Integrating SEO and PPC to Improve Digital Marketing ROI

From the first clickable banner in 1993 to the present day; digital marketing has evolved to become a profitable industry that has overtaken traditional marketing channels in the last few years. Naturally, as the industry and its technology mature it also becomes more complex, turning foundational activities into specialized roles.

In today’s world, the term ‘Digital Marketing’ encompasses a whole range of specialized activities; the most critical ones being:

  • SEO, or search engine optimization, which makes websites more discoverable and visible to users; 
  • PPC, or paid marketing, to showcase your business to potential buyers through precise ad placement; and 
  • Social Media Marketing, which does the heavy lifting of managing brand reputation as well as engaging with and selling to current and potential buyers on a myriad of social media channels. 

While these activities crisscross the virtual marketplace and often overlap, traditionally, businesses have been working on each separately. However, as digital marketing becomes more competitive and crowded, breaking down the silos to sync strategies can boost your digital marketing ROI exponentially.

In this article, we unpack how combining SEO and PPC can work for your business and what you need to do to align these two activities seamlessly.

Understanding SEO and PPC: A Brief Overview

Before we can discuss how to synergize SEO and PPC efforts, let us refresh our understanding of the two activities.

Search Enging Optimization (SEO)

SEO is all about helping your website rank higher on Google and other search engines; thus becoming more visible to users. SEO does this through a wide range of on-site and off-site techniques, including improving and optimizing the website’s content, its structure, and several technical elements such as meta tags, descriptions, XML sitemaps, and more. 

Pay-per-click (PPC) Advertising

On the other hand, PPC, or pay-per-click is all about bidding on keywords to display ads at the top of search results or on relevant websites. As the name makes clear, the advertisers only pay when a user clicks on their ads. 

The ultimate goal of both strategies is identical: to get prospective buyers on the site and get them to convert. SEO takes the longer, organic route to visibility, while PPC plonks down dollars on the table to get high-converting traffic immediately. 

Understanding the differences and overlaps between these strategies is the holy grail that online businesses need to target. 

For more detailed information on the two strategies, please read PPC vs SEO for B2B Businesses.

Integrating SEO and PPC

While both SEO and PPC work towards the same objective, they are situated at opposite ends of the SEM universe. 

SEO is a long-term strategy that focuses on getting high-quality traffic. The whole philosophy of SEO is about getting lasting results and riding the trust generated by ranking in Google’s top positions. 

PPC, on the other hand, is specifically about short and quick gains. It is highly targeted and only shows results as long as you are paying for the ads. 

Despite their different approaches, a combination of these activities can amplify outcomes. 

Think of a business that is not ranking organically for certain high-value keywords. Here, a well-structured PPC campaign can ensure online visibility for these keywords until the SEO efforts get up to speed. 

Additionally, PPC campaigns also spew out data, such as high-performing keywords or effective ad copy, that can be extremely useful for charting a better SEO course. 

A business that ranks well on SERPs, both organically and in paid search positions, can gain a larger share of of visibility in the search results.

Keyword Research: A Joint Effort

SEO and PPC both target keywords to get results, and working in tandem, they can make the keyword landscape for a business much richer and more efficient. Google results pages show paid results on top and organic results below those (usually after scrolling), and having a toehold in both can be immensely useful. 

By syncing SEO and PPC, a business can use insights and feedback from one to sharpen the results of the other. PPC campaigns allow marketers to see keyword conversion data, giving them a better understanding of which keywords result in new leads. This information can be used to shorten SEO timelines and take the guesswork out of deciding which keyword set to target.

SEO can be strengthened by testing keywords through a short PPC campaign, focusing months and years of effort on a more viable set of keywords. 

On the other side, marketers can target expensive PPC keywords through organic SEO efforts or reroute their budgets away from keywords for which SEO rankings are good. 

Likewise, if you notice that your competitors’ ads are appearing high but their organic rankings are dismal, then this information can be used to tweak SEO strategies to grab the number one spot for these keywords.

Effective keyword research involves a blend of understanding user behaviour and leveraging powerful tools. Here is a list of software we recommend:

  • Google Ads Keyword Planner: for keyword suggestions, search volume data, and competition insights. 
  • SEMrush: Along with keyword research, it offers competitive analysis, backlink insights, and detailed SEO audits.
  • Ahrefs: For competitor analysis, finding keyword opportunities, and tracking website performance.
  • Google Trends: for identifying seasonal trends and rising search terms.
  • Answer the Public: to understand user questions and concerns around a keyword and generate new content ideas.
  • Ubersuggest: for keyword suggestions, search volume, and difficulty metrics.

Landing Page Optimization for SEO and PPC

Once you become visible and convince a user to click on your link with your ad copy or website snippet, it is up to the website content to do the heavy lifting for conversion. 

96% of people who visit a website leave without completing the action marketers want them to take. 

How can you make sure that is not your fate? 

Well, by making your landing page perfect. The perfect offer wrapped up in a perfect package –delivered perfectly. 

