Immortal enemies or best of friends – where do SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and PPC (Pay-Per-Click) lie in the world of digital marketing? Do they stand at opposite corners at a crowded party shielding their drinks, or do they raise a glass to each other in a nod to each other’s merits?
This article attempts to answer key questions into how PPC and SEO should fit into your PPC digital marketing strategy, such as: How much budget should I be allocating to both? If I am budget constrained, then where should I concentrate my budget? I’m appearing high organically on page one, should I still bid on this keyword in AdWords?
Let’s first look at percentage share of clicks on the first page of google. This includes the 4 Google AdWords listings on the top of the page.
Image 1.1: Search Engine Results Page (Click Share)
A rough rule of thumb is that the top 4 ads pertain to approximately 20% of the clicks on page one of the Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP). The other 80% is made up of organic listings in which the click share diminishes dramatically with each decrease in position. For instance position one in the organic listings is gold as it attains over 40% of the clicks on page one of Google. Whereas positioning at the bottom of page one will get you roughly 8% share of clicks.
Any credible SEO expert will tell you the first goal of an SEO strategy should be to target the “Low hanging fruit”. These are the long tail keywords that are very specific to your particular business and in which the competition is not as high. It is important to understand the difference in time process involved in SEO and PPC. SEO is a longer process and you’re looking at weeks/months as opposed to the quicker wins with PPC. Also with SEO if you’re looking to compete with big brands on the high volume search terms then this requires a significant time investment. You’re going to need a website with depth, well structured & great content- and of course, many quality external links pointing to it.
In short SEO and PPC both provide value, with SEO requiring a larger budget if you are going to go after the high volume, highly competitive keywords that the “super brands” are also after and prepared to put major funds towards. As a result, the Return on Spend from SEO and PPC is often similar but both require different mindsets. It is important to note we are talking about PPC in the sense that conversion tracking is set up and the PPC Manager or agency is accurately tracking Conversions and CPA. Google AdWords for example is an auction-based system, in which it’s important to build data and react to the market on a frequent basis. SEO on the other hand requires a hell of an effort to get to the top of the Google rankings but is very fruitful once you get there. It is a myth that once you get there you can relax. Regular optimisations are needed as there are also competitors aspiring to be where you are investing big money in their marketing team to knock you off your perch.
On a daily basis, 15% of searches on Google are new! The digital world moves so fast and this is proof of that. PPC is well positioned to capture these searches. Broad Match Modifier keywords added to your account should pick a lot of these up if setup correctly and also the frequent analysis of search query reports as per best practice. PPC is necessary if you want to capture these type of searches.
As well as the reasons we have already touched on, appearing high in paid as well as organic can be useful if you want to promote a particular offer. This isn’t possible in Organic listings so it is something that can really drive CTR on Paid listings and capture those high intent moments where your customers are ready to purchase. Other obvious reasons to still bid on keywords where you are already ranking highly organically are that you have m-ore credibility, particularly if you are appearing in P1 on Paid and Organic. This gives more real estate on the SERP.
PPC is a data haven. Delving into keyword data can greatly aid strategy for SEO campaigns. A key question in SEO should be, “Is it worth my time to get onto page 1?” For example looking at keyword conversion data and CPA’s from AdWords can tell a digital marketing team if a keyword will provide value organically. The team can then decide if it worth investing their resources in going after that keyword or group of keywords.
PPC and SEO both come under the umbrella of Search Engine Marketing(SEM). Educating clients on how the two areas of SEM compliment each other, should be the responsibility of the SEM marketer. SEO and PPC can very much be part of the perfect cocktail of digital marketing and highlight why SEM is the most profitable area of marketing at the moment!