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.
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.
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 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.