Hi Mark, Great article. Just one question: where does the data of this amazing chart about lift in site performance come from? Thank you!
How to Use PPC to Complement SEO
Recently I wrote a blog post on How SEO and Social Media Are Joining Forces, so I thought it would be beneficial to show how PPC can help to compliment SEO. Now that Pay-Per-Click (at least in Google) is becoming so saturated with advertisers, compared to 5-7 years ago, that you need to be smart with your PPC spend. Clicks that use to be $0.85 are now $3.30, clicks that use to be $3.30 are now $6.75 and there is no sign of it stopping. Unlike in 2003, you need to be clever and create a unique strategy as to how you are going to spend your paid search budget.
It is proven that when you use an integrated marketing approach with both Pay-Per-Click and Search Engine Optimization that you will see an increase in Clicks, Actions, Orders/Sales, Page Views, Visitors, and Time on Site. With that being said, if you can gain visibility in the organic, local business, and paid listings you are guaranteed to see better results!
Here are some ways that I have found to be very effective when integrated Pay-Per-Click to compliment Search Engine Optimization.
Finding Gaps in Your Organic Visibility
Like most companies, I’m sure you would love to rank organically for ALL of the keywords/phrases that are relevant to your industry. However in reality that is not going to happen without a lot of hard work and time. While you are building your SEO efforts for certain keywords, start to build an initial presence by bidding on those terms. As you start to creep onto the 1st page organically, you can begin to remove those keywords from your Adwords account. Once you are gaining good organic traffic you could either save that PPC ad spend or do the same thing with another sub-set of keywords.
The higher level idea is to supplement your SEO efforts with PPC, while you are in the process of building links and content for the specific keywords/phrases you want to rank for.
Finding the Money Keywords
Hopefully you have installed conversion tracking on your website so you can see which keywords are leading to conversions. If you notice that a set of keywords are leading to a positive ROI and are targeted to searches with buyers intent, you may want to try and gain organic and paid visibility. This way you can have more real estate in the SERPs for keywords that pay.
The Detecting Online Commercial Intent tool in the MSN adCenter Labs is a great tool for this.
Bidding on Competitors Names
Odds are you are not going to be able to rank organically for your competitors brand names. Typically when you search a company’s name in Google you are going to find their main website, blog, local business profile and social media profiles as the top results. However one way you can gain some visibility is by purchasing their brand or product name as a keyword in Adwords. Now sometimes Google will not allow you to bid on certain terms if they are trademarked, but it is worth it to add it to your Adwords account and see if it gets approved. Personally, I think of this as somewhat of a shady tactic, however I can see how this is just one form of guerrilla marketing that can be very effective.
What Google Says:
Advertisers are responsible for the keywords that they choose to generate advertisements and the text that they choose to use in those advertisements.
Google takes allegations of trademark infringement very seriously and, as a courtesy, we investigate matters raised by trademark owners. Trademarks are territorial and apply only to certain goods or services. Therefore, different parties can own the same mark in different countries or different industries. Accordingly, in processing complaints, Google will ask the trademark owner for information regarding where the mark is valid and for what goods or services. Please note the following about our complaint process:
- The trademark owner doesn’t need to be a Google AdWords advertiser in order to send a complaint.
- Any such investigation will only affect ads served on or by Google.
- Google’s trademark policy does not apply to search results. Our investigations only apply to sponsored links. For trademark concerns about websites that appear in Google search results, the trademark owner should contact the site owner directly.
- In the case of an AdSense for Domains trademark complaint, an investigation will affect only the participation of the domain name in question in our AdSense for Domains programme.
- Because Google is not a third-party arbiter, we encourage trademark owners to resolve their disputes directly with the advertisers, particularly because the advertisers may have similar ads running via other advertising programmes.
Creating Ad Copy for Low CTR
A great aspect to PPC advertising is you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. A strategy you can implement is create ad copy that is meant for the user to not want to click on the ad. Usually generic ads that don’t have a clear offer or call to action will help to reduce the click-through rate. In order for this to be effective, you need to have rankings in the organic listings with a compelling description so that the user will see both listings and want to click your natural listing instead. You can still try this strategy without having organic rankings, however it will be more of a branding strategy.
Fascinating stats in that graph. Ultimately, you're 45% better off if you have both PPC and SEO listings for a specific keyword. Likely, you will pay a LOT less per click too if you are in this situation. Nice graph. Here are my comments concerning some of the other points I read: MSN KEYWORD INTENT TOOL The MSN commercial intent tool is quite often inaccurate. I've often found keywords it predicted to be full of buying intent - which fail. And I have found ones it predicts as losers, which turn out to be winners. For perhaps 60% of the keywords it might give reasonable approximation, which is nowhere near enough to trust in my opinion. But I find my own guesses are far more accurate: "nokia abc123" - money word "learn spanish" - loser word "learn spanish dvd" - money word Also with truly high buying intent keywords, I find the CTR is through the roof, and so are the conversions. I have had campaigns where I get 10 - 20% conversions for bunches of high intent keywords... at least for a few weeks before somebody comes along and rains on my parade with click fraud (it happens a LOT on search ppc). CLICK FRAUD I know you didn't mention click fraud here, but having an SEO listing is a great way to see if someone is messing with your ppc campaign. If you ppc CTR is significantly higher than your organic one (and they are both near the top of the page), then there is a problem. It's a good reality check anyway. DOMINATE EVERYTHING If I can get a local biz ranking, an SEO position, and a PPC keyword above the fold for a good keyword with even a little volume then I am a happy camper (as long as the keyword is high intent and the value per customer acquisition is significant). Great article Mark. Thanks.
Hey Mark, Your title caught my eye. However, a couple of the tactics you are suggesting should be qualified. Bidding on competitors brands and creating ad copy for low CTR are both going to result in a reduced quality score *across the whole campaign*. Eventually all your other keywords are likely to become more expensive as a result. Unless you have no interest in ROI of your campaign elements that are receiving clicks, I would urge caution in using these two tactics.