What’s the Correlation Between PPC advertising and SEO?
So, your business wants to increase traffic, conversions, or both, and you’re wondering if you should opt for Search Engine Optimization services, or Pay-Per-Click advertising. SEO and PPC are fundamentally different, but that’s not to say they can’t work together. As a full service internet marketing agency, we’re always going to tell you that a holistic internet marketing strategy is best. Take a look at Bonsai’s Online Marketing System - it illustrates how we leverage numerous marketing channels in tandem to drive results in the most efficient way possible.
That being said, SEO and PPC, if conducted individually, will give you drastically different results. Here’s Why -
Here’s a PPC ad currently running for our Sister company, Leased Up:
PPC is exactly what it sounds like: a pay-to-play form of internet advertising that allows marketers to pay for ads by each click they generate. This means that popular search platforms like Google and others allow businesses to list results within the top of their organic results for a given keyword. This means that keyword research, as well as ad links (which direct users from the ad to a specific page on your site), are paramount to the success of your PPC campaign.
Here we are, ranked #1 for the coveted Internet Marketing Seattle Keyword:
In many ways, SEO is the opposite of PPC. Rather than pay a Search platform to list a result and corresponding link to your website, you instead optimize your website to make it very search-engine friendly for given keywords. That way, when a user enters a search query containing that keyword, your site will appear near the top of the results, if you’ve done your homework.
SEO Vs. PPC
Now that you know the basics of both, here are the main practical differences between SEO and PPC.
The Typical ROI from SEO services has no real cap, and it can continue to increase long after that of PPC has topped out. But, it takes a while for SEO to get up and running as your site needs time to build authority and get recognized. But, it’s worth it - 73% of in house marketers and 76% of US agencies have said that SEO provided excellent ROI.
PPC provides instant results and can generate visitors and user data as soon as you activate your ads. It’s much faster than SEO, but due to competitive bidding on certain choice keywords, there maybe a point at which PPC is no longer viable, but this also depends on your conversion rate for each KW. Because of these reasons the ROI is more easily quantifiable; on average businesses make $3 for every $1.60 they spend on adwords.
SEO may not be immediate, but it’s still hugely important. A bit of context: 92% of users begin their web experience with a search query, and 85% of the clicks within a search result go to the organic links, rather than the paid ads.
Because ensures clicks for a given keyword, the average user is more likely to convert from a paid ad than they are from organically ranked links. In fact, 50% of users are more likely to convert from a paid ad than from an organic link.
How PPC and SEO can help one another
This is where the specific benefits of a holistic internet marketing system come into play. If you have your strategies for PPC and for SEO locked down, there are a number of ways that you can use SEO to benefit your PPC, and vice versa. Here are just a few:
The Data from PPC can aid SEO
One spot where PPC definitely has SEO beat is in the measurability of all aspects of the campaign. You have your bids, your cost-per-click, your cost-per-conversion, and your cost-per-conversion for a given keyword. This means you’re able to quickly see which keywords have the highest conversion rate, and then optimize your site to organically rank for those terms. It’s not viable to have a high ranking organic result if you're not converting; PPC only helps you see which terms you should absolutely be optimizing for, the rest is up to you.
Believe it or not, PPC can help boost Link Popularity
Link popularity is pretty straight forward: the more popular your site appears (in terms of the number of inbound links) the higher it will rank. Let us be clear, your PPC listings on a results page will not directly affect your link popularity, even if it gets 10 billion clicks in an hour. Why? Because search engines don’t want to count links that were paid for - this is the opposite of what they’re aiming to do. Instead, search engines will count inbound links to your site that were gained out of editorial relevance i.e. another website finds yours valuable and relevant and links to it. But for another site to find value in yours, they have to find it first. If you’re starting off with just a trickle of organic traffic, paid search advertising is a fantastic way to generate real awareness quickly. While only a small percentage of these visitors will actually drop a link to your site, a focused, sustained PPC effort will generate enough traffic, awareness, and yes, links, to help boost your organic rankings.
Organic Traffic is hard to come by... Ad Retargeting can help make the most of it.
Any SEO specialist worth their salt can attest to the difficulty of generating worthwhile organic traffic. After tons of research and on-page and offpage optimizations, you find that only 2% of organic first-time visitors actually convert. This is why retargeting is massively beneficial for SEO-ers out there. As inbound traffic accumulates, you can track each of those users, and re-service them ads via an ad display network. 70% of website visitors who are retargeted are more likely to convert, meaning the data gleaned from your SEO traffic will greatly boost your PPC retargeting results.
Combine High Organic Rankings with Paid Search to Bolster your Click-Thru Rate
Most clicks come from familiarity. If a user is familiar with you and your brand, they are more likely to click through. A user might not click on the first PPC result, but they are much more likely to click on your organic link if they see a paid result along with it; it boosts your credibility and trustworthiness. In fact, it’s widely held that if you own the top organic and paid positions for a given keyword, you will easily outperform either positions on their own. In this way, combining both SEO and PPC strategies for your most competitive keywords will increase BOTH your click-thru rate as well as your conversion rate.
SEO and PPC are essentially two different approaches to the same thing: generating leads via search results. The difference comes in where you spend your time and for how long, and where you spend your money and how much you spend. The decision to choose either PPC or SEO as your main point of attack depends on a few different things, like your business, your budget, your goals, and your industry. In certain industries, there may be less competition, or a lower cost per click, meaning the top ppc ad spots are more affordable. But, depending on a lead’s value, and your ability to capture that lead via an organically ranked link, you might not want to get into keyword bidding and ad spends. Now, if you’re in an industry where cost per click is high, the same considerations have to be made, but from a different angle. If there’s a lot of competition, and your competitors have a lot of authority, it might be worth the extra PPC spend in order to get a top-ranked spot. But again, depending on a lead’s value for a given keyword, this may not be viable, and you might be better off putting that money towards a long term SEO strategy.
In general, it can be said that PPC is better for instantly generating a lot of traffic without having to maintain it for long, while SEO is best for generating more reliable traffic over a longer period without a ton of spending up front.
It can take a lot to know if you should opt for PPC or SEO; a lot of research, a lot of know-how and a lot of experience. As we said before, at Bonsai, we always try and opt for a holistic approach to Search Engine Marketing, utilizing both paid and organic methods to build credibility, boost rankings, boost click-thru rates, and boost conversions. If you have more horses in the race, you’re more likely to win.
If you’re interested in internet marketing that drives real results, whether it be PPC, SEO, Web Dev, Social Media, or anything else, Bonsai will create a customized marketing system to address your primary concerns and help you grow your business online.