Every one of our clients has a very similar goal, which is to drive the greatest amount of sales and revenue while maximizing their ad budget in the most efficient way.
When it comes to digital marketing: paid search (PPC), and search engine optimization (SEO) are typically the main revenue drivers among your digital programs. They both show on search engine result pages (SERPs) when people are searching for your business or related products/services that your business sells.
With good SEO strategy you would be able to drive a lot of visitors to your site at minimal cost. However, SEO does not allow you to target specific search queries. Google bots scan your site for content and decide what SERP to put you on. This is where PPC comes in, with PPC you are able to increase your traffic volume based on your own terms. By bidding on specific Keywords, you are able to target qualified consumers.
A lot of new companies that have a solid SEO program do not see the value in running PPC concurrently with SEO. The thought process being that you would pay for clicks that you would have gotten for free otherwise. But think again, we are going to show you why it’s important to have both.
Why it’s important
Let’s assume you rank on the #1 organic spot for your brand. We will use a fictional brand here, let’s call it “Tommy’s Shoes”. Every time someone searches for “Tommy’s Shoes” in Google, they are the first result they see. If people are searching for the “Tommy’s Shoes” brand and they show up every time in organic results, then why pay to show up again?
Just because someone searches for your product or brand, doesn’t necessarily mean that they want to buy it from you. Let’s say you have re-sellers selling your products and also competing for the real estate on the SERPs. If these re-sellers are competing in PPC and you’re not, then they have an advantage over you.
PPC adds flexibility and speed to your digital programs. When running PPC ads you have the ability to change your copy in minutes to reflect a sale or a new product. It gives you the flexibility to test your brand message, see what resonates better with your audience.
It also allows you to expand your ad real estate. Ad real estate is key on SERPs, especially if you have a lot of re-sellers competing with you. By taking up as much space as you can on the top results, you are able to push re-sellers further down the fold. PPC offers you ads extensions to help you accomplish your SERP takeover. SEO does not offer you a fully efficient way to take up SERP real estate. An example of some extensions are sitelinks, and image extensions. Sitelinks can work in your favor by promoting different products and offers. Image extensions can be leveraged to showcase your product so that customers can actually see what they are about to purchase, giving them an extremely rich experience.
All of this will ultimately drive a higher number of clicks and sales for Tommy’s Shoes.
When running PPC and SEO concurrently it’s normal for there to be some overlap between the two. Customers that you might have been able to drive to your site for free, are now costing more money to convert. The important thing to understand is how the benefits of PPC outweigh the cannibalism from SEO. By running both PPC and SEO together you might be paying for clicks that you were getting for free, but you would also be driving incremental click traffic. Google Analytics will be a good resource for you to understand the dynamic between both programs.
Finding the Right Pockets
As we all know, competition is fierce, and it’s not easy to rank organically for every variation of your brand or products. PPC will allow you to rank for top products and categories where your organic ranking might not be very high. One great example would be bidding on misspellings for your brand like, “Tomy’s Shoes,” “Tommie’s Shoes,” and “Tpmmy’s Shoes;” which may bring in additional search traffic that you were not getting before. Knowing exactly which terms do not rank well organically could go a long way in helping you make sure you have a good share of voice across all of your product lines.
First, you need a backend attribution system to measure this accurately. If you are selling a product your analytical system should be recording at least an order id and channel of origin. If this is the case you should be able to record concurrently what your organic and paid search efforts are doing. If you are dipping your feet in the water you should launch a test on exact match on your keywords in paid search. Launch your paid search campaigns in certain brand terms where you know you rank for organic search, and run the test for a week a two. After the test you should be able to compare apples-to-apples and find if your PPC programs led to a lift in the metric that you are measuring or if it just led to cannibalism.
Ultimately, it’s not about which program is better because there isn’t an answer for that. Both SEO and PPC are extremely valuable to your digital strategy and knowing how to leverage the power of both of these programs will lead to a very strong and profitable digital campaign.