The Yin and Yang of an Integrated SEO and PPC Strategy

Business Marketing, Paid Media Advertising, Search Engine Optimization

Great partnerships complement each other — like yoga and spandex. SEO and PPC are the Yin and Yang of marketing – while we don’t recommend you design a tattoo out of them we do think you should consider building an integrated digital marketing strategy that combines their strengths. 

So, What is SEO Again?

To be a savvy online marketer you need to know the basics. Here is a speedy refresher course. 

First up is SEO – also known as search engine optimization. Sorry to be the teller of hard truths but If your website isn’t optimized for SEO then you are losing business. SEO gets you seen out on the world wide web. There are a few search engines like Bing and Yahoo but Google is the largest search engine so you have to make sure to it’s happy. Google’s spiders (no, not those kinds of spiders) crawl the web looking for the best sites – this means your content is clear with keywords, page titles, meta descriptions, scannable content headings, and descriptive image titles. All this makes your website easy to find and easy to read = relevant. 

The bottom line: write your website content for humans first, and make content readable and understandable, but know that this is a long game strategy. 

PPC Kicks Things Up a Notch 

PPC or pay-per-click is like skipping the wrap-around-the-block line at the new “it” restaurant and going straight to the front. You still might have to wait for a table but you certainly won’t be faint with hunger by the time you get your meal. With PPC when someone searches for specific keywords related to your business, your ad is moved to the top of the page where a searcher can find it. You pay when someone clicks on your ad. Rather than “earning” your website visits, you pay the search engine a small fee to play matchmaker and bring in relevant customers immediately.  

The bottom line: Getting traffic to your website is what keeps your business going. PPC gets more immediate results by putting you in front of potential customers in all stages of the buying cycle. 

Is SEO or PPC Better for My Business?

You don’t want to hear this but . . . it depends. Obviously the goals of your business are key to choosing which to invest in. SEO is a long term investment and one that most everyone should be doing, but the hows can be a bit trickier. Some of it depends on your industry – is your business e-commerce? Manufacturing? Brick and mortar retail? These things make a difference in how you move your digital marketing strategy forward. 

PPC offers faster gains when you have a short term goal you need to reach. However, while PPC is faster than SEO don’t expect miracles. It still takes time to find out where your audience is hanging and how to get the best ROI. 

With both SEO and PPC you need to strategize before you head out onto the interwebs. 

Like a good investment portfolio, we recommend both because diversifying is always going to help. Professional help will allow you to focus on your goals without worrying about what needs to happen next. 

SEO and PPC Work Hand in Hand

While SEO and PPC each have unique roles they both do have a goal in common —> bringing people to your website and business. 

SEO is highly cost-effective and is great at building brand awareness and trust but first people need to know you and your product exist. PPC offers a fast track to quick visibility and will help you target a very specific audience. 

Like chocolate and vanilla ice cream you don’t have to choose between SEO and PPC – we recommend you have both! When SEO and PPC work together you achieve your growth goals faster. 

SEO Builds a Strong Foundation for Paid Searches

SEO is for organic traffic. A well-developed search engine optimized site shows Google you are a serious business. Being a quality source of information (which means you got to take the time to create content) builds trust which makes Google very happy – they reward you by moving you up the page of search results. Building trust isn’t fast, but it is necessary. 

Once you have an SEO-friendly site your paid search ads have a better chance of showing up at the top of paid searches. 

PPC Fills the SEO Gaps

Your SEO efforts are really paying off. You are ranking number one in a particular keyword and looking strong. Why bother to pay for PPC ads? 

A Google study found that when search ads for a keyword were paused, approximately 89% of traffic generated by these ads were not replaced by the organic rankings. This means that pausing your PPC ads could actually negatively impact your traffic, even if your site is naturally ranking #1!

Paid search and SEO are two sides of the same digital marketing coin. They both rely on keywords to bring the ideal audience to your door. Most people search online before buying anything so having a strong presence online is pretty important. Building out a short-term and long-term strategy with PPC and SEO means your digital marketing strategy doesn’t have any gaps. 

PPC Lets You Test for SEO

Advertising online helps you glean useful pieces of data that then allow you to create better digital strategies and improve your ROI. Testing with PPC is fairly simple since there are fewer things to test. Mostly you will be testing: 

  • The headline
  • The body text
  • The link
  • The keywords the ad displays for

Like all good digital marketers know what you are testing your PPC ads for —> goals are always a good idea. 

The biggest takeaways you need to remember: 

  • Testing a headline will help guide you in making relevant content for your audience. 
  • The body text is similar to your page’s meta tag in search results and gives your audience an idea of what you are offering. 
  • The page your PPC ad link takes them to can make an impact on your conversion rates. 
  • Some keywords and phrases convert better than others but you won’t know which ones work best for you until you test. And test some more. 

Remember to test early and often, but only one thing at a time. 

Added bonus: by boosting your organic SEO ranking results with great content you can lower PPC ad spend to more targeted campaigns = saving money. 

PPC and SEO Together Leverages Data

Data is the lifeblood of all good digital marketing strategies. PPC ads aren’t limited to just Google and other search engines. Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram also have paid ads. Social media ads are more precise in their targeting and can help you collect data about your audience – what they like and don’t like – helping you create a more refined digital marketing strategy. All this can then be fed back into your SEO campaigns for improved results (and cost savings). 

You can also use paid social media ads on Facebook to test and pinpoint high performing ad copy which gives you the power to improve your on-page SEO strategy. When you find the audience that is engaged with your brand on certain topics, you can create more content for them <— which builds trust. (Are you sensing a theme?)

PPC and SEO Help You Dominate the Search Results

With SEO and PPC it is possible to show up as both an ad and the top organic search result when a customer comes looking. That means SEO and PPC helps you double your chances of clicks and conversions. It gives you the “double exposure effect” (<—we just made that up) where a customer assumes that, by seeing your business multiple times in the results, you must be trustworthy and reputable. 

Also — and let’s be honest here — people really don’t like ads. Interesting statistic — 53% of people will click on the first organic search result, while 33% will click on the first paid ad. By combining SEO with PPC you immediately get a higher click-through rate. 

Now Isn’t the Time to Hesitate

If keeping up with all the PPC and SEO data tracking is making you a bit cross-eyed don’t fret — you have other options! Hire trusted experts who will set your SEO and PPC marketing up for success. 

As a digital marketing agency in Portland, it’s literally our job to know how to be proactively engaged in your SEO and PPC campaigns. We test so you don’t have to. Digital marketing is an investment in long term ROI — putting it off only keeps you stuck going nowhere. 
Ready to get started? Let’s go.

About the Author

Nick Footer

Nick Footer is an entrepreneur and founder of Intuitive Digital, a national award-winning digital marketing agency in Portland, Oregon. With over 15 years of experience, he has helped hundreds of businesses improve their online presence through search engine optimization, paid advertising, and website design.

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