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SEO and PPC are natural partners

I am often asked by clients, both big and small, if they should use PPC (pay per click) rather than SEO (search engine optimisation) or the other way around. My answer is always that they should be using both together. Paid search is a good way to fill gaps in the SEO, assist organic search and promote special offers and news. 

We live in  a world that has so many devices that can access the internet,  all with varying levels of success and sophistication. For example, some devices will only display paid adverts pre-scrolling whilst others target the bulk of page one visibility on the organic listings. Ideally,  if you want to maximise your chances of SEO success from all devices and all platforms then you should be aligning your SEO and PPC to work perfectly together.

So what’s the difference between the two? 

PPC

By understanding how people use search engines it’s possible to make sure that every time someone searches for terms relating to your products and services, your site will be displayed. For Google, Yahoo! and Bing pay per click is the quickest method of gaining visibility.

Whether your website has just been launched or you are running a new campaign, PPC will drive traffic to your website. But you need to organise a proper campaign by researching your target audience and putting together a definitive list of keywords that people are using to find the products and services your website offers. These keywords are then broken down into themed groups and adverts created for each group, complete with relevant ad content, directing the user to the most appropriate page on your website. 

Your campaign needs to be properly managed and maintained by amending bids, testing new keywords and ad content, and generally making sure that your campaign is as running as cost-effectively as possible while avoiding Pay-Per-Click pitfalls such as expensive bidding wars and poor quality traffic.

By studying trends on your website, you will be able to improve conversion rates and make your Pay-Per-Click campaigns more cost-effective, by enhancing the design of the campaign landing pages and on-page calls to actions (Buy Now, Contact Us Here, etc.)  This analysis can be used to improve website usability and deal with issues such as contact form and shopping cart abandonment.

If you are working with a PPC provider make sure that you are given full access to the Pay-Per-Click account and also access to the Google Analytics data, so there is complete transparency.

Ideally, all PPC campaigns should run in tandem with SEO activities to ensure that both short term and longer term benefits are realised. The great thing about PPC Advertising is that it caters to any budget.

SEO

Concentrates on the regular "organic" results on Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other search engines. If your website is listed in the regular results, you don't have to pay for each click. If you use paid search marketing to advertise your website on search engines, you pay for every click. Your website will appear in the "sponsored results" section of the search results page.

Organic SEO provides lasting results. Paid search marketing is great because it provides quick results. You will get the first visitors minutes after the launch of your paid search campaign. Unfortunately, you won't get any more visitors as soon as you stop paying.

To achieve high rankings in the organic search results, you have to develop good web pages, a quality link profile for your website and to get people talking about you online. It takes much longer to get high rankings with SEO. Fortunately, if the SEO is done properly, most websites keep their rankings for a long time.  Although this does depend on how much SEO work the competition are doing.

If you use paid search marketing, your website will get visitors because you pay for them. With SEO, you get website visitors because your website is good. If you use SEO to promote your website, you are forced to optimize your web pages: the content, the usability, etc. Although this requires more work, your website and your revenue will benefit greatly from these changes.

Organic SEO integrates with social media and helps increase the number of links that you get from other sites, which will result in higher rankings in Google's regular results: create a new page on your website, then mention it on Facebook or tweet about your new page.

You will get new visitors through social media sites and some of these visitors will link to your website, which has a positive influence on your SEO campaigns.