Since Point It provides both paid and organic search services, we often find ourselves providing a hybrid program for our clients – doing both at the same time. It can be easy to see PPC and SEO as two entirely different disciplines, but I actually recommend to most of my SEO clients that they consider running at least a small paid search campaign in conjunction with their organic efforts. Here are 6 reasons why:
1. Quick PPC Conversions
SEO can take weeks and even months to really start driving increased revenue for your site. There are a lot of changes to be made at the outset, and ongoing SEO tasks tend to be cumulative in value. If your company is hungry for more leads and sales right now, a paid search marketing program is a great way to start seeing more conversions immediately while your longer-term SEO strategy ramps up. It’s also a good way to quickly promote an event or special offer.
2. More Real Estate on the Search Results Page
Many of my clients with hybrid search programs report that the clicks and conversions on their organic results actually decrease when their paid search ads aren’t running. Having a paid ad and an organic result on the same page increases the total real estate on that page dedicated to your brand, and my experience suggests that that extra mention in the paid results column may actually drive more users to click the organic result than otherwise would. This is by no means true for every business, but it’s an interesting test to run, especially on your branded terms and other phrases for which you already rank well organically.
3. Appear for a Keyword You Have to Have
A hard truth of most SEO programs is that there are some keywords that are just going to be out of reach without a lot of time, effort and resources poured into ranking for them. Since not every business has said time/effort/resources available to spend, that puts some keywords just plain out of reach. A well-crafted paid search marketing program takes money, it’s true, but it can get you on the page for keywords you just don’t have the bandwidth to pursue organically. Plus, it can help you make sure that keyword really is so important to you, which brings us to:
4. Keyword Gut Check
Searcher intent is a big part of a successful SEO campaign. You can drive all the traffic in the world to your site, but if no one converts, you haven’t really succeeded. If your site sells chocolate candy, it’s no use targeting someone who wants to research the history of chocolate – they’re not ready to buy. Running a PPC campaign or two around new SEO keywords will give you a better idea of which keywords are used by people ready to convert, and which might not be a good fit. Plus, you can use tools like AdWords’ “See search terms” button to find additional converting keywords to target.
5. Message Testing
Revamping your messaging, but not sure which way to go? A paid search campaign’s streamlined keyword – ad – landing page structure allows you to test different messages and calls to action without having to commit to a site-wide change. It’s easy to run A/B tests to find the winner; just make sure your results are statistically significant before you draw any conclusions.
6. Site Redesign Guinea Pig
In much the same vein as message testing, PPC is a nice little test environment before you deploy a full site redesign. There’s some time and money involved in setting up landing pages with your potential new look and feel, but it will give you a much better idea of whether or not your users will respond positively to your new site – before you invest the full amount of time and money that the site redesign will cost. Better a small investment in testing up front than a huge investment that might fail down the line.