Today’s post is from Eric Lander (@ericlanderseo), an SEO consultant who has worked in the industry since 2001. In his current roles as Senior Manager of SEO at D50 Media and Organic Search Strategist at How’s Your Pony?, Eric crafts strategic optimization plans and advises clients on how to increase their SEO rankings in Google and Bing. You can follow his tweets at @ericlanderseo.
This may be a weird way to start my post on the PPC Associates Blog, but I have to admit it: I’ve never been a fan of PPC advertising. Ever.
Sure, I’m aware of the opportunities to use PPC for driving online business. I’ve spent plenty of time managing some impressive budgets in AdWords and adCenter, too. But I’ve always wondered one thing (and I’m sure I’m not alone):
Why would you want to pay for traffic that you could work to earn for free?
For the longest time, everyone thought I was crazy. As the economic climate of our country and industry changed, though, so too did the perception of my insanity. PPC advertisers wanted to learn how they could spend less while generating more. They wanted to learn how they could score traffic without opening their wallets. They wanted to stop ignoring SEO. And as I learned what PPC practitioners did, I became one of them.
As we evolve as Internet marketers, we need to open ourselves up so that we’re constantly learning, doubting, and testing.
In this post, I’m going to share a few ways in which I like to share information between a successful PPC campaign and ongoing organic SEO efforts.
Spending Dollars to Make Sense
Imagine if you could take the most expensive keywords in your campaigns and prominently rank for them in the organic search results? Then, as you begin to rank for these terms, you can pull back or pause PPC advertising on them entirely while scoring hundreds or thousands of dollars while maintaining the same rate of engagement.
While this is the simplest approach to running complimentary SEO and PPC campaigns, it may well be the most difficult, too. Most often you will find that the higher the CPC and search volume is for a particular term, the more competitive that term will be in the organic search results.
You need to start with realistic expectations when you employ this strategy. Exercise patience and commitment to see the strategy through, and continue to build content, social signals, and links to support the effort.
Mine Analytics for Overlapping Keywords
If you’re really in a pinch and need to stop spending immediately, look for keyword phrases that drive traffic from paid search as well as organic search results.
The key here is to hone in on organic results where you’re already in the mix – but your paid ads still command more click-throughs.
This particular scenario suggests that if you’re on the cusp of page two of the organic results, you have already become a strong enough player in the organic SERPs to move higher.
Closely analyze what those above you are doing. Are their titles more succinct? Do they have deeper content to support the topic of the keyword phrase? Short of getting into a deep analysis of SEO, subtle changes to an already ranking page can often boost you a few more places in the right direction.
Glean PPC Messaging for Organic Content
Regardless of how well your site is organically optimized, you have to admit that the refined controls of paid search advertising are tremendous. With AdWords, for example, you’re allowed to run very specific ads with unique link titles, messaging and landing-page components.
You won’t have that same luxury in your organic efforts. While you can work to make matches happen, you’re at the search engine’s mercy when it comes to matching up a particular page for a particular keyword.
The key here, though, is that content shapes SEO. A strong page of on-site content can produce links, rank organically, and drive customers to conversion elements simultaneously. Therefore, you have to refer back to your paid search success stories and find out what type of content resonates with your audience.
If your site content is poorly written or if the messages are inconsistent, you could be creating a major disconnect for new visitors to your site. Conversely, if you replicate the tone and approach you used in your successful PPC campaigns, your organic pages should produce stronger results for you.
Extract Additional Value for Paid Search Traffic
For my final tip today, I want you to think about all that traffic you have been spending money on. For every click that doesn’t convert, what are you gaining? Analytical data is important – but in a world where social interaction and linking fuels SEO success, is there more you could be doing to engage your PPC referrals in other ways?
Adding some simple socially driven tools to share, like, and tweet the page out is a great start. If you’re paying to promote your top-converting pages already, driving more relevant traffic to them certainly cannot hurt.
Continuing on this path, don’t overlook the actual on-site SEO of your PPC landing pages. While they’re often too thin or too specific to go after big-time organic search terms, it’s not uncommon to repurpose a paid-search landing page to also rank for a few long-tail terms.