Clients sometimes ask me, “Why should I run a PPC campaign alongside a keyword I rank for in my search results?”
While inbound, organic search will always by the most efficient form of web traffic to your website–as well as the reason why Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a multi-million dollar industry–there are also strategies for traffic growth that point to using Search Engine Marketing (SEM) to augmented your organic search traffic results.
At an initial glance this seems to be counterproductive, however, there is data to suggest it can result in increased traffic while simultaneously decrease the cost per click of your paid campaigns.
Synergistic SEO and PPC Search Marketing
The inherent downside to search engine optimization is that the results will take time to achieve. While it has been proven time and again that the results still come, Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Search Marketing has been used to speed up the time it takes to get traffic to your site. It’s a balance of time versus money, and for most businesses, they want the results sooner than later regardless of cost.
The strategy of using paid search campaigns to achieve traffic benchmarks is not new. We SEO Specialists have used it for targeting keywords used by competitors, better understanding search traffic, and coming up with new long tail keywords to use in the next campaign.
While these results do come, they can be rather costly for small businesses. Start-up companies, small retail operations, and late-to-the-game firms regularly get priced out of competition because the going rate for clicks can quickly jump to $15, $25, or even $50 per click. That’s where the SEO long-game comes into play.
Properly designed campaigns can have a natural synergistic effect by PPC offsetting the slower gains of SEO keyword rankings. The goal is to make sure your website, landing page, or content offer is listed among a particular Search Engine Results Page (SERP) for the duration of the SEO process.
- At the beginning, have a higher budget to allow garner the desired traffic on a given keyword.
- As the keyword ranking increases, the PPC budget can be allocated to other keywords you are working to rank for.
Once your organic rankings have hit page one, there are numerous ways in which paid search campaign costs reduce naturally in managing them strategically.
Efficiency From Higher CTR’s and Lower CPC’s
In a measurement of campaigns that use both organic SEO growth and paid search CPC campaigns, there’s an incremental bump to click-through rates when both methods are employed simultaneously.
At ZOG Digital, they looked at campaigns they had run for clients and saw not only the incremental boost, but also a lower cost per click for their paid search campaign. They organized the keywords they were ranked with in organic search and cross referenced them to the keywords listed in the paid search. Here’s how the results panned out:
For non-branded keywords that have both a paid and organic presence, we saw a CTR of 8.93 percent for paid search and 5.10 percent for organic search, across all positions. When we isolate the tactics, paid search CTR is 8.08 percent, while organic search sits at 4.48 percent. By just looking at those numbers, we can see that keywords with a presence on both paid and organic results yield a combined incremental CTR.
Also shown … is cost per click (CPC), where paid search alone sits at an average CPC of $2.06, whereas the CPC for keywords with an organic presence sits at $1.18.
For companies trying to generate traffic, this efficiency is great news! The reason for the lowered CPC is believed to be two-fold.
One angle is due to the Quality Score, a metric that’s determined in the AdWords system. Due to the organic rankings, Google is able to recognize that the pages listed in SERPs for each keyword is viable content that people want to read. That increases the Quality Score for the keyword to URL relationship, and lowers the cost per click.
The second is from the keyword relevance to the landing page the search link is sending users to. Proper search engine optimization techniques that are applied to landing pages will also help boost the Quality Score of an ad in Google AdWords, thus bolstering efficiencies.
The one thing that keeps coming up is that there are noticeable benefits to running simultaneous organic SEO and paid search CPC campaigns for keywords that your site wants to rank for.
Keep An Eye On Those Search Results!
Once you’ve put this process into practice, the next step is to maintain constant monitoring of both your rankings and those of your competitors. You don’t have access to their analytics and systems, so competitve analysis is the best method to maintaining your position atop the SERP and Quality Score.
In order to keep an eye on things, you can use the Domain vs. Domain tools available in most SEO management tools as well as the auction insights reports inside Google’s AdWords system.
You can use those tools to better assess keywords your competition is using that are relevant to your needs that you should consider bidding on. Ultimately it’s about balancing that new information and the data that you’ve collected about your current campaigns and strategies. The appropriate strategy is in there, and testing and adapting is the best avenue to sustained success.
The great news that comes from all of this is to have verified evidence that:
- Paid Search CPC campaigns are not a waste of money, or only for big budgets
- Organic SEO campaigns are not the budget step-child of internet marketing
- These two work together to increase traffic and ultimately, save money
You don’t have to throw thousands of dollars at one or the other anymore, and any marketer who tells you that isn’t giving you the whole truth. Work with your SEO Specialist to build a synergy between your organic and paid search plans for the keywords you are working to rank for. Analyze your results and adapt as you go. There will be opportunities along the way for further increased efficiencies. Good luck!