SEO vs PPC: Why Not Both?

Johnathan Dane
Johnathan Dane is the founder of KlientBoost, a California-based PPC agency that's on a mission to grow companies.

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    If there’s an ultimate “Would You Rather” game, it should be SEO vs PPC.

    Both sides have insanely strong armies, and both work amazingly well when executed properly.

    So that got me thinking:

    With almost 500,000 results for pitting SEO and PPC against each other, why the heck wouldn’t you want them to work together?

    It’s like a jigsaw puzzle of bacon and eggs and peanut butter and jelly. You can’t have one without the other.

    Okay that’s a lie.

    Maybe you can have bacon solo.

    And maybe even a spoonful of peanut butter. But you get my point.

    The truth is, SEO and PPC shouldn’t be battling each other. Instead they should be used in tandem, for an insanely powerful 1–2 marketing punch.

    That’s why we here at KlientBoost have partnered with Ahrefs, to go over the different ways you can use both SEO and PPC to your advantage.

    No more battling. It’s time to make the SEO puzzle piece fit with the PPC one.

    Keyword Data, In Real Time

    If there’s one thing that no one can beat, it’s Google and Bing’s own data that you can find within your PPC accounts.

    Impression volumes can be narrowed down to the geographic region, device, or day of the week and time of day so you can see what kind of keyword volume is out there.

    Here’s a quick snapshot of US states and their impression levels

    Of course that requires you to pony up some money for PPC ads first. But it could be an invaluable research piece before you invest too much time and money on an SEO strategy.

    By narrowing this down, you can decide whether your local or national SEO goals have enough “traffic legs” to pursue.

    SEO Your Expensive PPC Keywords

    Are you one of those extremely unlucky lawyers who might pay upwards of $400 a click?

    First off, congrats.

    Because even if your PPC performance is crap, it’s impressive that can you roll a Las Vegas style dice for each ad click you pay for.

    And damn! Hewlett Packard, what the heck?!

    Of course, some of these average CPCs might not be accurate. But it doesn’t deter from the fact that a lot of keywords are getting more and more expensive on Google and Bing.

    So instead of paying for clicks that might not ever turn into any conversions, why not prioritize those keywords for your SEO strategy and build long-term momentum that can eventually fuel cash back into your PPC campaigns?

    It’s almost a little backwards, but if you’re patient and smart, then this can have quicker benefits for your business.

    And if you choose, you can still bid on the cheaper keywords via PPC to get faster results.

    Understand Deeper Search Intent

    Since SEO is a long term game, it’s insanely vital that you know what messaging will work best when it comes to matching a searcher’s intent.

    This can help you improve your user experience and ultimately, your conversion rates and revenue generated from that traffic.

    The cool thing about PPC is that you can test ad copy and landing pages as much as you want.

    What messaging has higher CTR and conversion rates?

    If you keep increasing your click through and conversion rates, you can be confident that the page you’re trying to rank in search will perform well once it’s getting traffic.

    But don’t just keep it to the messaging of your ads and landing pages.

    The layout, the form, the fields of the form (and the order of those fields), plus testimonials, and so many more things can be tested before you develop a page you want to rank.

    In fact, there have been many times when clients hired us to optimize their PPC performance and landing page designs, then later asked us to redesign their site after seeing the conversion results we’d achieved with PPC.

    Don’t treat your SEO strategy any different.

    If you can do research beyond keyword competition levels and impressions, then do it if it brings additional value.

    Test Before You Invest

    SEO is not a short term game. It can take a lot of time and effort to rank. And it can also be budget heavy.

    So why not test how certain keywords perform via PPC, before you decide to target them with SEO?

    Similar to our first point, PPC campaigns can give you insight on keyword CPCs and impression levels. This means you can quickly set some PPC keywords at low bids to see if there’s enough search volume for that keyword.

    Take it one step further and you can add multiple variations and permutations of keywords to see which long tail keywords have the most volume and lowest competition levels.

    In addition to this, you don’t necessarily have to shut off PPC once SEO is starting to work. If the performance is great for both channels, why not keep them both on?

    By using Google’s Paid & Organic report inside your AdWords Dimensions Tab, you can

    …better understand how paid text ads and organic search results work together to help you reach people searching online, use the organic results to identify new, potentially valuable keywords, and gain a holistic view of how your online presence is performing overall in terms of attracting views and clicks.”

    By doing your PPC homework first, you can be sure that the time and resources you invest will be fruitful in the long run.

    Bring Back Those Organic Visitors

    You may know that stats of online conversion rates are a measly 2% on average.

    That means that either your visitors visited your site or landing page too early in the decision making cycle, or that your experience wasn’t good enough to convince a conversion to happen.

    Either way, there’s no reason why you should let your hard-earned SEO visitors slip through the cracks.

    With over 30 different types of retargeting campaigns to try, there’s going to be new ways to bring back your visitors, even if they enter into your conversion funnel higher than expected.

    In addition to regular display retargeting, you have the advantage of running social retargeting, and remarketing list for search ads (RLSA).

    AdRoll is one of the leaders in social retargeting — image source

    By bringing back visitors at cheap CPCs, you can work your way to obtain lost revenue and understand why visitors bounced in the first place.

    PPC Can Earn Valuable Backlinks

    I’m sure you know how important it is to promote your content. But did you know that your AdWords text ads that are promoting a piece of content, can help earn backlinks at a faster rate than organic visitors?

    An example of a highly linkable asset that we’re currently running PPC traffic to is our marketing infographic calendar.

    Here’s what the AdWords ad looks like:

    And here’s the page it’s pointing to:

    Ahrefs is part of this calendar too — GIF source

    Our goal — and what we’ve seen happen before for our own content and others — is that this person will be researching info for their own blog and will include our marketing infographic calendar in there (since it’s such a unique piece of content).

    Now It’s Your Turn

    If you’ve ever wanted to laugh at an SEO’er or PPC’er, I hope you do it because you’re both walking hand in hand, all the way to the bank.

    As customer journeys continue to get more and more complex, marketing channels are no longer siloed in nature — they have to work holistically together.

    So with that, I hope this gifographic gave you a solid place to start so that you may finally finish your marketing puzzle.

    Any questions or comments, please leave them below!

    Johnathan Dane
    Johnathan Dane is the founder of KlientBoost, a California-based PPC agency that's on a mission to grow companies.

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    • Great article and a good approach to make the most out of both genres!

    • This is awesome. 

      I know Klientboost does good work, but it breaks my heart when a client burns $20k/month on terrible AdWords keyword targeting yet can’t cough up $2k/mo for SEO services :).

      C’est la vie

    • Nice strategy for accelerating positive results of our work.
      Appreciate your efforts!

    • indrajit

      Good information.Appreciate your work!

    • Thanks Jonathan, this is what we as an agency are suggesting to clients. So good to know that we’re keeping good company! I like how you describe the holistic coming together of the multiple strands that make up a digital strategy.

    • SEO is best because it help in organic ranking & traffic.

    • Thanks for article. Shared in LinkedIn

    • Thanks for Sharing This article. SEO is best because it helps in Organic Ranking & Traffic.
      @grsoftsolution:disqus

    • nice article, thanks for sharing this great information.

    • I agree it’s pretty maddening to have to choose one form of online marketing and stick with it. As far as I am concerned a mixture of both is the way to go. Perhaps it would be wise for your strategy to be PPC heavy at first, in order to make your site well known, and SEO heavy afterwards, in order to get that sweet and all important organic traffic, which is the one that’s more important for a “business” website, as far as I am concerned.