Blink and you might miss it. That’s how fast the digital marketing landscape is changing, making it even more important for marketers to stay on top of industry trends and constantly evolve their marketing plans of attack.
One of the biggest mistakes companies can make when determining their digital marketing plans is to silo their strategies into one singular channel instead of taking a holistic approach. Consolidating all your time, energy, and budget into one channel–whether it is paid search, also known as pay per click (PPC); or SEO, search engine optimization–can make it much harder for your targeted audience to find you, while restricting your brand’s voice from growing into a powerhouse within your specific industry.
While SEO and paid search are different in many ways, it can be exceptionally helpful to consider these two facets of digital marketing as just search. After all, they both share the same primary objectives:
- Tap into search engines to boost your business
- Gain new customers
- Increase brand awareness and authority
There are plenty of ways in which SEO and paid search complement each other in order to create a more successful holistic search strategy. Here are five ways SEO and PPC can work to provide improved results from your search marketing efforts.
Target Users in all Stages, No Matter Their Search Intent
A search engine is a problem-solving machine. Users tell the search engine their problem and the search engine tries to give them the most relevant answers. But the problem the customer is looking to solve may not correspond to an immediate business goal.
When it comes to converting potential customers, it is important to align your digital marketing efforts with your users’ intent. Simply put, search intent is the reason why someone conducts their search. Customers will make different search inquiries depending on which stage of the marketing funnel they are in. Here are the typical stages:
- At the top of the funnel, an ideal customer’s search intent is to research and learn general information about a product or service.
- Those in the middle of the funnel will investigate more specific benefits that come with choosing a particular product or service.
- Customers in the lower end of the funnel are ready to make a purchase then and there.
Investing in paid search will show users your ads at the top of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) and works well for customers looking to convert immediately. On the flip side, SEO is the practice of optimizing your website for enhanced usability and visibility within the SERPs. A strong website will provide useful, relevant, and informative landing pages for customers, no matter which level of the funnel they are in.
Capitalize on Keywords
When working within PPC and SEO, one thing is for certain: there is a lot of data to analyze. This means that when you use both channels, you’ll have double the data to analyze, test, and experiment with.
People often treat paid search and SEO as two entirely separate entities. But the reality is that they both run off the same keywords in the search engine. If you do keyword research for PPC, you are doing it for both PPC and SEO and vice versa. When planning a paid search campaign, you can go deeper than just high-level keyword research. You can see trends, varied keyword volumes, and conversions for your brand. This data can then be used to form an SEO strategy around the keywords that are driving relevant traffic to your site.
Doubling down on these successful keywords will make it easier to enhance and improve your organic content, meaning you can use these “money keywords” in title tags, headings, meta descriptions, and blog content for webpages you want to amplify.
Additionally, paid search is a great tool to use when it comes to testing content ideas. You can easily incorporate various keywords into your ad copy to see if they are successful and quickly A/B test different strategies to ensure your marketing goals are met. Plus, if you have keywords that are unattainable on the paid side due to cost limitations, you can incorporate them into your website with valuable content and capture that traffic organically.
Maximize SERP Real Estate and Increase Overall Click Volume
Perhaps the most obvious advantage of having an integrated paid and organic approach to search is the ability to maximize real estate in the SERP. Simply put, no single position in the SERP gets 100% of the clicks. Position 1 typically gets the highest percentage at around 32%. But that means 68% of clicks are not going to position 1. So, if you can maximize both spots with a joint strategy, you can increase your share of the clicks to be higher than what you would receive using a single tactic by itself.
Getting your brand in front of searchers as frequently as possible naturally leads to more visitors to your website. Each additional listing, whether it’s organic or paid, in part serves to reinforce a brand’s authority on the subject of the query.
This instantly builds trust with searchers. In their eyes, a brand is surely a credible source of the information they are looking for when it provides multiple results for the query. Provided that the keyword strategy does well to match the intent of the user, this will translate to more clicks.
In addition, occupying more of the finite space on the first page of search results naturally blocks out competition. This is where keyword strategy again becomes important. Understanding where gaps exist (that is, on which keywords competition is lower) presents clearer opportunities to dominate the SERP—and your competitors.
Having more and diversified results in the SERP increases the chances we are going to have a relevant result regardless of what stage the user is in. Plus, dominating the SERPs within both the paid search ads and the organic results will give the impression your brand is an established presence in your market.
Now that our entire lives are online, it is hard to stick out as a big fish in a large pond. In a consumer’s eyes, there is always another choice and another brand to pay attention to. The easiest way to ensure a potential customer chooses your brand is to build trust, and there is no better method than to employ a joint paid search and SEO strategy.
First, having an SEO content strategy focused around answering questions can make your brand seem reliable and less pushy. The beauty of creating content is that you can tailor it to be as specific or as broad as possible, and it is always in a brand’s best interest to create both. Promoting a variety of content, such as infographics and blog posts, can help to answer a potential customer’s questions. Answering questions based on search intent is an easy way to build trust; this shows that you are positioning yourself as a thought leader within your industry and as someone who cares about sharing information, rather than as just another company that wants to sign up as many users as possible.
It is also important to consider the platform you are advertising on. Google is a household name – so much so that it’s commonly used as a verb! – and people tend to trust the results they get when searching on Google. Having your brand show up in more than one single result is interpreted as being more reputable in users’ eyes. The trust they have in Google will therefore be extended to your brand.
Works with Any Marketing Budget
The beauty of paid search and SEO is that you can mold your marketing efforts to fit exactly within your marketing budget. Since both tactics work in tandem with each other so naturally, you’ll be able to work within their capabilities to create a marketing campaign that fits your budget.
For example, PPC, of course, is pay per click. Whether a campaign runs for 10 minutes or for 10 years, and no matter how broad or how optimized the campaign is, you will always pay for every paid advertising click that comes to your website. However, with SEO, you can invest money in a different way. Implementing UX design, integrating keywords through a strong content strategy, and building backlinks is a one-time cost that keeps on giving as the domain becomes stronger. Once a website is fully optimized for organic search, you’ll be able to generate traffic on articles you wrote years ago, while the fixed expense for creating that content will never increase.
So, with every new click you get from SEO, your cost per click decreases. PPC will help generate short-term boosts of traffic. But SEO builds value and ROI over time.
The link between SEO and paid search strategies is simple: When you integrate your efforts, your marketing campaigns will only benefit. This just goes to show that a successful digital marketing campaign cannot be siloed; and when SEO and paid search come together, they are greater than the sum of their parts.
At Butler/Till, we get marketing so the world gets you. We’re a results-driven marketing agency and we solve our clients’ business problems using our deep and ever-expanding expertise in all forms of communication. We understand that today’s sophisticated media landscape requires new ways of thinking, so if you have questions on how SEO and paid search can help you reach your marketing goals, give us a shout. We can’t wait to chat.