Benefits of Combining Earned SEO and Paid Search
If your site has deep success in earned SEO and your approach to paid search seemed isolated from it, both should share the same focus – solutions found in search that match user intent.
We find at least 5 reasons why your business should consider running a Google AdWords paid search campaign alongside your earned SEO strategies. Read our 5 benefits listed below when paid and earned search teams collaborate.
Earned SEO is getting harder and paid search should not be evaluated exclusively apart from these efforts. Even if you have gained significant success in levels of search visibility, paid search will improve on results, not compete with them. Below are our top 5 reasons your business can benefit from running aa AdWords paid search campaign in addition to your successful SEO technique implementation. drive up your profits from paid search by intertwining efforts better with organic SEO teams – today! Migrating to faster loading AMP pages will benefit both your earned and PPC efforts.
“With SEO, you earn the right to rank in search results. You pay for that right in PPC.” – Practical E-Commerce
Winning in organic search marketing means you earned the spot in SERPS; with Google Ads you pay-to-play.
The Full Scope of Paid Search Marketing
Paid search marketing strategies encompasses Search engine marketing (SEM), search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC), cost-per-click (CPC), cost-per-impression (CPM) search engine advertising, sponsored listings, paid for placement, mobile display ads, and more. It is a very effective way to reach more prospective buyers.
It is proven by numerous studies and market experts that if digital audiences find the organic content of a website in the search results, they prefer to click on their paid links. After getting your website listed in the top 3 results in the organic category, it becomes easier for Internet users to trust you and later click on your paid content.
For more productive and effective outcomes in both areas, take wins from highly ranked organic pages and apply them to your company’s paid ads for broader exposure and trustworthy influence. At their core both links from paid AdWords advertising and earned links are interconnected and have inter-dependence on each other. Don’t overlook the benefits of their mutual relationship. Marry them and gain the rewards in an integrated approach.
5 Ways That Earned SEO and PPC Synergy and Collaboration = Strength
1. Your Business Brand is More Clearly Identified
2. Double Your Site’s Visibility in SERPs
3. Increase Click-Throughs across Paid and Earned Search
4. Earned Search Rankings Are Volatile; Paid Ad Rank Is Not
5. Marrying Earned and Paid Marketing Teams Reduces Costs
5 Benefits of Earned & Paid Search Teams Working in Tandem
1. Your Business Brand is More Clearly Identified
When it comes to the big data you have accrued and interpreted to understand your tracking conversions, you know that which consumers are seeing your brand and visiting your site via owned, paid, and earned media by their journey to purchase. By determining optimal paths and messaging along their journey, digital marketers can make better-informed decisions that are critical to your success.
You likely need your company’s brand (big or small) to be in front of more potential buyers and move them to the top of the funnel with your non-branded paid and organic search terms can do their job. First, ensure that the bottom of your funnel is working correctly and then try finding a strategy related to how you’re going to increase acquisition to the top of your buyers funnel. Search is often the catalyst of performance.
Once more consumers are in your funnel, you can go back to those who aren’t converting and use paid search retargeting to re-engage them. The higher number of prospective consumers that you can turn into buyers’ means that you now have more advocates who are talking about your brand. Ask them for business reviews, product reviews, and if they are willing to comment or share with their network across social channels.
This is known widely as push vs. pull marketing and leverages both earned and paid search to expand recognition of your brand.
2. Double Your Site’s Visibility in SERPs
Google search engine results pages (SERPs) are becoming more visual with advances in algorithms that may contain rich cards, featured snippets, the Google Answer Box, and a lot of information with ad extensions for mobile paid marketing. To both compete and win for searchers’ attention, your business can gain the added visibility necessary by intertwining efforts across paid search teams and the individuals who are working on earned search for you. Yes, getting on the first page is great, being listed twice or three times is even better. We have times when our paid ad for a client shows at the top where paid results are listed, in the Google Knowledge Graph on the right, and within first-page organic SERPs.
This consumes a tremendous amount of real estate, especially if both your earned search ranking and paid ads are listed in the top three organic and top three paid positions respectively. Your advantage is clear if all other ranking factors are comparable.
3. Increase Click-Through across Paid and Earned Search
First, let’s clarify, what is web traffic?
When referencing “organic traffic”, digital marketers are referring to the visitors that click through to your website in responses to unpaid (“organic”) search results. Organic traffic is earned whereas paid traffic encompasses your site visits generated by paid ads. It is considered “organic” when someone discovers your website by using a search engine textually or by voice activation rather than being “referred” to you from other website.
The best way to improve organic traffic levels to your website is to publish quality and relevant content that a high number of people are searching for. While you need a full stack of search marketing strategies used for acquiring new visitors, improving organic traffic is called SEO – search engine optimization and has the highest ROI for effort. Relevant web traffic brings clicks to your key content.
