SEO and PPC: A Friendship Story
Search engine optimization and pay per click (aka paid advertising) are two peas in a pod – ride or die homies. Each of these marketing channels have characteristics that make them different, which I will go over in a moment, but they also complement each other and build each other up which is why you should always include both in your online marketing strategy.
Let’s dive a little deeper to get to know each of these besties:
SEO – Search Engine Optimization
SEO encompasses all the marketing efforts that increase your website and/or webpage’s ranking in search engine results. When you search for something on Google, the results that show up below paid ads are the organic search results. This is influenced by 100s of factors created by the Google search algorithm. Some factors are well known and have fundamentals tactics that will improve them, but other factors are less obvious and do require some degree of calculated risk. A good rule of thumb is to do as Google does and recommends. Google is always trying to make a user’s online experience better, and your customer search experience is no exception. Google creates a positive online experience by giving you the most relevant results to credible sites, like yours, fast.
Here are the fundamentals your website should focus on to “do as Google does” to improve your organic rankings:
Clear, concise navigation in both the site navigation and flow of site content
Limiting the number of clicks to get to the information a customer is looking for makes for an easier user experience.
Relevant information (keywords) to what your customer is searching for throughout the text and headings
When a term is searched, Google scans millions of websites to find the ones that contain the most relevant information. If your site is able to communicate clearly and succinctly that you are the right choice for the keywords your site will rank higher.
Referrals from reputable sites
The more other sites link to your site the more credible your site looks to Google. (The same way a great review makes you look more credible to a new customer for example.)
PPC – Pay Per Click
Pay per click sounds very self explanatory, but it is actually an umbrella term for a couple of different types of online advertising:
Text ads that appear on search engine results above organic search results. Search is great for getting a direct response, for example getting a user to visit a specific page on your site that directly relates to what they are searching for in that moment.
Image or video/motion graphic ads that appear on various websites, blogs or YouTube pre-roll. Display is important for more awareness building. Including video here is especially great for highlighting what is unique about your brand.
Paid search online ads give you a better chance to show up for valuable keywords that you might not show up for organically (even if you do all the recommendations in the SEO chart above it can take sometimes weeks or months for your organic rank to change). On the display network you can go directly to your audience by targeting your ads to the sites they already go to.
Use SEO and PPC Together
A great way SEO and PPC can work together is to boost your SEO then, while you wait for your organic rankings to increase, launch a PPC campaign to boost results right off the top! Your online ranking is also largely based on the quality score of your ad. Quality score is made up of how many times your ad gets clicked, how relevant your ad is to the user’s search term and the web page experience that the ad sends you to. So you can see that SEO and PPC are BOTH required for a high quality score. If you focus all your time and money on just SEO then you will lose out on the opportunity of putting your ad directly in front an audience that is looking for you. If you focus all your time and money on PPC then when your ad does get clicked the conversion may not be as high as it could be because the site may not be as user friendly as it could be.
The moral of the story is that you always want to bundle both SEO and PPC to get the best results out of your online marketing strategy.