Pay per click and search engine optimization are often pitted against one another as the best way to move up the search result table. Yet, their desired outcomes are exactly the same. That is, to improve visibility and therefore traffic across all of the major search engines and therefore enhance your business revenue.
So, it stands to reason that they are very much mutually beneficial. Here we will look at the two search engine marketing strategies separately and observe the potentially huge benefits for website owners of combining the two. But first, let’s start looking at exactly what search engine optimization and paid advertising are in more detail.
What is search engine optimization, SEO or keyword research?
SEO is shorthand for search engine optimization. Search engine optimization is very simply the process of making your website more conducive to being found by a search engine user. SEO is widely viewed as a very cost-effective practice that can yield excellent results. The most popular and focused upon search engine is of course Google. But other search engines such as Yahoo and Bing may also be taken into secondary consideration.
The aim is to gain ‘optimal’ click-throughs by including specific keywords that will ensure that a customer using a search engine ranks your website higher than a competitor. This can extend from the more obvious on page optimization via copy and content marketing, to off-page factors such as the use of a meta description and title tags. But, the search engines will not index your new page straight away – this can in fact take up to two weeks.
To create the desired impact of generating revenue from this practice, it is considered wise to first have a good idea of who your audience is. You can then create a niche to propel your ranking forward on the search engine algorithms. Rather than shooting in the dark, you can get a basic idea of best keyword practices to enhance your Google rankings by using the various keyword research tools on offer by Google itself. This includes Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
But, to fight for the coveted top spot on Google’s search results using search engine optimization alone takes a lot of work. This is because the top search engine result is almost invariably the one that gets the vast majority of the click-throughs, so it is very valuable. Most companies therefore will work extremely hard at professionally managing their search engine rankings. They will typically develop their digital marketing strategy over many years with this in mind.
What is Pay Per Click, or PPC advertising?
Pay per click advertising, PPC or paid search advertising is on its surface a much more straightforward process by comparison. Rather than invest your time, money and effort into search engine optimization, you can create an account with the major search engines and pay to obtain an elevated level of click-throughs. This method does not require the same level of technical detail when it comes to your site’s pages and their ranking factors. You just select the keywords and your budget and you can expect immediate search engine results.
The way that you set this up for Google is via Google AdSense or Google AdWords (also known as Google Ads). But now of course the problem is that you may find your business wholly reliant on paying the search engine for that particular search result. This click through cost will not necessarily convert to sales either. So, depending on the value of each conversion and how frequently the click-throughs convert, this cost can really stack up with little return.
If you are not confident in determining which keywords are and are not going to find customers that convert into sales this can cause a big issue. You may find that being a business in itself, Google is rather good at spending your money without yielding the exact results that you are after. So, without the right PPC advice, you can make an eye-watering spend and have very little to show for it. Excluding keywords is in fact as important as including them for paid web page advertising. This is precisely why it is wise to combine PPC with your SEO strategy.
How to combine your PPC and SEO strategy
1. Run a search engine traffic test
Pay per click advertising is a great way to test out your SEO campaign before you start investing in creating content and designing structured data for your site’s pages. Even though Google’s keyword tools that we discussed earlier can give you a good overview, you will not empirically know how this translates in real terms until you have tested it out. Better still, Google Adwords gives its paying customers a huge amount of additional insight when compared with their other free search engine optimization tools.
2. Improve your meta description
A meta description is an element that provides a summary of your web page for a user browsing a search engine. Unlike with search engine optimisation, with Google Ads you can create multiple search engine campaigns in one go. So, using Google Ads will enable you to test out the effectiveness of multiple meta descriptions in one go. This is the only way to get pure results from testing a meta description because search engine results pages will naturally vary over time, as will organic search queries.
3. Discover the best negative target keyword use with your SEO strategy
As we briefly mentioned earlier, it is very easy for your Google Ad spend to get completely out of control very quickly. So, filtering out negative keywords is crucial to ensuring that your PPC campaign delivers real results. By creating search engine optimized content that prioritises certain keywords, we can utilise our Google Search Console and Analytics page to inform our PPC campaign. Over time, these can tell us which search engine results are, in fact, converting and which are not.
Maximised visibility on your customer’s search results page
There is no linear formula to discover how people search, when they search and why they visit yours and other sites. But, there is empirical data that when utilised correctly will create a considerably higher chance of a client finding your web pages and transacting. Organic search traffic and paid advertising each have irrefutable potential to further your business individually. But there are even more on page optimization advantages to be had by combining the two.
Find out more about how you can take the next steps in investing in your on-page optimization and PPC advertising by contacting us here.