More often than not, marketers have search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) marketing in their web traffic toolbox but rarely use the two together. They either swear that search engine optimization alone will reap long-term benefits and traffic, or that PPC can net impressive results in a short period of time.
But can they work together?
In short, we reply with a resounding yes.
Similar to SEO, PPC can increase the performance of the quality content your team has invested time and money into creating by driving traffic, generating leads, increasing sales, improving online visibility, and boosting views.
The benefit of combining PPC with SEO strategies is that you can better push quality leads to your content upfront. This allows you to determine what is and isn’t working sooner — for example, what language resonates best with customers and potential customers.
Instead of forgoing PPC in favor of SEO, use it to augment your content marketing strategy and performance with these four tactics.
4 Tactics for Using SEO & PPC Together for Better Results
1. Use PPC Ads to Inform Content Strategy
Chances are your marketing and content team has developed a detailed keyword strategy for your blog and on-page content based on keywords that are relevant to both your product and your industry or customer base.
However, by using SEO alone, you restrict yourself to a slow trial-and-error process to find out which target keywords lead to conversions down the road. Not only is this time- and labor-intensive, but it also can waste opportunities to reach key customers where they spend the most time: social and search. PPC lets you get in front of customers on these channels, giving you access to a faster, more reactive testing ground for keywords.
In fact, Americans spend nearly 2.5 hours per day on social media sites where they see dozens of ads targeted to their own and their friends’ interests. On the search side, the average internet user uses Google to search 3-4 questions per day. Clicks on ads outnumber clicks on the top organic listings by nearly 2:1.
By employing PPC ads—and research about what customers respond to best on platforms like Google—you can learn from successful PPC keywords, which can boost click-through-rates by 15%>. Then use these insights to inform your SEO strategy and produce more relevant content.
Get the most out of a PPC-informed content strategy with these three tips:
- Conduct A/B testing by running multiple ads for the same content with different headlines to figure out which keywords and copy resonate most in ads. At the end of the test, update the content headline to match the best-performing ad. You can test various landing pages and their content for even more learnings.
- Within your Google Ads account, visit the “Keywords” report for each campaign you’re running. Here is where you’ll see the keywords you’ve designated for the campaign. Navigate to the “Search Terms” section of the report to see what people are actually searching for when they are exposed to your ad. Download this report and use it to inform phrases or other keywords for use in your SEO content.
- Use commercial intent keywords (those that include words like buy, discount, coupon, trial, etc.) to incentivize customers to engage with specific products and landing pages, moving them along your sales funnel. Use the same keywords in CTAs on the page you’re promoting to continue ushering customers down the sales funnel and boost SEO.
2. Use PPC Ads to Guide Customers Through a Content Journey
Expert marketing teams know the key to conversion success is a watertight sales funnel, and quality content plays an important role in moving customers along their buying journey. But waiting for organic traffic alone to guide customers to convincing content can starve your funnel and fail to grab the attention of buyers who are ready to purchase today.
Augment a strong SEO strategy—one that uses competitive keywords and well-formatted, topical on-page content—with PPC to incentivize customers to check your content and products more frequently than they would have otherwise.
This gives you extra touch points along the customer journey to ensure that buyers see content that motivates them to use your product or services.
One great way to improve customer experience with your content through a dual PPC and SEO strategy is to use product- and audience-specific ads to usher buyers to tailored landing pages. These pages share headlines, support messaging, and CTAs that match the ad they clicked on to create a cohesive experience.
3. Use PPC Ads to Prime Customers for Content & to Capture More SERP Traffic
Though it might seem redundant to pay for an ad on a SERP that your content already ranks on, this double effort can improve brand awareness, CTRs, and the likelihood that customers will remember your products and services after they’ve left the results page.
Users are more likely to click on top-of-page results and paid advertisements over results farther down. In fact, the top result typically receives 30% of the clicks. This rate decreases as you go further down the page, with result #3 getting only 10% of the clicks.
By creating two listings per search result page for your business, you create a passive brand affinity that increases the click-through-rate (CTR) of your repeat business. This can ensure that when customers are ready to buy, your company is top of mind among people who have seen these multiple listings before.
Multiple SERP results encourage new customers to click on your results faster, too.
This tactic can be augmented by creating customized content where the title and CTA match the ad, preventing bounces when customers are met with messaging that doesn’t align with the content they were drawn in by.
4. Use PPC and Social Media Ads to Build Traffic Quickly & Promote Content
Quality SEO content isn’t going to net you a boom in traffic overnight. But PPC and social media marketing can.
PPC marketing allows you to drive traffic to your site almost instantaneously by targeting your ideal customers where they—and their communities—spend most of their time online.
This is particularly useful when you’re starting a new website, launching a new blog, or introducing a new product.
Specifically, consider these seven opportunities to promote content using ads:
- On Facebook, use the Boost Post feature to promote content that has generated clicks and engagement in the past to capitalize on its reach and momentum.
- On social media, don’t just target your customers but also create campaigns focusing on their friends or look-alike audiences.
- On LinkedIn, use Sponsored Updates, which work like Boost on Facebook, to promote long-form content and specific landing pages. LinkedIn works particularly well for B2B companies—one case study showed that a B2B SaaS company saw a nearly 6x higher ROI on LinkedIn promoted posts than AdWords.
- Using Facebook Pixel, create a remarketing campaign around your content. Track who views your blog posts, and then advertise to them to encourage them to make a purchase, or read more of your content when new articles are released. Incorporating new content in your social media remarketing campaigns helps prevent ad fatigue when you’re running mostly bottom-of-the-funnel ads.
- Also using Facebook Pixel, promote content upgrades (such as whitepapers, webinars, or paid guides) to people who view your blog to encourage them to engage with your brand even more.
- On Twitter, craft 5-6 different tweets using a variety of headlines all promoting the same content. Share these as a campaign, and then use the top performer to inform the best long-term title for the page in question.
- In search marketing campaigns, try a counterintuitive approach to boosting traffic by creating ads that use negative, protest keywords around your product, service, and industry. Use them to busts myths and show how your product or service is unlike the rest.
PPC ads pick up before your SEO gains momentum, creating more buzz around your brand for the keywords you want to rank for and encouraging customer engagement from the get-go. Use the combination of these tools to create a marketing duo that can’t lose.
Master Content and Search with SEO & PPC
Using PPC ads to augment your SEO content marketing strategy will help grow your visibility, collect leads, and drive sales. But without the right strategy for both SEO and PPC, you’ll just be splitting work.
Combined with this post, our pay-per-click marketing guide and free trial of Alexa’s Advanced Plan will help you shape strategic PPC campaigns. These tools will help you research your industry and keywords, as well as use this information to support your overall marketing goals.