What is click-through rate?
A pages click-through rate is the percentage of users who click on a specific link to the number of total users who view a page, email, or paid advertisement. Search marketers use it to measure the success of an online advertising campaign for a specific website.
One benefit that comes naturally is an increase in search visibility because you have increased the number of clicks to your website, which earns more domain trust. While it still holds true that clicks are not a good measurement of success, they are a preliminary step in better conversion rates. But you need to be on the first page of search results. Brian Dean of Backlinko analyzed first page results and found that the Number 1 result in Google has a CTR of 31.7%.
His What We Learned About Organic Click Through Rate article also talks about how there are cases where CTR and % of clicks may be a little bit different. There are optimization tactics that you can apply that will benefit both paid and earned CTR rates.
Google headed a search study in 2012, which summarized that 50 percent of clicks generated by paid ads are not exchanged by organic clicks when the ads are gone and the website has the top position organic search ranking. The study additionally indicates that as the organic search ranking lowered, the percentage of clicks not replaced by an AdWords paid ad increases. This supports the premise that organic search alone cannot possibly drive as much wanted traffic to a website as organic search combined with paid search. Conduct even a low budget paid campaign and watch the increase in your earned results as a correlation.
4. Earned Search Rankings Are Volatile; Paid Ad Rank Is Not
Your earned rankings are subject to daily fluctuations. One day your web pages are in the top three for a high-priority search term, and the next day it seems to have disappeared from the first page in SERPs. Given that we now know that Google’s algorithm update continually and user-interface demands change, organic rankings seem more hot-blooded and fluid than ever.
Putting your marketing dollars into AdWords is different.
After you have optimized your AdWords account, quality score, budget, and bidding strategies, your Ad Rank’s position in relativity to other ads is typically fairly consistent. Paid search marketing demands a considerable amount of daily monitoring and tweaking to achieve the right Ad Rank and lower costs per conversion, but marketers still have far more control over the ranking of your ads than SEO professionals do over organic search rankings.
5. Marrying Earned and Paid Marketing Teams Reduces Costs
Some individuals have mistakenly come to believe that paid ads are just for companies that have $1,000’s to spend. Small to mid-sized business can compete if the ad targeting is buttoned down to the core target audience. It is still possible in many verticals to spend just a couple hundred dollars per month and gain deserving results. For many targeted terms, it is possible to obtain inexpensive bids that will increase your exposure online.
One great thing about Google’s ad auction platform is that it actually levels the playing field, and permits smaller businesses that are savvy to compete effectively with the bigger budgets since it is less about how much you bid, and more about how relevant you are to the search query. Google actually stops showing an ad if it determines it is a bad match; its chief goal is to keep the individual using Google search happy and coming back. Businesses that are so huge and sprawled that marketing teams become disjointed sometimes find that even their deep pockets cannot achieve bidding well on everything. Closely marry your SEO teams work building landing pages to what SEM marketers know produces conversions and revenue.
If your landing page is not closely themed to support the keyword terms that your paid marketer can win on, then your quality score will drop, and your conversions will cost more.
Organic Search and AdWords Feature Image Search
Knowing the best strategies for including images applies to both earned and paid search as well. On May 16, 2016 Google has repeatedly stressed how image search is a key way to be there and be useful for mobile shoppers. You can make your image stand out in both earned and paid searc; they will, however, require different sizes per application.
“Behind your simple page of results is a complex system, carefully crafted and tested, to support more than one-hundred billion searches each month.”
Semantic search allows us to better define who we are online. Each business’s existence in the digital arena is unique; defining it to our digital audiences projects our brand and encourages a following. It is a core component that applies to complex aspects of organic search and PPC marketing. When your web content clearly explains your products and services, both search engines and searchers with commercial intent can find you more easily.
Foundational Principle: Focus on What Users Want
What Google is seeking to achieve with their algorithm updates is to make it so that for digital marketers to stay ahead in gaining online visibility, you must provide site visitors with what they want. This principle is foundational to both earned and paid search. Do this successfully and your web pages will rank high, fail and you’ll slide downward as the algorithms refine and old SEO tactics won’t cut it.
And Google implements new algorithms, the customer gets a better user experience on the Google search engine – today that particularly applies to mobile users. Company’s that align their earned and paid search marketing efforts will reign at the top in SERPs, if other factors are healthy. In effect, it’s like a ratchet that will constantly wind up more tightly and thereby twist organic SEO and paid advertising closer together.
Synergies or differences in the way marketing teams look at PPC as it relates to the overall marketing strategy may either help or hinder SEO techniques.
2 Overarching Prioritizes for Both Earned and Paid Search
Make it a priority to do both:
Paid Search & Organic Search are an Ideal Pairing
Google Research published a report titled
Impact of Organic Ranking on Ad Click Incrementally that confirms the value of using paid advertising in addition to organic search optimization.
