How Paid Ads and SEO Influence One Another
As the holidays fast approach, ‘tis the season for reflection in both life and business, which also means mapping out your marketing strategy going forward.
In order to thrive during the holiday rush – and beyond – all businesses should look at ways to elevate their eCommerce for optimal results.
There’s a lot that goes into an eCom marketing strategy but the bread and butter of any successful online store is the cohesiveness of a solid PPC and SEO strategy.
In this article, we’ll explain how PPC and SEO perform strongly both separately and together for optimal results.
The Impact of COVID-19 And Why Having an eCom is More Important Than Ever
With most brick and mortar stores forced to close during the COVID-19 shutdown period earlier this year, consumers turned to online stores (Amazon in particular) to shop away the pandemic blues.
And while most stores that were able to ride out the stay at home orders have since re-opened their doors, for most consumers, the everyday way of life has been forever changed. So what does this mean for you? Simply put, online shopping isn’t going away and may, in fact, be the new normal.
Here are a few stats that help illustrate this massive shift towards eCommerce:
- eCommerce sales in July 2020 rose 55%year-over-year to a record-breaking $66.3 billion.
- 73% of consumers who started shopping online more during the pandemic plan to continue doing so in future.
- Only 16%of consumers say they will go back to their old shopping habits post-pandemic.
- 38% of consumers say they are now more comfortable shopping online.
The Role of PPC in eCommerce
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, which includes ads that are shown on search engines, social media, and other websites, is a critical component of marketing your online business because it allows you to target shoppers that are already ready to buy. Plus, PPC allows you to, essentially, pay your way to the top of SERPs, and is backed by data, offers a healthy ROI, and can be easily scaled.
How PPC Can Inform Your SEO Strategy
Despite being completely different strategies, PPC should go hand in hand with SEO. Now, you might be wondering, how is that possible if SEO focuses on improving SERP rankings organically, while PPC is essentially buying your way to the top?
What you may not realize is that there are so many different ways SEO and PPC efforts complement each other, and can yield a highly successful digital marketing strategy when implemented simultaneously.
Here are just a few benefits of running a PPC campaign alongside your organic SEO efforts:
- Increases your exposure on SERPs (kind of like a double whammy)
- Allows you to use site search data to inform PPC keywords
- PPC allows you to uncover granular details about your target audience that can help refine your SEO strategy
- PPC helps you test and refine organic keywords that can be used for SEO
- Having both gives you access to a larger amount of data more quickly
- PPC allows you to see what’s working and what isn’t, so you can fine-tune your SEO strategy
- Symbiosis means fewer conflicts between PPC and SEO
Steps to Take For PPC
When starting your PPC journey, here are a few steps you should follow.
Decide On A Platform
Choosing which platform you will use to run your ads is the first and most important step when setting up a PPC campaign. While Google is the obvious choice, also consider platforms that are unique to your particular industry, audience, products, etc. This can include, but is not limited to:
- Google ads
- Facebook ads
- LinkedIn ads
- Instagram ads
- YouTube ads
- Reddit ads
- Twitter ads
Analytics are one of the most important components of your PPC campaign, as it allows you to measure the effectiveness of your efforts.
So, if you don’t already have analytics set up, get started now. If you do have analytics but don’t really look at them often, start going through and analyzing the data.
Targeting & Re-Targeting
In the world of PPC, there are multiple different targeting options available that enable advertisers to serve messages directly to the users they are targeting.
The main types of ad targeting include:
- Search Targeting. The most common type of targeting; this allows you to bid on keywords your target audience is searching for.
- Display Targeting.Targeting users based on variables such as demographics, online habits, and interests.
- Placement Targeting.Providing Google with a list of specific websites you’d like your ads to appear on.
- Audience Targeting. Targeting groups of people with specific interests, intents, and demographics.
Ask Yourself: Do Google Ads Make Sense For Your Industry?
PPC may not work for all industries. For instance, if your target customers aren’t turning to search engines to find the types of products or services you sell, you may not experience the results you expected. In this case, you may need to strategizealternative marketing strategies to reach these customers.
A business with products or services that require a high-touch sales process in order to secure a sale also may not benefit as much as any of the following businesses that tend to do very well with paid campaigns:
- Online retailers
- Travel related businesses
- Home and garden supplies
- Computers and electronics
- Occasions and gifts
Consider automating your PPC campaigns instead of running them manually, as it can be incredibly inflexible and difficult to manage when there’s high/fluctuating demand.
Some great PPC automation tools include:
- Google Keywords Planner
- Word Stream
- PPC Protect
The downside to using these tools is that they can be very expensive. However, when you work with a digital marketing agency with a dedicated PPC team, you’ll have these tools at your disposal, along with a team of experts who know how to use them effectively.
