Marketers often ask me whether pay-per-click (PPC) listings can affect your organic ranking in Google search results.
The simple answer to this is no (cough cough). However, those of us who have been in the industry a long time will tell you that throwing money at Google never hurts. One of the best (fair or not) ways to increase your organic traffic is to start an aggressive PPC campaign.
Running your PPC campaign in tandem with your search engine optimisation (SEO) efforts can give you data in weeks that would take months, or even years, to acquire via organic data research. E-commerce websites, specifically, need the crucial data on which search phrases bring traffic to their site. Take into account the fact that when a PPC ad is delivered for a keyword phrase that is bid on, an impression is recorded by that particular PPC provider. Just think at month’s end, when it is time to analyse key metrics, you will be able to see about a one-to-one correlation between the number of impressions delivered and the number of times an impression triggers a particular keyword phrase used by the searcher. With Google blinding analytics data to “not provided”, e-commerce sites find themselves heavily reliant on keyword data from PPC efforts. However you get it, you need an accurate idea of what your most popular keyword phrases are.
While Google’s official stance for withholding this data may be privacy; technically that data can quickly be bought by switching on your PPC efforts.
We should see other people
If you’ve been running an e-commerce site without the help of a PPC campaign, why start now? Some say PPC is an expensive avenue without guaranteed results. But there are many benefits that add value to your organic listings and your overall marketing goals. With the right campaign budget and set-up, the odds are in your favour.
Some of these benefits include:
• BRANDING TO INCREASE ORGANIC CLICK-THROUGH RATE. If a consumer is familiar with your brand, they are more likely to click on your organic listing. Although the user may not click from the first PPC impression, the delivery of paid impressions will increase the chances of a return search click on an organic result. Also think about if a searcher sees both your paid and organic listing on the first page of the search results. Your credibility will go through the roof. Combine for a one-two punch knockout by increasing your organic click-through rate as well as your conversion rate.
• IMMEDIATE VISIBILITY WITH A PROPER BUDGET. The beauty of running your own AdWords campaign is that you can decide how much you are willing to spend each day and how often you want to show up. The ultimate goal would be to show between ad ranks two and four. Doing so will help your opportunity to convert without having to pay the top dollar amount to show number one every single time. It is about what you want to get out of your marketing efforts and what kind of return you are looking for.
• INSTANT TRACTION WITH A WELL-RUN CAMPAIGN. You should start seeing your site traffic and conversion rate results faster. As mentioned, it can take several months to accumulate this data without a paid search campaign. Utilise keyword information on what types or services/products consumers are looking for and how often they are searching for them.
PPC is like dating: a necessary evil to find Mr Perfect.
So what is to be gained from combining your SEO efforts with PPC initiatives?
• USER BEHAVIOUR: A marketing plan needs insight into user behaviour. Yes, understanding keyword prospects is important, but understanding things such as time of day or search patterns can help you understand how prospective customers are thinking. This then returns the favour by highlighting which aspects of your SEO program are the most important and contribute the greatest value.
• SHOWCASE YOUR A/B TESTING SUPERPOWERS: The beauty of running your own PPC campaign is that it allows you to test out what works and what doesn’t without gambling your organic efforts. Multiple text ad variations, ad groups, and keyword combinations can help your team decide the most relevant and conversion-friendly content for your website.
• YOU’RE THE DECISION-MAKER: you can start or stop your paid search campaign at any time, but running a PPC campaign is a gamble. Often websites find themselves gambling with “scared money”. Starting a PPC account in desperation rather than just another complementary form of marketing is never the answer.
It’s not you, it’s me
The ultimate goal of a paid search campaign is not to just throw together a two-minute campaign and call it a day. It takes work but, most importantly, daily consistency. There should always be a bigger plan for your marketing objective than simply cutting off your paid search without giving your campaign a chance to generate results. Be proactive by taking into account what works in your PPC campaign and how that can be utilised to convert visitors to your website. Remember Batman needed Robin, just like SEO needs PPC.
While some will always believe that spending money on a Google PPC account impacts organic search results, I still say two hands are better than one. Trusting your SEO efforts with a PPC budget pays dividends with these three takeaways: ability to test quickly; understand user behaviour, and opening up the ‘conversion funnel experience’ to fully grasp where your customers are coming from and how they found you.
*Original Article by Leah Rise: http://www.brw.com.au/p/marketing/throwing_money_search_google_never_CSsZ6PhVfPkTK946XCCQzO