Online Marketing Blog

SEO And PPC Should Be Friends – PPC Management & SEO Crossover

While most online marketers agree that SEO and PPC are an essential in search engine marketing, many people are on only one side of the fence. Todd Malicoat has a rundown of why he thinks SEO is better than PPC. Although Todd makes some interesting points, I think that SEO and PPC should go hand in hand together.

PPC should compliment SEO and Vice Versa. Here I have outlined eight reasons that SEO and PPC should be friends.

1) Keyword Tools Are Not Accurate.
Wordtracker Even Wordtracker says its database is skewed. How many times have you looked up Overture, Wordtracker, keyword discovery etc. optimized your site, gotten the number one position for that keyword only to find that you are getting more traffic from the 4th or 5th most popular search term in the keyword database? With PPC you can get the raw data. Assuming there is minimum skew from invalid clicks. If you run a broad match campaign over over a set period, you can mine the REAL most popular keywords from your server logs.

2) Not All Keywords Convert.
keyword conversion Having ten thousand unique visitors a day come to your site using a search term is all well and good. But if they don’t convert, that’s essentially a waste of bandwidth. (Assuming you are not running a branding exercise). SEO takes time. How does spending six months optimizing your site for a search term, getting the number one spot and finding out none of the traffic converts sound? With a PPC campaign you can find out what keywords convert BEFORE pouring your time into an organic SEO campaign. Although Brad Geddes mentions how various traffic sources convert differently , a general conversion idea can be gained from PPC and applied to your SEO efforts.

3) Meta Descriptions Are ESSENTIAL.
Meta DescriptionsMeta descriptions are the little snippets shown from your site in the search results. These snippets are essential to getting users to click through to your site in organic listings. What do you think works better, a meta description with the text of your navigation links or a meta description with a tested call to action and successful click through rate? With PPC, you can optimize your call to action and description to maximize your CTR on organic listings. It may even be possible to get a higher click through rate in the second or third organic position if you have the perfect meta description. With PPC you can split test many different descriptions and see which performs best. Then add the best performing PPC creative to you meta description tags.

4) Relevance Is Rewarded.
Increase Quality Score Results Google (And MSN/Yahoo!) wants to provide relevant results in the organic search results. Knowing and improving your quality score for certain keywords can reveal how relevant Google thinks your site is for any given keyword. Although this quality score is fairly subjective, it offers a good indication. In Google, keywords used in the query are bolded in the title, meta description and URL of the search results. With PPC you can find what keywords work and what keywords don’t and optimize your organic listings according to that data.

5) Long Tail Gold And Mining Only The Valuable Terms
LongTail Search Running a broad match PPC campaign and mining long tail keywords THAT CONVERTED can give you an absolute goldmine of information. You can obtain a number one organic position for many, MANY long tail keywords by simply getting a SINGLE back link with that anchor text or writing an article on that exact topic. You can also find from this information what users really wanted to know and create a new page on your site to answer this exact question. Even if it is an FAQ answer. You can utilize your existing content to answer this question in just a few minutes.

6) Landing Pages Can Be Optimized Quickly.
Google Website Optimizer When you reach that number one organic position for your all done right? Wrong. Getting the visitor to your site is just one phase in the online marketing mix. Once that visitor reaches your page, you need to convert that visitor. With PPC you can split test different landing pages and use multi variant testing to make the ultimate landing page. So when you reach that coveted number one position, you are ready to convert that visitor. While landing pages can of course be optimized using organic traffic, why wait?

7) The Power Of Branding.
RedFly Search Engine Marketing This subject has been beaten to death but it is well know and documented that the more real estate your brand occupies on any given SERP the more trust and recognition you will receive. If you have a well optimized PPC campaign and landing page you should be able to convert the visitor who clicks on your paid listing anyway. Every visitor to your site has a value. If you pay less for the visitor than the visitor is worth, this is a profit.

8) Official Search Engine Marketing Reps Are Partners.
The Big Three Any decent search marketing company should have a rep with the major search engines. The RedFly Google Adwords rep has given us invaluable information on optimizing clients campaigns and given us access to many additional related and semi related keywords allowing us to expand our market reach AND our clients market reach. Applying this additional information to the above seven steps, traffic and conversions can be increased ten fold.

