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PPC and SEO Working Together - SEO POV

Updated: Dec 6, 2023

Our brilliant speaker Crystal J Carter said in our last PPC Live UK - ‘PPC and SEO are like peanut butter and jelly; you can have them separately but together they really do the business!’. She is completely right; SEO and PPC impact each other, and the more strategically we work together, the better results we can get.

So, following the success of her PPC Live UK presentation, the PLU team brought together some SEO experts to share their knowledge about some of the questions we discussed in our last event.

Please, welcome to the stage:

Veronika Höller - Global Senior SEO at CGM

Sara Bodner - Digital Content Manager at Conklin Media

Tory Gray - the CEO & Founder of Gray Dot Company

Veruska Anconitano - Multilingual SEO and Localization Consultant at Anconitano

Josep M Felip - SEO manager at Learning Technologies Group

Naomi Francis-Parker - Digital Marketing Manager at The Evergreen Agency

Rejoice Ojiaku - SEO specialist

Pavani Konduru - SEO manager at Moda Furnishings

How can SEO and PPC work together across the conversion funnel?

Veronika Höller: If you create together the Landing Pages, you can write better ads and include creatives on the page they are using for their campaigns. PPC campaigns structure should build from the top of the funnel until the bottom of the funnel - the user should also find all intentions on the page. Short forms, telephone numbers, downloads for free, buying possibilities etc.

Sara Bodner: Have Paid test out keywords. Once you know what's will convert well, you can build optimized content around those keywords.

Tory Gray: Ensuring that the brand has the right amount of visibility across the entire customer journey (the "right amount" being relative to budget, goals, etc.) Make sure you are helping each target persona/potential customer through each step of the customer funnel - whether paid or organic - or both.

Veruska Anconitano: PPC results should always be analysed to understand the performance of a set of keywords. This will help SEOs understand users' demands and add this set of keywords to their organic content for long-term success.

Josep M Felip: PPC can bring more awareness and SEO can bring more depth to the topic and get the conversion.

Rejoice Ojiaku: Leveraging Organic Traffic for Remarketing is what you want to do. With omnichannel remarketing in place, your SEO and PPC campaigns can benefit from each other without requiring a lot of coordination. You can remarket to people who come to your site through organic search on social media, YouTube, and other websites where they hang out online as long as you have the correct parameters in place. You now have a pretty cheap method of attracting repeat visits to your website.

Pavani Konduru: Finding long-term KW's and if we are not ranking, then telling the PPC team to see if CPCs are okay and can start bidding on it. The product listings from shopping, notice which product is getting high clicks and then the SEO team can optimise titles and descriptions on the landing page, which can help them rank organically.

The top 3 assets that SEOs keep asking from their PPC colleague

Veronika Höller:

  1. Ask them which goals they have to reach

  2. Get access to their accounts and give them access to your tools

  3. Ask them how you can support them

Sara Bodner:

  1. Keywords that are converting well

  2. Related keywords I wouldn't have thought to test

  3. Insights from clients that I may not have

Tory Gray:

  1. Which keywords convert but are too expensive to keep paying for? Organic should consider targeting these!

  2. Which keywords just aren't working? I.e. Driving traffic & costs but aren't the right customer, so are ultimately a waste of time for everyone.

  3. Once they've tested top-performing ad headlines and descriptions, as well as landing page CTAs, features, trust indicators, etc - which are the winners? What should we replicate/test to improve organic results?

Veruska Anconitano:

  1. Conversion rate

  2. Failure rate

  3. Audience Insights

Josep M Felip:

  1. List of keywords they are targeting

  2. List of pages associated with those keywords

  3. List of keywords performance

Naomi Francis-Parker:

  1. PPC-focused keyword research - This may differ from SEO-focused keyword research and could provide some valuable insights for the SEO team.

  2. Campaign insights - What's working and what isn't so we can be prepared in case a client brings this up

  3. Strategy - What is the PPC strategy? This is really helpful to know where the focus is as it can often be slightly different to the SEO focus. Once we know for sure, we can be mindful of our SEO activities.

Rejoice Ojiaku:

  1. Landing Page Relevancy

  2. Keyword Research

  3. A/B testing

Pavani Konduru:

  1. SEO/PPC report from Google Ads

  2. Auction Insights

  3. Search term report

What should your PPC colleague be asking SEOs?

