasing the chance of a click from the customer. This can possibly reduce the PPC spend.
  • 4. PPC keyword data can be used to guide keyword research for the SEO campaign. Suitable converting keywords can be identified sooner rather later.

 

So if for example we have a client who is selling paintings. We could create an ad to target the keyword “canvas paintings”. We run the ad and that specific keyword receives clicks but no conversions. But as we have set it as a phrase match keyword the ad also showed for the search terms:
Buy canvas paintings
Buy canvas paintings online
Scottish canvas paintings

If we see from Analytics that ‘buy canvas paintings online’ received 5 clicks and 2 enquiries we can then ensure that we focus on achieving a position one ranking through the SEO campaign for that term. That’s just one converting search term. We can carry out this process for hundreds of keywords.

Testing the market

Another benefit of running a PPC campaign first is to test the market. If you have a new business idea that is untested PPC traffic can very quickly tell you how attractive your proposition is to customers. This is a far better option than running an SEO campaign for 12 months only to find out that your pricing is too high, or that there is no market for your business. Even if you are in an established industry there may be issues that arise that are better discovered sooner rather than later. Once the market has been proven and the site refined the business will have a far better chance of succeeding online. Starting SEO in tandem with PPC is always a good idea to give it the time it needs to succeed.

Conversion rate optimisation (CRO)

SEO and PPC data are incredibly useful when analysing the effectiveness of a website and its traffic. Using Google Analytics we can measure which pages of your website are working well and which ones aren’t. We can then refine your sites performance through CRO techniques so that it delivers conversions more effectively.

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