When most people hear the words SEO or PPC, they assume they are the same thing. Many job applications for marketing executives outline a requirement for “extensive knowledge of both SEO and PPC”, as if the two are so closely related, that if you know one, you must know the other…right?
In this article, I want to highlight the key differences between SEO and PPC, but also explore ways the two can be used in tandem to benefit your business, because they definitely can.
What’s the difference between SEO and PPC?
SEO and PPC campaigns tend to have the same goal – to get you more sales or conversions, but their methodology is differs.
The main difference is that PPC (Pay Per Click) doesn’t benefit your site’s organic ranking on search engines. It is simply a form of advertising used to drive traffic to your site.
Some campaigns are purely reactive and need the word spread quickly, PPC is great for these kind of campaigns as implementation is instant. If your company is new, PPC is a great way of getting your name out before dedicating time to crafting great organic content – this is where SEO steps up.
To achieve organic greatness, you must put in the work – there’s no quick fix. A combination of great, relevant content, solid website UX, trustworthy backlinks and much more can only be nurtured over time. A great SEO campaign can last anywhere from 6 months to 3 years, results measured over this time will show consistent, steady growth.
Think of PPC like renting a house – you pay monthly for the benefit of living there, but once you stop paying, it disappears.
Compare this to purchasing and renovating a house (SEO). Over time, your continued investments increase its value. Once the house is paid off, it’s yours – (and it looks great.)
Combining SEO and PPC
Below, I’ve added some awesome tips that I’ve utilised in the past that give you the best of both worlds. As an SEO, I’ve considered PPC “another world” in the past, but learning and utilising it made me realise how useful it can actually be.
Share Valuable Keyword Data
More often than not, you will have PPC campaigns running alongside your SEO. Using Adwords (PPC) and Google Search Console (SEO), track and measure your keyword Click Through Rate for both campaigns and integrate the high-converters into your overall strategy.
This can be an effective way to create fantastic, engaging meta titles and descriptions for your pages. Nowadays, an effective meta title is more of a call to action than anything else, so knowing which words/phrases generate a buzz is a quick way to get more people clicking onto your site.
As an example – let’s say your website sells custom made slippers. Your SEO campaign is going well and you have a high volume of traffic coming to your site, but purchases aren’t quite what you expected them to be.
This can be down to a number of on-site factors, but another to consider is that people are fickle. It might take them 4 visits, some research and a long chat with their partner before they pull the trigger on some sweet custom slippers. Some people might forget that you even existed!
This is where remarketing comes in..
With remarketing, you are able to purchase ad space in Google’s network to remind them about their love of felt-lined slippers. Do you ever find yourself browsing the web, when you see an advert appear for a product you checked out a few weeks ago?
By combining SEO and PPC, you can reach these visitors and encourage them to come back to complete their purchase.
Block Competing Brands
Let’s say your custom slipper company has started to gain traction, you have a recognisable brand name and appear in 1st position organically for this name.
On a desktop, this is great, you can clearly see you are front and centre for Fluffy Slipper Co, but what about on your mobile?
On a mobile, search results look entirely different – paid listings will take up the majority of your phone’s viewport, leaving little room for the top organic result. A sneaky tactic that many companies use via their PPC is to advertise in their competitors brand name results.
A great way to combat this kind of dickery is to set your PPC ads to display for your own brand name – let’s look at SEMRush as an example of how to do this correctly.
See how much of the page is taken up by PPC on mobile? Imagine if this was your brand name and the top result was your competitor? Savvy people would see through this, but there’s a chance that potential customers were just exploring their options – and your competitor has just provided them with a new one.
Quickly Combat Negative PR
Sometimes businesses screw-up, sometimes they’re constantly screwing up, combining SEO and PPC can be a great method of controlling the damage caused by said screw-up.
During a negative PR crisis, the key is to be visible, not invisible. Ensure you match your customers search intent and be present there to answer any questions or dispel any rumours.
Target keywords such as “Your Company Oil Spill”, “Your Company Your Employee” or “Your Company Product Defective” depending on the issue at hand. Then present the user with your response, the facts and your way of making things right, this could be a survey, an offer or simply an admission of guilt.
Use this negative as an oppourtinity to create a positive and put things right, not to block out any criticism – this only leads to more criticism.
Use the tips above to help your business navigate the trials and tribulations of the online world. It’s not easy, but mastering the art of balancing SEO and PPC will make it a hell of a lot less stressful.