Often when I meet a new client or prospect they found me either via organic search (“San Diego SEO Consultant”, “San Diego E-Commerce”, etc.) or word of mouth.
They almost always ask for one particular service. They say “We are looking for SEO experts” or “We need help with PPC”. On one hand, this is an ideal prospect or client. They know what they want and aren’t asking for every internet marketing service at once. However, at the same time, clients often have the ideology that they can only hire one specialist team for one channel of their online marketing. Effectively they pigeonhole one firm/consultant for an SEO service and another firm for Pay Per Click Advertising.
Over the past two years, I’ve seen a dynamic shift in both SEO and PPC and decided it would be valuable to combine the two channels under one roof, in other words, a total search marketing optimization.
Here are some considerations for employing both SEO and SEM channels vs putting all your “eggs in one basket”.
More Data, More Conversions
Issue Number 1: Ambiguity
Operating strictly from organic traffic (SEO) does not give the full perspective of what’s occurring in your marketing campaigns. SEO tends to: 1) take significant time for Google to grant more clicks and impressions 2) your inbound marketing is not something you can directly quantify 3) you must build the website authority and there is no direct grade or score rubric you can use as an official source.
Issue Number 2: Targeting keywords that are seasonal or no longer relevant.
This is common for SEO campaigns that are long term and ongoing, you must always re-assess keywords in your campaigns. At a minimum, every quarter is a good policy.
Using PPC you can test the keywords in real-time and see in fact your website gets users and conversions. You can also collect data such as landing pages and services that convert. If your optimizing these for SEO, now you know exactly how Google responds to them.
Operating strictly from paid search (PPC) can also bias results. In PPC, you’ll need to fence your keyword targeting somehow to limit overspending so you are effectively basing results on each budgeted click. SEO will yield a much higher quantity of randomly based keywords if you are following best practices regarding Google’s algorithm.
Reliance solely on one channel is not bulletproof. There are viable gaps in using both independently.
Use Time Strategically – One Is Fast, One Is Slow
Issue Number 3: SEO is slow moving and compounding.
SEO takes time, it is similar to a cargo ship moving. If you need to turn or make adjustments it can be semi-delayed. Seasonality, changes in product offerings, etc. should all be planned accordingly and ahead of time.
Rankings and traffic takes time to build. Wanting quick SEO results is short-sided as SEO compounds over time. SEO is the process of improving a website’s visibility and ranking through quality copywriting, extensive linkbuilding, and technical on-page optimization. You are wearing multiple hats and they eventually synchronize.
Issue Number 2: PPC is fast and gets real time data but it’s “pay to play”.
PPC is reliable and is very clear in terms of attribution but you can’t continue to scale it without increasing your marketing budget.
Although, PPC is great to get the ball rolling and clear in terms of spend/ROI you must continue to pay for each click and visit and there is no compounding effect. You earn the traffic you pay for and if you pause your budget, traffic disappears overnight.
Using PPC for initial traction or at a verified ROAS is ideal, then integrate SEO to earn more bang for your buck.
You can balance the entire search budget and rank some costly keywords that you would otherwise be paying for each visit. You will see short-term wins with PPC initially to offset the time that SEO takes to compound.