The Role of SEO in eCommerce
In the simplest of terms, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a series of organic techniques used to improve your ranking in search results without the use of paid ads.
So, why is this important, especially for eComs?
It’s no secret that when consumers are searching for a specific product, they most often click on the first few results rather than scrolling through multiple pages to find what they’re looking for.
In fact, according to Bing, websites that appear at the top of search results snag 42% of all search engine traffic, while the sites that are positioned at #2 get 11%, and third place rankings secure 8% of traffic. So, it’s safe to say that using SEO to get your site to the top of SERPs is one of the best ways to boost sales and profits.
Keyword research is a great way to better understand your target market and how they are searching for your products, services, and content.
Do some preliminary research to determine which keywords you should be targeting and get a sense of the type of content you should be producing to satisfy your audience and search engines.
Also pay attention to search trends at different times of the year so you can create content related to your business that also lines up with the topics that are trending at the moment.
Review Local Search Listing
Your local search listing is your business’s page on Google My Business. This listing is what appears when consumers in your area are searching for a local business on Google, and displays the following information:
- Company name
- Business reviews
- Contact information
- Operating hours
- Company bio
Having a local search listing set up, optimized, and kept up to date is critical, as Google has claimed that 46% of all Google searches have ‘local intent.’ Even if you are an eCom, local search should always be a priority.
Content is the foundation of any successful SEO strategy, but not just any content will do.
You must be consistent with your publishing and produce high-quality, fresh content. Here are a few tips for producing “fresh” content that will keep your audience engaged:
- Publishing articles or other forms of content on a regular basis (At least 1 per month minimum)
- Ensuring all content is relevant and up to date
- Refurbishing older content assets that are still relevant and making improvements
- Come up with original topics
- Don’t copy content from other sources
- Make sure your content is accurate and doesn’t include falsities
- Make sure content assets aren’t too long or too short (800 to 2,000 words is the sweet spot)
Check Site Analytics
Just like with PPC, analytics are everything when it comes to measuring the effectiveness of your SEO efforts.
Not to sound like a broken record, but if you don’t already have analytics set up, get started now. If you do have analytics but don’t really look at them often, start using them right away.
Here are some tools you can use:
- Google Analytics
- Google Search Console
Build Your Content Strategy Around ToFu, MoFu, and BoFu
No, these aren’t ingredients you’d see on the menu at a vegan restaurant. ToFu, MoFu, and BoFu – try saying that three times fast – are three important terms that refer to the stages of the inbound marketing and sales funnel that can influence your SEO and content strategy.
- ToFu (Top of Funnel).At the top of your sales funnel, you should be working to attract a larger audience of potential leads. This can be done with content marketing. ToFu content should be relevant, up to date, and educational to your audience and answer specific questions, needs, or pain points that they’re looking to address without trying to sell them anything. An example of this is blog articles.
- MoFu (Middle of Funnel). When a lead converts via ToFu content, they progress to the MoFu stage. During this stage, your content should still be educational while building your credibility and positioning your brand as a solution to their needs and challenges. This can include eBooks, white papers, case studies, and videos.
- BoFu (Bottom of Funnel). This is the most critical stage as it is where you finally secure the sale. For many industries, BoFu does not require content. Instead, an incentive or “guarantee” can help seal the deal. Think free trials, assessments, or evaluations, or even a discount code.
Don’t focus exclusively on content and ignore the technical side of SEO. Link building is one of the most crucial parts of an effective SEO strategy and should include a combination of:
- Backlinks. Incoming hyperlinks from another website to yours. In order for backlinking to be effective, the links must come from high-quality sources.
- Outbound Links. Links from your website to other legitimate, quality websites that help to improve your own authority. Try linking to a research study or in-depth content from a trusted source that relates to a topic you are writing about.
- Internal Links. These are links on your site that link to other pages on the same site. Internal links help visitors navigate your site, find other pieces of related content, and remain on your site for longer.
Importance Of Tailored Digital Marketing Strategies And Why You Should Go External
As you can see, running PPC Campaigns alongside a strong SEO strategy is key to improving visibility and gaining quality leads.
But no amount of research can prepare you for the realities of setting up, monitoring, and optimizing SEO and PPC to achieve the kind of results that will help you grow your business.
Putting these strategies into practice requires an entire team of marketing professionals with the knowledge and expertise to not only do the work, but do it exceptionally.
A full-service digital marketing agency with dedicated PPC and SEO teams will ensure you have an entire team working together that can collaborate and bounce ideas off each other in order to get you more leads and increase conversions. Because it really is true what they say – 2 heads (or 10!) are so much better than one.