The study clearly reveals that even if a business site can claim a #1 organic ranking in SERPs, paid ads provide an additional 50% incremental clicks. In the scenario happens that your organic placement drops further off the front page of Google or lower in position, then your paid ads can provide up to 82% – 96% additional web traffic to the landing page that your ad points to.
This research was conducted to review the interaction between organic results and paid search; it reveals that businesses with a top organic ranking still gain notable benefits from an accompanying paid ad. The reason is that the extra 50% of clicks won from the ads do not get replaced by clicks within earned search results at the time when the ads aren’t displayed. Ranking in organic search is typically higher when branded terms are uses. For digital marketers of AdWords campaigns, we often recommend using value-per-click calculations to determine the spend amount per keyword phrase.
The findings demonstrate that 82% of ad clicks are incremental when the associated organic result is ranked between 2nd and 4th on the front page, and 96% of clicks are incremental when the brand’s organic result was in a 5th position or lower. This creates more in-the-moment opportunities for you to win the following of new clients.
If you find that your site’s overall traffic and online sales are dipping, you can leverage the benefits of Google PPC ads boosts to and show up on the first page. The cost of this is typically well worth it when you blend earned and paid search efforts to maximum results.
SEMrush has determined that “PPC campaigns should be a part of any good Internet marketing plan. Even big brands budget for PPC ads, and they often times dominate the search engine organic ranks. It’s a boon to any marketing campaign to always keep paid ads integrated with free organic rank.” The Future of SEO: AI, Personalization, and Machine Learning article published on January 5, 2016, in “The Future of SEO: AI, Personalization, and Machine Learning”.
Theme Your Content to be Used Throughout Earned & Paid Search
While this applies to all forms of content, such as images, copy, banners, and video, for an example, let’s focus on video.
There is a lot in a video that cannot come across in words. “It is more shareable; it is easy to engage with”. Video content is easily incorporated in AdWords advertising, within your web pages, and shared on your social media sites. When a viewer “watches” you, they can relate better to you and tell that you are not just another business going through the motions of marketing. Product reviews on YouTube are very, very powerful and are an ideal component to add to your landing pages. Video lets you take in a person’s emotions, gestures, accent, inflection, and emphasis from tone adjustments.
Video gives viewers a better sense of the “real-deal. In terms of getting your identity out there”, according to Oleg Moskalensky. In a live event about ontology, David Amerland says, “Google now separates desktop and mobile, which has put Youtube videos in the number one position in search. Be real. That is the number one thing that will give you a competitive advantage in marketing.”
“Marketers who add a video to their email campaigns see an average rise in revenue of 40 percent,” says DesignMantic
How Personalized Search Influences Earned & Paid Search
Increases in how earned search impacts the outcome of Google paid search are attributed in part to recent Google algorithm updates that prioritize personalized search results.
When personalized search creates a different SERP variant for every searcher or even the same searcher on a different day or time of day, SEO’s must get savvier at deciphering ranking reports. Viewing and understanding SEO reports in Google Analytics are two different levels of expertise. It is critical to know how the Google search engine works. Testing search term queries and questioning why search results present differently leads to a better grasp of how conflicting rankings are actually the result of personalized search. Dissecting how the same search terms ranks in earned search versus paid search helps digital marketers know where they are positioned or how they’re supposed to gain visibility in SERPs.
“While Google hasn’t provided details on whether and how its latest algorithm changes might affect paid search, recent trends point toward organic search becoming a greater factor in the success of a paid search campaign. This trend falls in line with Google’s strategy of making searches more useful for users, providing the right results in the right place and at the right time,” according to Alexander Kesler in the How Google’s Frequent Algorithm Updates Affect Paid Search article.
SEOs and SEM experts that work in partnership to take personalized data results into consideration when analyzing rank and performance can best leverage advantages. If a site ranks well for one particular search query, it increases it chances to rank well for additional keyword phrases. One aspect of personalization is that Google ranks a site more favorably if site visitors continue to click on the same website for a number of queries. If Google comes to trust that users prefer your web pages over interactions with other sites for similar, it’s likely that you will rank higher due to the personalization for additional queried terms.
Google’s Artificial Intelligence Is Used for Both Earned and Paid Search
Conversion rate optimization that increases business revenue encompasses both earned and paid search efforts.
Along with the higher use of Google’s latest algorithm named RankBrain, its dependence on Artificial Intelligence improves GoogleBot’s attempts to “understand and interpret’ the context of the content in both ad copy and within web pages. This reduces the previous focus on keyword density because it can better engage the use of related words to understand the writer is trying to say and match its value to search engine user queries.
There are two primary buckets of content marketing: on-site and off-site.
