August 02 2019

How Paid Search & SEO Work Together

SEO and Paid SearchIt literally pays to play in when it comes to search marketing, and the best digital results come from mixing paid search and organic search. When done according to best practices, SEO can help your site attract a higher volume of organic search traffic over time. But, if you want to jump start your traffic on high priority keywords, pairing SEO efforts with paid search advertising can yield more immediate and highly targeted results. Paid and organic tactics each offer unique benefits, but together can strengthen the overall effectiveness of your digital marketing efforts and deliver a larger return on investment.

Benefits of Paid Search Marketing

Paid search results appear at the top and bottom of search engine results pages. They can contain more customized content – from phone numbers and key features to page links – and can be identified by the word “Ad” within it. Other than having more prominent placement in search engine result pages, there are other benefits to paying for ads. Some top reasons to consider a paid campaign include:

  • Targeting: With paid search ads, you can target users based on the exact keywords they are searching, the time of day, their language, their geographic location, the device they are on, what sites/ pages they previously visited and more.

  • Immediate visibility: As soon as your ads are approved and live, they will start to be triggered when users search for keywords that are part of your campaign and/or fall under your targeting demographic. You can also schedule start and end dates for your ads so you can define a set period for time-bound marketing initiatives.

  • Measurement: Paid search is one of the most qualitatively trackable tactics since you can track engagement and conversions. If you get a lead or sale from a paid ad, you can trace it back to what keyword was searched and at what cost. This can help you determine the return on investment and general success of the paid ad and will allow you to refine your campaign accordingly.

  • Testing: With paid search ads, marketers can perform A/B testing for landing pages and call to action buttons to determine where the best search results are originating. You can also set benchmark data to give context for your campaign.

Though paid search is inherently a “pay to play” tactic, success can often come at a relatively low cost if the ad account is set up strategically and managed regularly to maximize optimization. If budget is an issue, consider doing paid ads for seasonal promotions or specials, or focus on just one business priority that might be more challenging through organic search to achieve the best results.

Search Engine Optimization

  • Low cost: SEO efforts are relatively inexpensive in comparison to other marketing tactics. While an SEO strategy can be implemented at any time, it is most effective when completed along with the process of designing or redesigning a website. This involves strategizing page names and the navigation of the site, performing keyword research, optimizing meta tags as well as with the copy on each page of the site, and following technical SEO best practices. All of this can be done in-house by a trained expert or an SEO agency, in conjunction with the use of many free and paid SEO tools, including Google’s keyword planner, Screaming Frog, MOZ and more.
  • Credibility & Sustainability: Organic search results tend to have more credibility and a longer life span. Although it can take time to achieve high rankings on the search engine results pages, with proper strategy management and competitive defense, you may be able to maintain that position. According to MOZ’s Local Search Ranking Factors Survey, reviews are thought to make up 10% of how Google decides to rank search results. This may be part of the reason why average users feel that an organic search result is more useful and credible than a paid ad.

  • Increased Click Through Rate (CTR): In addition to credibility, high ranking organic results generally receive a higher click-through rate (CTR). Even if you do not rank first in search engine results, a high click through rate is an indication that your SEO strategy is working. Studies have shown that marketers should strive for a consistent CTR on all main product and service pages.

  • Easy to Spot Your Competition: It’s not always easy to see how much your competition is spending on ads, but SEO can help you to keep up and even beat out your competition on desirable terms. Since SEO strategies are evident on a public-facing website, you can evaluate the websites that are ranking well for target keywords within your area/industry and find similar optimization opportunities to better compete.

Having a defined SEO strategy is a must to get organically noticed by search engines and your target audience. It is important to remember that SEO is an ongoing process and current best practices should be followed for any additional pages added to the site or changes made to existing pages. Additionally, SEO best practices have a strong dependency on your content strategy.

SEO & PPC work best when supporting each other

The reason to invest in both SEO and paid search is to increase your online visibility and expose more audiences to your brand and website. Let’s look at the variety of ways SEO and paid search work together toward these objectives, as well as how they can support your overall reach, lead generation and conversions:

  • Budgeting & Competition: When you balance PPC with SEO you don’t have to throw all your marketing budget into your Google Ads campaign.  When SEO is properly managed on an ongoing basis in conjunction with any paid ads or campaigns, the two tactics will support each other by helping to achieve prominent rankings and placing your site at a competitive advantage. And, when you balance your paid campaigns with SEO you can still sustain success with a smaller spend.

  • Remarketing: Remarketing is a direct example of how having a well-balanced SEO and paid search strategy can go a long way. Have you ever searched for something, visited a website/product page, and then seen ads for that website/ product page on another site or search engine at a later point in time? This is remarketing in action. An ad that you are paying for is triggered by someone coming to your website/a specific page organically.

  • Testing: When PPC and SEO work together you can test and share keyword data. If a keyword does very well in a paid ad, you can be reasonably confident that it will do well organically. In this case, you would want to amend the appropriate pages to include this keyword or phrase through your organic content as well as future campaigns.

  • Visibility: The number one reason marketers should be using both PPC and SEO in their overall digital strategy is the exposure it brings to your brand and your site. The more that users visit your website, the more likely search engines will deem it useful and credible and give it desired real estate in results.

When you are leading organic and paid search results you will find that not only your impressions will have increased but also the quality of traffic to your site. The combination of paid and organic search optimization can help ensure that users are exposed to your brand and encourage clicks to your site. This further contributes to your click through rate (CTR), which also increases your search rankings. This cycle is beneficial for your brand awareness, credibility and business success.

Using paid and organic search together provides opportunities to help businesses achieve a variety of goals. To discuss your specific needs,  contact us to speak with one of our search engine marketing experts.


posted by
Danielle Murray
Danielle Murray

ZAG Interactive is a full-service digital agency in Glastonbury, CT, offering website design, development, marketing and digital strategy to clients nationwide. See current job openings.