Founder at M16 Marketing and a Forbes Agency Council member, Don is a leading marketing technologist on a mission to create success stories.
Are you struggling to choose between search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising? You can promote your website using either of these digital marketing tactics. Rather than only using SEO or PPC, though, you should consider using them both. When combined, SEO and PPC have a synergistic relationship that can help you achieve greater digital marketing success.
Use PPC ad copy for meta descriptions.
You can structure meta descriptions for your website using the same or similar format as your top-performing PPC ads. Search engines look at meta descriptions to determine how webpages should appear in the search results. If you add a meta description to a webpage, search engines will use it to create the description for the page’s organic listings. While you can always test different formats, PPC campaigns offer invaluable data that you can use to identify effective meta descriptions for your website. For example, when running a PPC campaign, you’ll gain insight into what ad copy attracts the most clicks. If one PPC ad has a significantly higher click-through rate (CTR) than all other PPC ads, you may want to use that ad copy for a meta description on your website.
Meta descriptions should be highly relevant to the webpages on which they are used. However, you can still analyze your PPC ads to determine the best way to format meta descriptions. PPC ads with a high CTR have compelling ad copy that encourages users to click them. When used for a webpage’s meta description, the ad copy will ideally have a similar effect by attracting clicks and, therefore, increasing the page’s organic CTR.
Share SEO and PPC keyword data.
Both SEO and PPC generate keyword data. With SEO, you can use Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster to identify what keywords users searched for to discover your website. With PPC, you can use Google Ads or Bing Ads to identify what keywords triggered ad impressions and ad clicks.
You can share keyword data between your SEO and PPC campaigns for a more effective digital marketing strategy. When performing SEO, log in to your Google Ads and Bing Ads accounts and run a search terms report on both platforms. As you review these reports, take note of any short- or long-tail keywords that are relevant to your website. Assuming you aren’t already targeting them, you may want to include these keywords in your SEO campaign.
When performing PPC, you can tap into your SEO keyword data to uncover new keywords on which to bid. In Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools, you’ll see which keywords triggered impressions and clicks for your website’s organic listings. By browsing this keyword data, you may discover new keywords to include in your PPC campaign.
Bid on higher-ranked competitors’ brand names.
If you’re unable to outrank a competitor’s website, create a PPC campaign that specifically targets their brand name. When someone searches for the competitor’s brand name on Google or Bing, they’ll see your PPC ad, which should appear above the competitor’s organic listing.
Some webmasters are hesitant to bid on competitors’ brand names in PPC campaigns, believing it’s against Google’s or Bing’s terms and conditions. In the past, Google prohibited advertisers from bidding on branded keywords. In 2008, the Mountain View company lifted this restriction. As long as you don’t use competitors’ branded keywords in your ad copy, you can target them in your PPC campaigns.
Optimize your website to rank high for overpriced PPC keywords.
Some PPC keywords are simply too expensive to bid on. If a keyword has both high commercial value and high competition, you may have to place a maximum cost-per-click (CPC) bid of $5 or more to generate impressions and clicks.
Don’t allow overpriced PPC keywords to drive down your return on investment (ROI). Stop bidding on them and, instead, optimize your website to rank high for them.
Target past website visitors with remarketing ads.
Remarketing ads offer an inexpensive and effective way to bring visitors back to your website. Available in Google Ads and Bing Ads, they are designed to selectively reach users who’ve visited or interacted with your website in the past. To create remarketing ads, you must add Google’s or Bing’s remarketing tag to your website. Once added, the remarketing code will create a list of users whom you can target.
Because they only target past visitors, remarketing ads work best when used in conjunction with other digital marketing tactics, including SEO. As your website’s search rankings increase, it will generate more organic traffic. Each user who discovers and visits your website by clicking an organic listing will be added to your remarketing list. You can then target these past visitors with highly relevant remarketing ads.
Enable site link extensions in PPC ads.
In addition to remarketing ads, another PPC advertising feature that can complement your SEO efforts is site link extensions. Also available in Google Ads and Bing Ads, this feature allows you to include multiple links in your PPC ads.
Standard PPC ads only support a single link. With site link extensions, you can include up to seven—the primary destination link as well as two to six site links. The extra links will make your PPC ads more visible and, therefore, encourage users to click them. According to Microsoft, PPC ads with site link extensions have a 30% higher average CTR than standard PPC ads. You can also use site links to drive traffic to lesser-known subpages on your website that would otherwise go unnoticed by visitors.
Promoting your website with PPC ads won’t improve its search rankings. Conversely, optimizing your website for organic search rankings won’t improve the performance of its PPC ads. Using SEO and PPC together, however, will help you achieve greater digital marketing success. You can structure your website’s meta descriptions using your top-performing PPC ads, share SEO and PPC keyword data, bid on competitors’ brand names and more.