Combining Forces « PPC & SEO » What the Left Hand Can Learn From the Right

Have you ever had a client who is crazy for PPC, but is so addicted to the instant gratification it brings that they don’t want to dabble in long-term SEO work? PPC can actually act as a tool to help you ease them into the world of organic search – a little duel-edged work which compliments both efforts can go a long way towards educating site owners in the basics of search engine optimization.

While they are essentially different marketing tactics, PPC and SEO overlap heavily in a number of areas, most notably keyword research. Of course you’re well aware that it’s never a bad idea to crunch some PPC data when trying to identify which SEO ranking goals to concentrate on, both for volume estimates and conversion potential, but how else can these two tactics borrow from each-other in a complimentary fashion? Over the years I’ve found that PPC marketing, which clients love because of the instant traffic and sales, can be a useful tool for explaining and opening the door to SEO work, which clients learn to love because of the cheap, renewable traffic.

PPC accounts are broken down into campaigns, ad-groups, and keywords — a structure which offers an intuitive way to explain to clients that their products or services can be viewed as a hierarchical structure. Sure it’s only three levels deep – campaign, ad-group, keyword – but it is a tree structure, and that’s what counts:

Google AdWords openly states that the relationship between the keyword you’re bidding on and the content of the landing page that the visitor is sent to bears directly on the quality score of that keyword (and hence, how much you pay per click). With Quality Score and conversion potential as the backdrop clients can get their head around the idea of creating specific landing pages for every ad-group in a campaign. The more focused and tight an ad-group is the better chance it has of living in Quality Score nirvana.

Taking this concept one step further it’s not difficult to explain that if every key-phrase had a specific landing page tailored to it, that landing page would likely stand the best chance at conversion. Nine out of ten times these PPC landing pages should be isolated, and excluded from search engine indexes, simply because they’re more than likely to contain substantial duplicate content.

But if you can convince the client that with a little extra effort, they can create sales pages that are worthy of being stand-alone useful content for visitors, why not integrate them into the site? Once someone is committed to the idea of creating a unique page for every productive keyword in a PPC campaign, it’s not a far leap to suggest that a couple of hundred words of unique text on that page is a good idea, heck, it can even be user generated – throw the titles into an H1 tag, create unique title tags and meta descriptions, and you’ve got product pages that are segmented into SEO silos naturally.

The crux of this transition from PPC landing page to SEO page is two-fold:

  • The content on every page must be unique and substantially different from other product pages, including title tags, meta descriptions and body text
  • The section and sub-section pages must link down to their appropriate lower level pages, and the product pages and sub-sections must link up to their appropriate parent pages. Just imagine every line in the above diagram being a link back-and-forth between pages. This is easily accomplished with breadcrumb navigation.

The concept of sharing landing pages and SEO optimized pages goes both ways — if your PPC campaign is suffering quality score problems, take a look at the landing pages. If they don’t contain the keywords that you’re bidding on, it could be the source of your problems. If the website you’re working on has information pages that are better associated with the keywords you’re bidding on, maybe you could make these information pages the PPC landing pages. If you’re hesitant to do this because you feel the PPC landing pages hold better conversion potential, it might be worth paying some more attention to the conversion potential of the site’s information pages.

There are many other ways in which organic search engine optimization and pay per click management cross paths’ stay tuned for continuing parts in this series: PPC and SEO — What the Left Hand Can Learn From the Right.

Naoise Osborne

Naoise Osborne

A former member of the Acquisio team, Naoise was the Search Engine Marketing Director at Catalytics, the services arm of Acquisio before that was sold off so that the company could focus more on developing the Acquisio platform. In his role at Catalytics, Naoise managed SEO strategy for agencies across North America. Today, Naoise is based in Montreal where he is a founding partner of AOD Media Group Inc., which specializes in SEO, analytics and Facebook marketing.

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