Paid search and search engine optimization (SEO) campaigns may function in very different ways, but they both target the same digital platforms and similar audiences. It's not a requirement that these two campaigns be run concurrently. However, businesses opting for one and not the other are sacrificing some efficiency in their campaign management as well as some overall value in their digital marketing efforts. They are missing a subset of their intended audience.
Paid search and SEO are fundamentally different; one subsists on advertising dollars while the other attempts to drive traffic organically. These separate campaigns can be complementary to one another and increase each other's value, according to Moz. In addition, running both ensures businesses maximize real estate on the search engines. Here are three keys to running paid search and SEO campaigns simultaneously to increase their value and drive more traffic to your website.
1. Choose Your Targets by Looking at the Campaign Costs
All companies have some type of limit on their advertising budget. No company has infinitely deep pockets, and small and mid-size businesses need to be particularly mindful of campaign economy. These spending limits are typically most glaring where paid search advertising is concerned. Because more competitive keywords will cost more with each click, companies with limited budgets are often priced out of the most costly campaigns.
At least, that's the case where paid search is concerned. When you're running SEO and pay-per-click (PPC) together, you have more latitude in assigning keyword strategy in order to become more cost-effective, according to Conductor. Keywords that are too expensive to target through PPC, for example, can be targeted instead through SEO strategy. Organic search doesn't discriminate based on the competitiveness of a keyword. It may be tougher to break onto the first page of search result rankings, but there's no per-click cost incurred. As a result, you can assign expensive PPC keywords to SEO campaigns and apply your PPC dollars across more affordable keywords.
2. Use One Strategy's Success to Inform the Other
Insights gained through one search campaign can often be applied to the other. The best example of this comes when you experience keyword success that far outpaces expectations. When a keyword targeted through SEO proves very valuable in driving traffic and conversions, you may want to target that keyword through PPC as well because you have a high likelihood of seeing similar results.
The same is true going from PPC to SEO. In essence, you get double the insights from your keyword strategy, which lets you improve two strategies at the same time. This increases your ROI more rapidly than you would with just one campaign in action.
3. Keep Landing Pages Distinct and Referral-Specific
Using paid search and SEO in concert doesn't just increase your opportunities to produce a search-driven lead. It also increases the ways you can spark consumer interest. Multiple paid search ads and varying organic search traffic all target different consumer appeals — think price, fast shipping and solutions to various problems — to trigger a click. Keep these ads and content pages distinct to present a number of different consumer motivations.
The up-front cost will be more than running one campaign, but in the end, paid search and SEO will work together to increase one another's value and deliver far greater returns for your digital strategy.