Many people favor SEO over PPC for its long-term benefits, and because it’s “free.”
But SEO takes time. From creating content, building links, optimizing pages, and waiting for Google to notice the changes, it can take months to see results. That means you don’t know right away if the time you spend on it is paying off.
PPC, however, offers near-instant results. And most ad platforms, like Google and Facebook, give advertisers data and insights.
So which tactic should you choose: SEO or PPC?
Well, to make the most of your inbound efforts, you need both.
In this blog post, I’m going to show you how to use PPC to increase your brand visibility, drive traffic, build links, and get useful data to improve your SEO results.
5 ways to improve SEO results quickly with PPC
Here are five ways PPC complements SEO by filling in gaps in the ways you’re reaching your target audience:
1. Increase visibility on search engine results page (SERP)
If you managed to push your page to rank first for your keyword’s organic search result, congratulations! But before you pop the champagne, did you notice the four websites listed before yours?
Many brands are tempted to call it a day once a search term ranks number one in organic results. But the top results on most SERPs are PPC ads. To make sure potential customers always see you first, don’t forget about PPC.
It’s even more important to run ads for target keywords that you’re not yet ranking for organically. They’re an easy way to increase your visibility on SERPs before your SEO efforts pay off.
While it’s true that first-page ads generally have a lower click through rate than first-page organic search results, people still click on them. In fact, 64.6% of people click on ads when searching for a product or a service.
Dominating both organic and paid search results will give the impression that you have an established presence in your market.
2. Use PPC to drive traffic and links for SEO
SEO relies largely on content. It’s what drives traffic, links, and domain authority. But for that to work, you need people to read, share, and link to your content.
PPC is an easy way to promote your content to a large audience who would never see it otherwise. It’s also cost-efficient since you’re bidding on different types of keywords than conversion-based campaigns.
The best part about paid promotion is that you get to choose who to show your content to. With Google, you can target audiences based on browsing activity. Social networks let you target specific job titles or interests.
Larry Kim, founder of Wordstream, runs PPC ads on Twitter and Facebook targeting influencers.
On Twitter, he imports a custom list of influencers
On Facebook, he targets audience by specific job titles:
This helps him get his content in front of reporters, bloggers, and industry influencers quickly, increasing the chances of his content getting picked up by popular blogs and websites.
It’s a shortcut to link building. Instead of sending tons of emails to get influencers to read and share your content, use ads to show them content.
If your content is good – which it should be – influencers will read and share with their audiences, driving traffic and links – both of which boost your domain authority for better SEO.
3. Use PPC as a testing ground for SEO
As mentioned earlier, the biggest downside of SEO is the waiting period.
All the new content you write, optimizations you make, and backlinks you build won’t work right away.
With PPC, on the other hand, you can bid on a new keyword or tweak ad copy, push it live, and get data five minutes later.
For example, from AdWords you can see:
- Which keywords are driving the most clicks?
- Which pages and keywords have better quality score?
- What are the bounce rates, exit rates, and time on page?
These numbers all tell you different things about how your audience reacted to your content. Do “how to” pieces drive more clicks than listicles? Do people leave your latest tutorial without reading the whole thing? That tells you how your content will perform with organic visitors, how strong your headline is, etc., and you can adjust your content accordingly.
4. Use PPC retargeting to nurture past visitors
One thing PPC can do that SEO can’t is retargeting, or targeting users that have interacted with your brand before on your website, social media, or email.
Earning organic search traffic is hard work. It might’ve taken you months, even years to earn that top rank for your target keyword, and once you’re there, you want your efforts to pay off. “Come to our website and give me your money,” you yell.
The bad news is, only 2% of first-time visitors convert.
That’s where PPC retargeting comes in. Some visitors just aren’t ready to buy the first or fifth time they visit your site. But you want to be on their minds when the time comes.
So you remind them of your brand with ads on Facebook or YouTube. Retargeted ads help nudge potential customers when the timing is right.
And instead of targeting website visitors in general, target visitors of dedicated landing pages you built to boost SEO. At Mention, for example, we run campaigns to target visitors who came to our “Find influencers” page, instead of just any page. We then wrote copy targeted to those visitors’ interests, instead of a more general focus.
5. Refine SEO strategy with PPC target audience details
A large part of PPC happens on social media. And it provides opportunities for highly targeted advertising.
Sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube allow you to target not just by age, location – down to the cities – but by interests, browsing history, and more.
For example, the Facebook Audience Insights tool gives you access to valuable demographic and behavioral data about your audience based on information they give Facebook.
To access this tool, simply head to your Facebook Ads manager and click on ‘Audience Insights’ in the left-hand menu.
Put in the country you’re marketing to, and then you can segment your audience by age, gender, interests, behavior, education, work, and more.
With this audience insight, you can show an ad only to 18-year-olds who like to order takeout and watch Netflix on the weekends, and have visited your or your competitors’ website.
Using this data doesn’t just help you get really precise (borderline stalkerish) with your targeting. It also gives you a gold mine of granular details about your audience.
Are you speaking to your audience with the right tone or message? Do you know what they like? Is your content adapted to their interests? Are you even targeting the right audience? These are questions you can get answers to with audience insights.
One cannot thrive without the other
By now you should see how PPC and SEO can (and should) stay BFFs.
Both go hand in hand in driving brand awareness, traffic, and conversions. But success won’t last without a consistent effort. You should always be testing, optimizing, and staying on top of algorithm updates and market trends. It gets less painful with time and practice.
Now onto you. Do your SEO and PPC teams work together? How’s it working out for you? Let me know in the comments!
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About The Author
Joei is the Content Marketer of Mention where she turns dry and uninspiring content to engaging narrative. Or at least she tries. Is usually eating otherwise. Connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn for all things marketing. Or food.