In conclusion, most search marketing agencies offer at least an organic SEO campaign or a paid search (PPC) campaign. But to maximize your ROI it is our opinion that SEO and PPC SHOULD go hand in hand to compliment each other on exposing your company or brand to not only as many people as possible, but as many of the RIGHT kind of people.

  1. Christine Parfitt Says:
    March 25th, 2007 at 11:12 pm

    Hi Dave,
    I came across your blog after seeing it on Andy Beal’s request for feeds. I subscribed to the top 20 or so on the list and I’ll keep the feed for any I like. That’s yours so far :)

    This is a good list and I totally agree with all of them. I had to try hard to think of any I would add. The only one I could think of was the speed and flexibilty PPC offers to respond to one-off events. A client of mine put together an accommodation and tickets package for a major golf comp being held nearby. I had an ad running with a custom landing page within half a day. SEO isn’t nearly as flexible for this type of scenario, especially the flexibility of being able to pick the exact time period for a one-off campaign to get targetted traffic.

  2. Dave Davis Says:
    March 26th, 2007 at 9:22 am

    Thanks Christine, I am actually subscribed to your feed since I found you on MBL a WHILE back. (I love Marketing Experiments too!). And thanks for keeping me in your list.

    I completely agree with your addition, but the post was actually about how PPC and SEO should accommodate and complement each other. I run a lot of affiliate offers and seasonal offers seem to generate the most revenue. Most people steer clear of them because of the limited time they have. Although if you pushed an offer the year before you are pretty well set up. In this case, your PPC campaign the previous year can be an absolute GOLDMINE because you have most of the raw data you need and your PPC campaign has a high quality score so you do not need to work as hard to get updated information.

    In your example, you would need to know about the event well ahead of time to make any sort of impact SEO wise.

  3. Phil Taylor Says:
    April 1st, 2007 at 6:46 pm

    Thanks for the great info – I am researching PPC for a few web ventures and the wealth of available information on the net is pretty overwhelming. Your list above (and other info in your blog) is concise and easy to understand. Your blog is now bookmarked and I will return often to see what new gems you will part with.

  4. M Buckley Says:
    April 2nd, 2007 at 6:13 pm

    Congratulations on making computing and search engines so interesting.


    M Buckley

  5. tmoney101 Says:
    April 3rd, 2007 at 1:43 pm

    Whats up Dave,

    Just found your post via my mate todd @ stutndubl. I like to believe what you have explained above. I try and convince many clients that ppc and seo do work hand in hand however most of them dont want to belive me.


  6. Gavin Says:
    April 3rd, 2007 at 11:52 pm

    Interesting post Dave and its points that a business probably don’t even think about, a tmoney is seeing.

    PPC is great for turning revenue around when a site is in the lower ranks but the worst outcome needs to be thought on. What happens if that PPC budget ran dry and the site had no ranking in the search engines? Not only that, targeted traffic still comes via the Search Engines which means more business so SEO is also essential.

  7. Dave Davis Says:
    April 5th, 2007 at 6:18 pm

    Thanks for stopping by Gavin. Yea, I see it all too often, it’s either one or the other. PPC budget runs dry, or SE algorithm changes/penalties cause a company to solely depend on PPC (And hence spending a lot of money on an SEO consultant to help retain some organic rankings).

    It’s a pitty not more SMEs (And larger corps) in Ireland still do not get it.

  8. Gavin Says:
    April 5th, 2007 at 8:13 pm

    Dave I have seen it with a previous employer in the States. They pour thousands into their PPC budget and nothing into SEO. Being one of the best & oldest companies their industry they cant even be found in the first 10 pages of Google for their main keywords.

  9. Dave Davis Says:
    April 5th, 2007 at 8:20 pm

    It’s a shame to see, but I also see it as a chance for the little guy to make a mark. Many industries are only waking up to the benefits of search engine marketing, let alone realizing the benefits of both PPC AND SEO.

    I think because of the global link popularity factor in organic search engine ranking, if your not thinking about SEO now, in the future, it will be more difficult, if not impossible to catch up.

