In today’s online world, where competition is higher than ever, businesses need a smart strategy to succeed. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) are two powerful tools in the digital marketer’s arsenal, each with its unique strengths and benefits. But what happens when you bring these two titans together? The result is a dynamic duo that can supercharge your online presence and drive remarkable success.
Friction between SEO and PPC often happens because we use different sources of information for each channel and don’t communicate well between teams. The main areas of friction are usually:
- Landing pages
Here are five ways you can get your PPC and SEO campaigns working together.
#1. Work Together on First-Party Data Readiness
For any digital marketing campaign, it’s essential to consider your first-party data.
Determining if your brand complies with regulations requires input from both your SEO and PPC teams.
If you rely on remarketing campaigns (maybe because you’re in a costly industry or your customer journey involves multiple steps), you might increasingly depend on native audiences.
While some of these audiences can be effective, most don’t perform as well as audiences based on brand-tracked activity.
Analytic audience segments can be a valuable solution for dealing with varying quality.
Remember that these audience segments still require user consent and an updated global site tag, like GA4.
When setting up cookie consent, ensure that it follows cumulative layout shift (CLS) rules. Generally, placing modules at the bottom of the page is better as they don’t disrupt the user’s buying journey and pose less CLS risk.
Also, make sure that the first-party data you collect is protected, either by hashing and syncing through tools or by deleting it immediately after uploading it to ad accounts.
Collaborate with your SEO team’s content campaigns to create engaging hooks for consent-based interactions.
An important note about analytics
One significant drawback in the current implementation of GA4 and conversion modeling is that advertisers must make a choice between relying on analytics as their primary source of data or harnessing the benefits of enhanced conversions.
Enhanced conversions necessitate the use of Google’s native conversion tracking. Although enhanced conversion tracking provides a better understanding of the performance of paid campaigns, the numbers will always differ from what your SEO team reports.
For the sake of trust and maintaining consistent data, it might be reasonable to accept discrepancies in PPC-reported numbers as long as the overall metrics indicate a positive Return on Ad Spend (ROAS).
Opting for enhanced conversions means acknowledging that the reports will be different, and all parties involved must be comfortable with this fact.
#2. Recognize and Adjust for Domain Structure Decisions
Here are three methods for configuring brand URLs:
- Utilizing a single domain for all, including international content.
- Employing subdomains for different initiatives.
- Using vanity domains and country-specific domains.
In whichever approach you choose, remember that PPC-specific pages should be set as “noindex/nofollow” to allow the adbot to access them and contribute to the quality score.
Keeping everything on the same domain is rarely beneficial for non-ecommerce brands. This is because SEO and PPC have differing strategic priorities:
SEO aims to avoid duplicate content, while PPC benefits from testing templates.
SEO benefits from a comprehensive navigation bar, while PPC performs better with limited user action choices.
SEO may require page redirects, which can result in ad disapprovals (and repeated violations can lead to ad account suspension).
These challenges can be easily addressed by using subdomains. Subdomains can benefit the main domain without imposing creative or technical compromises on SEO and PPC teams. Moreover, they allow for consistent analytics and branding.
If you must use the same landing page for both PPC and organic traffic, ensure that any planned redirects are communicated well in advance (ideally three to five days beforehand). This gives the PPC team time to adjust creatives, preventing wasteful spending on traffic sent to broken pages until Google disapproves the ads.
Maintaining accurate inventory information is crucial for both PPC and SEO. Continuous product unavailability can lead to search engine penalties. Make sure all campaigns are aware of inventory issues, allowing them to exclude products from paid campaigns and apply the “out-of-stock” schema to the organic page.
#3. Add transactional intent and Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) to every page.
SEO is often seen as the “research” channel, while PPC is focused on transactions. However, both can learn valuable lessons from each other.
For instance, even though PPC pages typically have less content, they should still provide ways for users to grasp the product or service. This content, whether in written or video form, should be placed below the visible screen area, ensuring a clear path to conversion.
Similarly, SEO relies on high-quality and authoritative content for better rankings. But if the route to conversion is hidden or nonexistent, the traffic won’t lead to actual results.
#4. Use search query reports to inform campaigns
Whether it’s a short weekly catch-up or a monthly collaboration session, taking the time to discuss innovations and challenges in each area helps both sides prepare to tackle issues and make improvements.
If you’re from an agency and your counterpart is too, consider arranging joint meetings with the client or holding separate discussions.
Demonstrating your dedication to the brand’s success and a collaborative spirit will greatly boost client retention and ensure that your excellent work doesn’t inadvertently clash with theirs.
In summary, integrating PPC and SEO, optimizing data readiness, domain structure decisions, focusing on transactional intent, and utilizing search query reports are all key strategies for maximizing digital marketing success. By implementing these approaches, businesses can enhance their online presence, drive conversions, and stay ahead in the competitive digital landscape.