Onsite web content must be relevant, unique, and written to engage users and drive more social shares across multiple media sites – not for search engines. Google incorporated an algorithm update that penalizes sites that display too many ads above the fold. This means that teams working on organic SEO content will benefit not only from producing well-written material but that they should target real users (not search bots) and reduce risks of penalties by watching both the number of and placement of paid ads. Observe how many are above the fold and what Google considers as potentially interfering with the user experience.
Page rankings are influenced by how well or poor of an experience the user has after landing on your site – whether from a paid ad or from organic search engine result pages. And don’t forget, optimizing using conversational AI and Chatbots if effective across the board.
Use GA Conversion Funnel Report to Improve Earned and Paid Search
The Google Analytics conversion funnel insights report makes it easy to see how site visitors progress from page to page when they make a purchase. Using conversion funnels simplifies the process of identifying the specific processes that may be behind the loss of potential customers. Then, armed with these insights, you can blend both your earned and paid search efforts by knowing the needed actions to fix related site issues.
If GA is not set-up already, be sure to do so and understand your search queries that are working for you from your Google Analytics Reports. The Google Search Console is the the resource for seeing your organic search queries. But the best way to improve acquisitions – for me – comes from GA reports for AdWords campaigns.
Reporting > Acquisition > AdWords > Keywords
This is a great way to identify the long-tail keywords that drive your paid conversions. Having this knowledge, it is easier to use the best keywords to build site content with a clearer plan on increasing conversion rates and revenue streams.
How Partnering with Hill Web Marketing Works
In our experience, we find that when we are able to have a higher quality of communication between marketing teams, web designers, the IT department, additional freelancers, and others within our client projects, we can obtain proven results faster. Even more so recently, as search in both worlds of earned and paid search are harder. When your SEO consultant and individuals optimizing your AdWords campaigns/ meet regularly, whether digitally or in person, to share reports and brainstorm – it is an immense help. In the end, the client is the big winner and their web pages get indexed faster.
We prefer to meet in person with you on a monthly or regular basis to go over monthly PPC marketing performance reports. Otherwise too often key insights go missed or key action steps across teams are more disjointed and delayed. You gain the benefit of being having not just the number of clicks, ad conversions, and your average order value, etc. explained from PPC, but also how these same data points for organic search are generating traffic to your site. Sometimes what the facts prove up is that while all the other channels or forms of marketing suffered, PPC saved the day. Or, if everything suffered, maybe there’s a critical technical SEO issue that is hurting the entire site, or maybe your messages are off in seasonality. At that point, we recommend a full Website Technical SEO Audit is conducted.
With AdWords conversion tracking implemented properly, you can see how effective clicks from your paid search are at generating valuable current and new customer activity. This works for learning more about user engagement in areas like website purchases, phone calls, mobile app downloads, white papers engaged, PDF downloads and more.
“Without clear strategies internally, and some type of centralized tracking, it’s really hard for any brand to know what’s actually working and what’s not across all areas of paid, earned, and owned media.” – Amman Badlani, of Locaiton 3 Media
“Paid search seems sometimes the quite opposite to the Search Engine Optimization tactics, but ultimately both are applied for the same reason and that is driving the quality traffic towards your website. Both the ways have their specific advantages and limitations and a different manner to affect the rankings.” – Digital SEO Guide
Owner of Hill Web Marketing, Jeannie Hill, provides services for: SEO, SEM, and PPC to gain visibility in search. Expert in semantics, digital marketing SEO campaigns, overall marketing integration, and web content optimization. I reside in the beautiful Minneapolis, Minnesota area, serving the Twin Cities area and beyond with effective SEM and SEO strategies.
We can partner with your existing marketing team to create long-form information content where it meets search intent best and maximize Google Posts to get product messages in front of buyers.
Combining earned SEO and paid search has high payoffs.
Why dilute your marketing efforts? By integrating them, your company has much to gain. If you have sufficient budget, supplement your organic SEO strategies with PPC. Your business can enjoy the benefits listed above if you combine efforts on both paid and the organic front. These benefits can be gained by all types of businesses no matter whether non-profit or for-profit, regardless of size or industry. Once your marketing teams understood how they can support each other and add value, it becomes easier to come up with brilliant ideas that have a mutual impact that moves both efforts forward. Combining earned SEO and paid search and communicating more often means less time and resources are required in the long run. Call us to learn why combining these efforts pays off and how your teams can collaborate and gain higher levels of marketing success. Check out our search marketing FAQ page to find answers to the questions you may be asking.
When semantics are behind your earned search, a logical progression of social media advertising and PPC advertising yield multiplied results due to hyperconnectivity factors. Blending your marketing efforts across earned and paid search can really pay off for you. By tailoring and merging the way your “speak” across both worlds, your business brand in easier for consumers to recognize. Personalized search across organic and PPC advertising offers business owners a better chance to prompt new relationships with prospective buyers.
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