Here are some tips for creating compelling, relevant, and high-converting landing pages: 

  • Make sure your landing page content closely matches the keywords users clicked on to arrive there. 
  • Clearly convey the benefits of your product or service. 
  • Craft persuasive copy and put it in a layout that is easy to scan. 
  • Create a striking design that is uncluttered and attractive while being relevant to your offer and the brand.
  • Test your navigation and tweak it to be more user-friendly. Reduce action steps for conversion as much as possible. 
  • Invest time and effort in A/B testing different elements of your landing pages, such as headlines, CTA buttons, colours, and layouts. 
  • Don’t forget to optimize your landing pages for mobile users. Test on multiple devices (different phone models, tabs, and desktops) before going live. 
  • Cater to improving the user experience by making sure your landing pages load fast. 
  • Include social proof such as testimonials, reviews, case studies, etc. to build trust. 
  • Have a strong call-to-action (CTA) and get creative with it. Be sure of what you want your users to do, and nudge them to do it repeatedly in different ways. 

Data Sharing and Analysis

PPC and SEO campaigns churn out a huge amount of data spanning user behaviour, their journeys on your website or down the sales funnel, and their interactions with different pages and elements on your site and landing pages.

When we combine and analyze data from both activities, we get a more colourful and detailed picture of users’ behaviour and performance metrics of various elements of the website and PPC campaigns. 

PPC campaigns contribute data on metrics such as click-through rates (CTRs), conversion rates, and high-value keywords. These insights can help fill the gaps in SEO strategies or sync them with user behaviour and trends revealed by PPC campaigns. 

SEO insights usually revolve around identifying relevant keywords and their performances. Understanding how the website’s current SEO strategy is built and executed can be used to make PPC budgets more efficient. 

The analytics tools we’ve mentioned in the ‘keyword research’ section above can effectively connect the dots between SEO and PPC data. Observing all this data holistically, can help marketers gain a deeper understanding of user interactions, attribute conversions accurately, improve customer segmentation, and observe the effects of A/B testing in real-time.  

Budget Optimization and ROI Enhancement

Integrating SEO and PPC strategies has a direct and positive effect on the budget and its ROI. 

By analyzing keyword performance across both organic and paid campaigns, businesses can streamline their budgets and allocate resources where they can be best used. 

Here are a couple of ways to do this: 

  • Comparing the rates of conversion between the two strategies can uncover keywords that have a high conversion rate in one channel but may need improvement in the other.
  • By analyzing keyword rankings resulting from SEO endeavors, PPC managers can set aside keywords that effectively generate organic leads. This allows them to focus their resources and budget on achieving high rankings for challenging keywords that have a significant impact, thereby outperforming their competitors in organic SEO efforts.

PPC efforts and data can inform SEO efforts by highlighting keywords that might have escaped the notice of SEO professionals. Backed by user engagement data, they can confidently plot their SEO strategies to go beyond their intuition and keyword research tools.  

All in all, comparing rate conversion and synergizing the two activities can reduce money and effort on both activities while drastically shortening SEO cycles.

A/B Testing and Continuous Improvement

In the ever-shifting world of digital marketing, to stagnate is to die; there are always competitors who will overtake you and push you to the bottom of the pile. You need to embrace continuous improvement to stay relevant, but there is no need to do this blindly!

Consider these tips for continuous improvement and A/B testing: 

  • You can use A/B testing to fine-tune a host of variations for SEO as well as PPC, such as refining website elements like headlines, messaging, images, or call-to-action buttons. You can also test design elements of the website or landing page, such as colours, fonts, layouts, etc.
  • Gain an understanding of user preferences and behaviours. Find out which elements or tweaks get better engagement, CTRs, and conversions. 
  • Experiment with SEO elements such as meta descriptions, headlines, or content formats.
  • In PPC campaigns, you can use A/B testing to try out various versions of ad copy, ad headlines, descriptions, landing page layouts, and calls-to-action (CTAs) to identify elements that drive click-through rates and conversions.
  • Confidently drop campaigns or elements that are underperforming with the help of data-backed insights.
  • Fine-tune and build segment-based strategies to engage with various audiences with a more personalized approach. You can also use A/B testing to tailor the message according to consumer journeys and touchpoints to nudge prospective buyers down the funnel.  
  • Sync A/B testing with specific consumer seasons or trends to find new patterns of user engagement and preferences. 

A/B testing is not a one-time activity; marketers need to develop it into a habit of continued tinkering, testing, and tweaking. Businesses must resist the urge to stick with successful templates and lean into the cycle of iteration again and again. 

From the start, make sure you utilize the following A/B testing best practices: 

  1. Define clear objectives and KPIs that you want to influence.
  2. Test one element at a time to avoid ambiguous results.
  3. Segment your audience consistently and stick to these user groups over time.
  4. Ensure that the sample size is large enough to give you useful insights without outrunning your budget. 
  5. Don’t forget to do a randomized sample selection.
  6. Run your A/B test for a long enough duration to account for different user behaviours.
  7. Track the entire user journey, from the ad or landing page to the final conversion. One change might impact one part negatively but work holistically.
  8. Test across different devices and screen sizes.
  9. Document each A/B test in detail and create a compendium of insights that can inform your next campaigns.

SEO And PPC: The Yin And Yang Of Digital Marketing? 

SEO is the yin—steady and patient—that builds over time. While PPC is the yang, a dynamic force that delivers instant visibility and engagement. Together, they put out enough energy to boost your business into the digital stratosphere. 

SEO and PPC are two diametrically different methodologies that fuse together to become a perfect whole. 

So, are you ready to break down the silos and mix them up? 

Call us and set up a strategy session to get started. Get professionals to build a unified digital marketing approach for your business.