How SEO and PPC work together to drive performance

Search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) are two of the most important digital marketing strategies used to drive traffic to websites. Both channels are usually siloed when it comes to search engine strategies, and the benefits of integrating them are often overlooked. Treating the two channels as separate entities can lead to further inefficiencies and impact your search engine performance.

SEO helps to increase organic search engine rankings, while PPC helps to get more leads and sales from targeted ads. An integrated strategy is the sweet spot when it comes to improving search results, driving traffic to the website, and boosting click-through rates and conversion.

Similarities in SEO and PPC

SEO is usually seen as a dark art and it can take a while for businesses to see organic results. To recap, organic traffic is unpaid for – it won’t cost the business if a user lands on the site, hence the term ‘organic’. Optimisation and technical implementations can take a while to show results, and a website can have issues which cannot be fixed overnight. However, once your SEO strategy starts producing results, these tend to be effective in the long term.

Whereas with PPC, you pay for your traffic – when a user lands on your website through an Ad, you pay for each click on that ad. But PPC provides a fast and effective solution for businesses, because when a user types in a matching search term to your keyword, your website will appear straight away on the SERPs.

All that being said, there are key similarities between SEO and PPC:

  • SEO and PPC have the same objective: to drive traffic quality traffic to a website which converts.
  • They are both keyword-driven strategies – PPC data feeds directly into SEO strategies and both channels can leverage from using alternating keywords

Ways in which SEO and PPC work together

One of the most common questions asked is ‘do PPC ads have a negative impact on organic (SEO) performance?’ and vice versa. The answer is no, PPC does not have any negative impacts on your rankings, nor do rankings impact ad performance. However, by integrating the channels together, you will be maximizing performance and boosting your results.

Maximizing Search Engine presence

The first listing a user sees on a search engine results page (SERPs), for a particular keyword, is likely to be a PPC ad. These ads, as we know, appear at the top of the search results.

Paired with SEO, PPC ads help your business dominate SERPs, by consuming a large section of SERPs. By optimising your site organically, you are increasing your chances of ranking on the first page. When a user skips an ad, by scrolling further down the page and seeing your web listing, you are expanding brand exposure and increasing brand awareness.

This enhances user confidence and helps with reputation because the business has appeared on the first page of the search engine more than once. It also entices the user to click through to the website, which in return increases the click-through rate.

PPC data feeds directly into SEO strategies

Keyword targeting is essential for both strategies, however, the intent and relevancy of the keyword matters. PPC plays a crucial role in pinpointing which queries are the most traffic-driving ones and which ones are less effective. Using PPC data to inform your SEO strategy can work wonders for performance.

Here are ways in which you can use PPC data to inform your SEO strategy:

  1. Separating negative keywords and positive keywords helps inform SEO which keywords are working for the website. You can then use the positive keywords to optimise your website’s landing pages
  2. Through PPC you can identify high competition, high cost-per-click (CPC) keywords and keywords which are profitable. Feeding SEO with this data helps optimise for attainable keywords
  3. PPC provides real historical search volume data for keywords, you can use this data to also look at high impression keywords. Feeding this data into SEO will also help optimise pages with high-impression keywords
  4. Traditional Search Campaigns & more often Standard Shopping campaigns can help feed emerging trends in user behaviour, which can help inform your content strategy.
  5. PPC can support important keywords that are struggling organically.

What does this mean for Search Marketers when Performance Max is throwing a data curve ball?

Good question, firstly we’re not going to assume knowledge of Performance Max. This is a highly controversial (in the SEM world) campaign that gives you no search term data. It removes the ability to use Shopping search terms (that can vary dramatically from Search campaigns) to inform both the PPC & SEO strategy.

All is not lost. Other than living in hope that Google will change its mind & Microsoft won’t adopt this strategy – you will still have search campaigns, and if you’re not already – maybe now is the time to test wider-reaching strategies (such as broad match or feed-based DSA). Not only do you still get those vital emerging search terms, but you continue to dominate the SERPs in other ways.

The Results when PPC & SEO work together

Are without any doubt, sublime. However, it needs a team (SEO, PPC & the marketing team) to all work together. As you can see from the Universal Analytics graph below, September is when PPC & SEO combined forces:

How SEO and PPC work together to drive performance

If you would like to discuss an integrated SEO & PPC strategy for your business, get in touch with our specialist Digital team today.

Get in touch with the team