Can PPC and SEO work together? You might be surprised at the answer to that question, particularly when you've most likely read so much about the differences between the two approaches. Actually PPC and SEO can be integrated effectively to help you build a better site.
PPC and SEO are different!
Before we start talking about how you can get PPC and SEO to make music together let's just confirm that the two are separate methods of attracting visitors. SEO focuses on building a lot of traffic naturally by improving your site's optimization for specific keyword phrases and attracting backlinks. PPC is used to get immediate traffic and, because you're paying for it, it's heavily targeted towards buyers and doesn't waste any time getting straight to the point. Conversely SEO is happy to attract anyone including info-seekers and tire-kickers. So the two employ quite different methods of keyword research and landing page construction.
But we're not here to talk about their differences – we want to see how you can use PPC to boost your site's SEO, and how good SEO can boost your PPC campaigns. If you were to treat the two as mutually exclusive you could be missing out on a lot of valuable information.
Stop! Don't start doing PPC just because you think it will improve your SEO. The tips in this post are only if you are currently using PPC and want to get more from it.
One big way SEO helps PPC
Even if you're relatively new at PPC you're most likely familiar with QS (Quality Score). QS is Google's method of ranking advertisers and a high QS (ranking is from 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest) will result in a lower cost per click and better ad exposure. So it's no wonder that achieving a high QS is a priority for advertisers.
But how do you get a good QS?
There is so much information about Google QS that you could literally spend days reading about it but for the sake of brevity we'll just hit the main points here (if you want more detail have a read through our free lesson on getting a high Quality Score and avoiding the Google Slap).
- Your ad's click-through rate — that is, how many times your ad is clicked on compared with the number of times it is displayed. If your ad is served 70 times during the day, but only clicked on once, that could suggest to Google that it isn't what people are looking for, and therefore low quality.
- The relevance of your ad text. Does the text advertise the product accurately?
- The relevance of your keywords to the ads in your ad group.
- The quality of your landing page. This is what we want to focus on.
Google wants to make sure you're not just a one-page wonder, which doesn't offer visitors much value. They want to know that your website backs up the relevancy your ad promises. So if you're promoting a dog training product but you don't have any information on your site about dogs, dog breeds or how to choose a good dog training product Google may decide your site doesn't offer sufficient information to be helpful to a person interested in buying a dog training product. By lowering your QS and effectively increasing your cost per click and lowering your ad position they will try to 'weed' you out of the market.
This is where SEO can give PPC a helping hand. As you improve your website's SEO by developing useful, unique content, you are also promoting your site's keyword relevancy thus improving your quality score.
There are a few little things you need to be aware of – just go through the lesson mentioned above and you'll be fine.
If you're looking for a tool to help you work out your QS before you go live with a campaign, try the Google Adwords Quality Score Checker, which allows you to compare two different ads and see which will most likely have the higher QS.
Four ways PPC helps SEO
It can work the other way too. PPC is a great method of testing keywords because it's so instant. While SEO can mean months before you start ranking for a given keyword phrase, PPC allows you to test a specific keyword market instantly.
- Highly-converting keywords – With PPC you don't just want traffic, you want converting traffic and that may mean targeting long-tail keywords that have low search volumes but are tightly focused on buyers in your market. PPC can be an excellent way to test new long-tail keywords quickly. If they work you can look at promoting that keyword as part of your SEO.
- Profitable long-tail keywords – How do you know if a new keyword you've just discovered is profitable? It's hard to tell, particularly if you're relying on SEO to pick up traffic. PPC can instantly put you in front of that keyword audience and you'll know very quickly if it's converting. If it isn't don't bother spending all that time trying to rank for it in the SERPs.
- Split-testing ads – With a split-test you can compare two ads directly to see which one gets the most clicks, indicating its relevancy to your audience. Compare their performance over time to find the best one, then repeat with a new ad, tweaking your way to king of the ad castle. If you know which ads perform best you'll be in a better able to present your SEO pages effectively (particularly in the page description) using words that draw new visitors.
- Effective landing pages – Google also helps you to split-test your landing page with its Website Optimizer. The landing page that converts more visitors is obviously more effective so you can use the format of this page to influence how you structure the rest of your site. For example, you might discover that having a sign-up box in the middle of the page is more effective than off to one side.
The end goal is the same
When you're an affiliate marketer it boils down to getting traffic that will convert. Whether you get this traffic naturally using SEO or pay for it using PPC, you just want people to visit your site and buy the product.
So it makes sense that you can use the two to help each other, and find traffic that converts.
Do you use PPC to learn more about keyword traffic in your niche? What interesting insights have you discovered looking at your PPC reports? Or if PPC scares the monkey out of you, review some of the free PPC lessons we have and educate yourself on how it all works.