Paid search and natural search a perfect partnership

A question posed to many digital marketing professionals is ‘which is better to generate business; PPC or SEO?’ But there is no quick answer to that question - there are too many factors to consider. However, shouldn’t the question really be ‘how can we effectively maximise our return on investment?’

Invariably the answer to this would be to employ an integrated approach to marketing yourself online, as opposed to utilising only one channel and limiting your chances of generating targeted traffic and ultimately converting to a sale/action.

Avoiding Paid Search Due To Past Experiences

Looking at the two most popular and widely used disciplines; paid search and search engine optimisation, a lot of businesses tend to opt for one or the other and in many cases avoid paid search entirely, stating they have tried it themselves in the past but didn’t see a return. Often it’s the case that businesses haven’t set the correct parameters; for instance budgets/costs-per-click, geo-targeting, time scheduling, campaign categorisation, text/copy and of course the right keywords to target. Essentially we find that businesses haven’t used the interface, for instance, Google Adwords, to its full potential. We also find that they neither measured the campaign nor used the information and data they could have gathered from this to help optimise their SEO strategy further. This is critical customer insight and research data, so why not use it!

Long-Term Search Engine Goals

SEO is a ‘long term’ process; the aim is to create brand authority and credibility online, cumulatively increasing your website’s presence in the search engines. With it being a long-term process the gains can be great, but obviously with this, a degree of patience is required. So, the information gathered from your PPC campaign can be fed into conversion optimisation of your website. Aside from the benefits to conversion rates, there are also SEO benefits for the long term - with search engines constantly trying to enhance and reflect what’s best for the user in the search query results.

Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket

A 2012 study of 1.4 billion searches in the UK by GroupM and Nielsen showed the organic listing won 94% of the clicks. However in early 2013, research by UK-based Bunnyfoot showed 81 out 100 customers clicked on AdWords over the organic listings in Google. 40% of this group had no idea the ads were paid search listings. Their choice was as simple as this, they chose the listing that best matched and was most relevant to what they were searching for. But no, SEO isn’t dead and Paid Search is not taking over. However, this would indicate that more investment is required in both, not putting all of your eggs in one basket! Ensure you have the right strategy in the first place and are open to using the right channels to push your message out to. Data intelligence is key to a successful campaign.