  10. Richard Hearne Says:
    May 2nd, 2007 at 6:45 am

    Of course here’s to hoping that SEO and PPC become even better friends in the future ;-)

    Time will tell, but I think the future is bright :)

  11. Dave Davis Says:
    May 2nd, 2007 at 5:48 pm

    I hear you Richard. :) Those who are ahead of the game are acting now ;)

    I love these PR6 post pages. For some reason, they are a comment magnet :P

  12. Richard Hearne Says:
    May 2nd, 2007 at 7:35 pm

    Wow. PR6 eh?

    Not a word of a lie – it was the 296 backlinks that attracted me :)

  13. Gavin Says:
    May 4th, 2007 at 9:06 pm

    Hmmm PR6 you say.

    If you see different people leaving comments on here from my IP it isn’t me ok?

    You know something has been done correctly when you get a PR6 on a blog post.

  14. Dave Davis Says:
    May 4th, 2007 at 10:28 pm

    Gavin, you deserve more than one the amount of linkage you have provided Redfly Marketing.

  15. Matt Keegan Says:
    May 17th, 2007 at 10:23 pm

    I pulled off PPC ads from my main landing page site ages ago, but I am rethinking bringing them back in. I have tons of internal links on the page and took the ads away to make room for these links. Unfortunately, I have lost a piece of revenue that I could certainly use. Thanks for the “conversion” reminder — I need one desperately!

  16. WoW Gold Guide Says:
    January 19th, 2008 at 9:17 am

    This is an excellent, cuts through the crap post. I’m going to advise all clients read this prior to commissioning SEO work in future.

  17. Dubai Web Design, Development Says:
    August 20th, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    very good 7 points. If guy like me don’t have a big budget and can’t afford PPC for his website, i prefer to use other free SEO TOOLS, like WEB CEO. It gives you very good report , keywords score, rating popularity and every thing you want.
    I think if we didn’t use PPC campaign and we go for the one link building , submission(SE, DIR), blogging and articles etc….
    it can still give you good value visitors and increase PR also.
    I know most of you didn’t agree with me but there has to be some alternative of PPC.

  18. Michael Tighe Says:
    September 5th, 2008 at 9:30 pm

    I’ve read through most of your articles today, I started as a developer and built a specialty around organic (on-page) SEO.

    I have to thank you, as your blog has provided some of the most relevant and helpful information as I move into paid search.

    The number one thing I have noticed, diving into clients old paid search campaigns, is the insight you can gain for organic executions.

    Thanks again,

  19. Loken Says:
    February 13th, 2010 at 3:57 am

    Great.I would like to say often people ask us about SEO factors and how fast we can help them rank… basically if you have a brand new site called ‘’ and it has no track record, you are not going to compete well against right away. Now, if you spend a lot of time and money on content, PPC and SEO combined, you could create an entity that may eventually become an alternative to the big name online brands , but it will be difficult to build trust…

  20. braid weave Says:
    February 18th, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    Pay per click can help get your blog/website off the ground and can be used for very specific purposes. But organic traffic, accomplished through SEO efforts, is where the vast majority of effort should be spent.

  21. Pat Says:
    April 5th, 2010 at 12:25 am

    I found this a highly useful post – even a few years on – thankyou !

  22. Kris Says:
    October 15th, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    Just came across this article – still relevant even if written a few years back. They definitely compliment each other. I think PPC is a great way to test out which keywords generate more leads/clicks, and then find the best converting keywords and focus on them for organic search. Like how you talked about Long Tail – I just finished reading that book by Chris Anderson!


  23. marcus Says:
    October 26th, 2011 at 6:56 am

    This definitely holds true even though there has been a lot of changes in the seo world as well as in ppc management. I strongly agree with what you have written here. They’re really helpful especially to those who wants to start this line of work. Two thumbs up! :)

  24. Brand Monitoring Says:
    February 10th, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    I manage many clients and they all love to see their ads showing up on the ppc results. Once they have the ppc campaign running I try to explain how powerful organics are for niche keywords but they don’t want to hear it. The numbers are staggering in the favor of organics vs ppc. I think a blend of both is ideal. Thanks for the read!