How SEO & PPC Work Together

When it comes to digital marketing, there are many different channels and strategies you can leverage to generate great returns for your business. While some of these can be extremely effective when implemented on their own, in the right circumstances, there are some tactics that are most effective when paired together to create a holistic marketing strategy. 

In this article, we’re going to explore how Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC) work together to get you the best results from your digital marketing. We’ll define what SEO and PPC is, the differences between them, and the best ways to ensure they’re working together to generate outstanding returns for your business.

What is PPC?

PPC stands for Pay Per Click Advertising. When most marketers use this term, they’re referring to Google Ads or Bing Ads, where you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. This is also referred to as paid advertising or SEM, which stands for Search Engine Marketing.

PPC advertising allows you to choose keywords that you want your ads to show for. As with anything involving a search engine, some keywords are more valuable than others. The benefit of PPC is that you can choose which keywords you want to focus on, so your budget is being used where it’s going to be most effective. 

As the name suggests, PPC is a “paid platform”, which means that you pay Google to show your ads at the top of search results. While there are a few caveats, it’s basically a pay-to-play platform. If you spend money, write relevant ads, and have a good product or service, you should see results.

What is SEO?

While PPC is a form of paid advertising, SEO is the “organic” (or “free”) side of things, so the approach here is quite different.

Search Engine Optimisation refers to the actions you take (or optimisations) to help your website appear at the top of the “organic” search results on Google and other search engines. These optimisations can take many forms, but can include ensuring crawl accessibility, technical fixes, writing compelling content, implementing keywords, updating metadata and more. 

One of the most important factors for SEO in 2020 is content. Think of it this way: Google is always looking to make sure its results show users the most relevant pages in response to what they’ve searched. With the introduction of machine learning into search algorithms, this means pages need to include not only content that superficially seems relevant, but also satisfies the users search intent. 

Another important component of SEO is building authority through off-page optimisation, which is also referred to as link building. This is the process of finding other trustworthy websites which would have a good reason to link to you. The more authoritative and relevant the website, the more Google is able to trust your website as an authority. Google aims to rank pages highest that they deem to demonstrate expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.

What is Holistic Search?

While there are distinct differences between approaches to PPC compared with SEO, this doesn’t make them two completely separate arenas. In fact, SEO and PPC actually work best when paired together to create a holistic search strategy.

A unified approach to paid and organic search means your website will take up more real estate on the search engine results page, which contributes to an improved click through rate (CTR). This is because more touchpoints and increased exposure to a brand in turn improves overall brand resonance and trust. Resulting in more traffic to your website, leading to more sales and enquiries. Using organic and paid search in harmony also reduces unnecessary paid expenditure by focusing paid investment on low-organic strength areas.

Holistic search diagram
Search Engine Results Page (SERP)

The Benefits of Holistic Search

So, how do SEO and PPC work together to benefit your business? While there are many advantages to adopting a holistic search strategy, we’ve outlined the key benefits below.

Increased Visibility in the SERPs

If you’re implementing effective SEO and PPC strategies, and both are optimised, your website will be taking over a good portion of the search engine results page (SERP). 

More people than ever are searching on mobile, so if your business has both a paid ad AND an organic listing near the top position, you’re taking up to 66% of the screen real estate. That speaks volumes for your brand and greatly increases your chances of attracting relevant visitors who will convert into paying customers.

Time Difference Between PPC & SEO

The nice thing about PPC is it’s next to instant. You put some keywords in, you start showing ads, and you have the chance to make some sales. 

NOTE: while it’s “instant” in a sense, it still can take months to really dial in profitable results.

SEO is a longer term strategy. You watch for improvements little-by-little, month-over-month. The idea is to rank for a lot of the same search queries as you do for PPC, because if they click the organic result, you’re not directly paying for that click. 

PPC Data Can Inform Your SEO Strategy

The advantage of running PPC ads alongside your SEO strategy is that you can use data from your PPC campaign to identify keywords that are especially valuable to your business. It’s in your best interest to make sure you rank well organically for these keywords as well, so you can save on ad spend.

SEO Can Make Up For PPC Losses

Sometimes, PPC campaigns may not bring in the returns you’re expecting straight away. One of the factors that can play into this is the industry you’re operating in and how much competition there is in the market. The good news is, if you’ve implemented an SEO strategy alongside your PPC campaigns, these optimisations can pick up the slack of your PPC ads. 

You don’t want to stop paying for PPC entirely, because that also gives your competitors space to pitch your potential customers. So, if your PPC competitors are paying for your keywords and exorbitantly driving up the cost per click, your SEO efforts can ensure your ad spend isn’t breaking the bank and maintain profitability.

How PPC Can Affect SEO

So how does PPC affect SEO? While it’s clear that there are many benefits to combining your SEO and PPC efforts, it’s important to note that PPC doesn’t have a direct impact on SEO, but rather it affects SEO indirectly.

It does this by informing your SEO targeting and keyword choice by helping you discover which keywords your customers are searching for from your PPC data, so you can adapt your SEO strategy accordingly. It also drives a steady new stream of visitors to your site. Their engagement with your site (time on site, pages per visit, returning visitors), as well as increased traffic, all helps your SEO.

How SEO Can Affect PPC

On the other side of the coin, if you’re regularly conducting SEO optimisations to your website, this can vastly improve the results from your PPC campaigns by providing your website visitors with a better landing page experience.

This is because SEO tactics and technical optimisations can be used to improve page load speed and ensure your on-page content is relevant and high quality. This will in turn increase your PPC ad scores and decrease your landing page bounce rate, allowing for a better conversion rate for your PPC campaigns. 

Great written content will also immensely improve your PPC Dynamic Search Ads (DSA). This is because dynamic ads are created on the fly by Google’s AI and are informed by the content on your website. The better and richer the written content, the better and more targeted the Dynamic Search Ads will be.

Cultivating A Holistic Digital Marketing Strategy

Although both SEO and PPC will work well in any marketing strategy, a holistic search approach will allow for the best results and returns for your business, in both the short and long term. 

The truth of the matter is, most customers will go on a journey before they buy your product or make contact with your business. The more touch points you can get in, the better, whether that’s through paid ads or organic listings in Google search results. 

At Springboard Digital, our flexible packages allow you to combine our SEO and PPC services to generate success for your business. Click here to find out more about our SEO and PPC plans or contact us to learn how we can make SEO and PPC work together for your business.