Taking a brand’s online presence to new heights requires business owners to understand two key components of digital marketing: search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click advertising (PPC).
Individually, SEO and PPC offer unique advantages, but research reveals that a digital marketing strategy that intelligently combines the two is what businesses need to adopt, especially as we head to a post-pandemic era.
With online searches for products and services and Internet sales spiking in the last two years, customers will only expect more from the digital shopping experience on websites, e-commerce web pages, and social media platforms. Brands have competed in unexpected ways for customer retention, increased social proof, and search results visibility, all of which can be strengthened by maximizing SEO and PPC-focused marketing campaigns.
Both SEO and PPC are incredibly useful tools for boosting online traffic and helping your business take up most of the online real estate to get more conversions.
The benefits of an SEO-PPC hybrid are manifold. Below, the most considerable of these benefits are discussed to guide business owners’ digital marketing strategies.
Harnessing the full potential of keywords
In reality, SEO and PPC are both keyword-driven techniques. They’re similar in terms of helping brands increase their visibility in relevant search engines. SEO does this by helping brands use the right set of words and phrases to integrate in their online content to match the search terms their customers are using. SEO also tells you where these search terms should appear, whether in a title, an opening paragraph, or social media copy.
On the other hand, while PPC can also achieve this, it adds an added layer by providing real-time data on the effectiveness of a brand’s chosen keywords. That is, SEO campaigns are made more flexible and responsive by PPC because marketing teams can automatically know whether their keywords are working—or not.
PPC’s tracking of content containing certain keywords instantly tells you if adjustments need to be made or if your current SEO strategy is working as it should. SEO on its own cannot yield results as immediate as this, as it can take some time for the success of SEO campaigns to be quantitatively measured. Instead of waiting to react to SEO deficiencies, PPC gives digital marketing teams a chance to react right away.
Increase potential sales from e-commerce initiatives
E-commerce is another saturated arena for brands that sell online—so how do they make sure they stay above the flurry of competitors?
SEO remains to be the first step; a marketing team must be able to scout for the search terms their customers most frequently use that lead them to their products and services, as well as those adopted by competitors. Unfortunately, the process of using the right SEO keywords does not have a formula behind it.
But what you can do is this: begin with a root keyword and expand it with long-tail variations.
For example, if you’re a bakery or cake shop, you can start with a root keyword of “cake.” Long-tail variations add details to this, and you may end up with keywords such as, “best cake in Manila,” “popular cakes Philippines,” “must-try cakes Manila,” and “top cakes in Metro Manila.” Long-tail keyword variations will depend on your research and will ultimately be specific enough to lead to your website or web page.
PPC enters the scene if your long-tailed SEO keywords lead customers to an ad. This ad can be a text or image that directly leads them to a page with complete details of your product or service, plus a convenient way to add to cart and make a purchase.
Make social media advertising more precise
It’s not a surprise to anyone that brands, despite having ample resources to allocate to digital marketing efforts, would much prefer it if they were able to target their intended audience on social media as precisely as possible. Without specialized techniques, it would be impossible for ads to reach only 20 to 25-year-old Facebook-users who are women living in student-dense areas in Manila that want to start a gardening hobby, for example.
PPC will provide marketers the granular data they need about who exactly is most interested in their products and services. With this in hand, SEO strategies can be further refined; you can check what kinds of combinations of keywords and phrases these customers use the most, as well as on what platforms they use them.
Combined with social media information that can be gathered, you get a richer look at who you should be selling to—while avoiding wasted efforts on marketing to individuals who are much less interested in what you have to say. Once again, this is a process that can be executed in real-time so you can take advantage of opportunities the instant they arise.
Allocate digital marketing budgets more efficiently
In relation to more precise social media targeting, deeper knowledge of your target audience and what encourages them to explore your products and services will allow you to allocate your digital marketing budget more efficiently. In particular, you can re-allocate budget from non-performing segments to those that are performing. This is an all-too-critical move that would not be possible without PPC and SEO strategies that essentially direct you where to invest finances.
Encourage more organic vs. paid interaction with your brand
Dominating organic paid search results is still proven to be more powerful than its paid counterpart. Organic, rather than paid, search results are what increase traffic, build brand credibility, and convince customers that you’re the one to choose over everyone else. Remember that while a paid ad can call customers’ attention to your brand, it is not a guarantee that it will develop interest and eventually, loyalty.
A good strategy would be to improve SEO to boost organize search results and use PPC for paid ads for top search heightened visibility.
Use website analytics to your advantage
Website analytics are every marketer’s (virtual) best friend. They help you answer questions that would otherwise take longer to answer, and perhaps with much less detail. They help you gain insight into questions about whether your ongoing campaign is performing well, questions like the following:
- How many users does your website receive over a given period?
- What part of the world do they come from?
- How much time did they spend on your website reading your content?
- What are they reading?
- Did they type in your URL to visit you (direct traffic), or did they find you via Google or a social media post?
The answers to these questions directly impact SEO strategy that is intrinsically related to PPC. In particular, using Google Analytics 4, Google’s most advanced web analytics tool to date, you can be better informed on how to improve KPIs such as keyword rankings, time spent on page, organic traffic, as well as organic conversions by making appropriate changes to SEO and PPC.
Increase social proof to build trust
This article has so far focused on how to impress customers. But what happens when customers find themselves less than satisfied with your brand, and go public with these opinions and influence others? How do SEO and PPC lead the way in combating negative social proof?
It’s like the rest of the techniques mentioned here relating to visibility; you can look at a bad review and spot frequently used keywords. It’s then possible to deflect attention from this review by adjusting your content to contain less of the keywords this review features. Brands can essentially protect themselves from bad press by having the right tools to push damaging reviews towards the bottom of search results, these tools being combined SEO and PPC.
So much can be gained with a thorough exploration of how SEO and PPC integrated campaigns can work for you. Digital marketing will only continue to evolve, but these two strategies will remain at its core.