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Running PPC and SEO campaigns in isolation from each other often means many learnings and advanced SEM tactics and techniques are being missed. This post looks at some of the ways your PPC campaign can inform your SEO strategy and vice-versa.

Keyword lists

Running an Adwords ‘Search Query Report’ will provide you with all the keywords that result in PPC clicks. Use this list to highlight high volume / high converting keywords currently not considered as part of your SEO strategy. On the flip-side use your analytics software to analyse your natural keyword clicks can help expand your PPC keyword list – the ‘long tail’ often provides some surprising clicks and conversions!

Messaging

Which PPC ad creative provides the best click through rate? Utilising the best performing PPC ‘message’ in your web page’s title and meta description can help natural click through rate too.

Tactical Testing

If you’re launching a new product or area of your website and are unsure of the keywords to target as part of your SEO strategy, use PPC to test. Due to its on/off nature a short PPC campaign can very quickly provide you with valuable search volume, CTR and conversion data at keyword level.

Blended Cost-Per-Sale

While PPC campaigns tend to target a specific cost per sale (CPS), SEO sales are often considered ‘free’ (which of course they’re not). Looking at a blended CPS across both PPC and SEO allows search marketers to subsidise strategic ad placements through SEO to allow incremental sales growth. This allows advertisers to deliver more sales at the right cost but means that brand visibility is increased.

Positional Analysis

When you achieve that all important #1 position in the organic results, which PPC position will provide the most combined volume? Test different ad positions for that keyword until you find the combination that provides the most traffic / conversions at the cheapest price.

Multi-Variate / A-B testing

If you’re running Multivariate or A/B tests as part of your PPC campaign, apply the learnings to the pages of your site that rank naturally. It might be as simple as repositioning the call to action or changing the colour of key focal points but even the smallest increase in conversion rate can have a significant impact on sales volumes over time

Content Network

Are you appearing on Google’s content network as part of your PPC strategy? If you are, extrapolating a list of sites your ads are appearing on may present some high quality link building opportunities for your SEO campaign. Remember due to the inner workings of the content network, the fact that these sites display your ads already means Google thinks the site is relevant to yours.

Filling the Ranking Gaps

Anyone who has either changed domains or had a major site re-structure will be more than aware that it doesn’t always go to plan. Organic rankings may be lost for a matter of weeks or even months until all changes are picked up by the search engines. Running a PPC campaign targeting those yet-to-be restored rankings is an effective way to ensure no traffic or business is lost.

Attracting awareness

If you are launching a viral or link-bait project as part of your SEO campaign, use a short term PPC campaign to attract attention. The more people that see it, the more widespread the ‘virus’ will be resulting in more natural links!

Improving Landing Page Quality Score

Google dooesn’t go into too much detail about this but it figures that a well SEO’d (i.e. relevant) landing page equates to a better landing page quality score. Key points to consider:

  • Ensure your landing page content is unique and relevant
  • Avoid excessive use of flash, images etc. – search engines typically need text content to understand and assign relevance
  • Keyword density – the frequency of the keyword(s) in key areas of the page – titles, header tags, main body content etc.

With so much cross-over between PPC and SEO, analysing the two channels and adopting a blended approach to SEM can really make a difference to your overall search ROI.

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Published 18 June, 2009 by Andy Heaps

Andy Heaps is Head of SEO at Latitude, and a contributor to Econsultancy.

1 more post from this author

Comments (5)

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David WOlf

Great article. It cannot be overstated how much information you can gain from PPC to use in seo. Once your campaign has the data. You websites keyword focus should almost always be refocused to attack the high converting words.

over 7 years ago

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Will Fleiss

Andy, this is an excellent rundown of the potential for synergy between SEO and PPC campaigns.  Love the content network idea for link building.  Some level of PPC should be mandatory for running a full scale SEO campaign.  Effective SEO is so far from "free", that doing PPC testing along side SEO campaigns should be a no brainer.  All SEOs should be striving to achieve the same measureability with their organic campaigns as PPC.  These are the kinds of best practices that will help companies realize the potential of SEO as a website marketing practice.     

over 7 years ago

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Alex P.

These are really great tips on improving efforts on both fronts.  We actually have a client that we want to improve the SEO and organic search results in order to reduce their PPC costs.  This is great insight into maybe doing just that. 

about 7 years ago

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mcday

I like your idea of running a short-term PPC project in conjunction with a link-bait SEO project. Buying attention to a well-planned viral campaign is smart.

about 7 years ago

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Tug Search

Ah SEO and PPC living together in perfect harmony.  Yeah right.  How many of you out there put as much effort into your SEO efforts as you do with your sponsored efforts?

about 6 years ago

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