Veronika Höller:

  1. We should build a goal for our overall marketing strategy

  2. How can they support me with data information

  3. How can we work together for our company

Sara Bodner:

  1. Google Search Console keywords that are getting the most traffic to the site!

Tory Gray:

  1. What are the highest-converting keywords?

  2. Which terms are ideal to pay for, as they are too competitive organically (in the short or long term)?

  3. What selling points/value propositions work best?

Veruska Anconitano:

  1. Search intent behind keywords

  2. Most performing keywords, organically

  3. Language-specific and more narrow keywords

  4. List of pages/keywords we're pushing organically

Josep M Felip:

  1. How to improve landing pages. Even if they're not indexed, performance is vital for PPC as well.

  2. They also should be asking about the keywords we're targeting for each page so we're not wasting efforts.

Naomi Francis-Parker:

  1. Keyword research - We generally have extensive keyword research that the PPC team can use as a baseline to understand how users are searching. Coupling this with their own research can be really insightful and save time as they won't have to start from scratch.

  2. Strategy - The SEO strategy is always good to be aware of as it can show the PPC team where we're focusing and how this aligns with their focus. It can be a different focus (and it often is), but it's invaluable to understand the business's focus from both departments' perspectives to work more effectively together.

Rejoice Ojiaku:

The SEO teams should inform the PPC teams about the keywords associated with a specific user intent. By focusing on the searchers' ultimate goals in keyword research, the PPC team will be able to segment converting keywords into the appropriate intent. At the end of the day, it is unrealistic to expect every keyword to convert into leads, which helps shift the focus and ensure that we are educating a niche audience.

Your best advice on reporting - who gets the conversion credit: SEO or PPC?

Veronika Höller: If you work together closely both had benefits - don’t see it as different channels.

Sara Bodner: Ideally, SEO and PPC team members can be on client calls or internal meetings and discuss collaboration. This helps build trust and present a well-thought-out strategy. However, we usually use Zapier to track where conversions come from and stick to that when possible. You have to recognize that sometimes people will Google something after seeing an ad.

Tory Gray: We prefer to report on First Touch conversion sources and Assisted Conversions. It's better to understand the entire conversion path vs fight for cred.

Josep M Felip: Tricky one. The best thing would be to set up a good attribution model. Hopefully, GA4 will help with that. However, as a good SEO, my answer would be, "it depends" :-) SEO should get it most of the time, depending on the purpose/type of conversion.

Naomi Francis-Parker: It's always best to lead with the result as that's the most important thing to any client or business. You can then discuss how it was achieved which more naturally leads to whether it was primarily PPC or SEO, or whether it was a combination of both.

Make it about the client's goals and not who gets the gold star internally, as we find that clients tend to appreciate that more.

Rejoice Ojiaku: Reliable data and insightful analysis are the foundation of effective digital marketing strategies. You will be able to make wise judgments and optimize your campaigns for long-term success if you can comprehend performance data and put it to use. As a result, it should be credited to the entire team because close collaboration ensures shared success, which boosts customer conversion. When PPC and SEO work together well, the reports will highlight both marketing strategies without favouring one over the other.

Pavani Konduru: Assisted conversions. If the resource exists, then a/b testing should help better understand which channel to be credited.

Does it make sense to pay for a keyword that is organically ranking well?

Veronika Höller: Sure, if the competition is above you.

Sara Bodner: Classic SEO answer: it depends! Your audience may be more likely to click an ad than view organic results, but if it's an extremely expensive keyword and you're already ranking #1, it may not be the best strategy. Of course, this depends on your company's cost-benefit analysis.

Tory Gray: Classically - it depends! I've seen both scenarios be accurate. EG wasted spend on branded keywords - where no competitors were advertising on brand terms - vs key conversion terms, which were showing up in both places, resulting in net-more conversions at a reasonable cost. Therefore, it's something we prefer to A/B test.

Veruska Anconitano: It does if the intent is different and the content pushed is different. E.g. SEO may focus on brand awareness while PPC may want to focus on hard conversion.

Josep M Felip: I thought it wasn't, but it seems that helps the target page perform better, specifically for PPC.

Naomi Francis-Parker: Trying to avoid saying 'it depends,' so I'll frame it differently!

Depending on the client's goals, it can make sense to continue paying for a keyword that organically ranks well. This is because it takes up more real estate in the SERPs, which is good for brand awareness and keeps you top of mind for users. It can also provide a competitive edge that you could take advantage of if you're relying solely on organic, especially if competitors invest heavily in PPC.

Rejoice Ojiaku: It does, indeed. It would be best if you tried to dominate a particular keyword phrase, regardless of whether it has an organic rating for position 1. By placing highly in both paid listings and organic results, it enables you to outrank competitors. Additionally, it prevents your rivals from displaying in the top three paid positions above your organic listing. Further, it reassures customers that their choice should be your brand. Since they naturally assume a company is successful if it can afford to promote effectively, it is always wise to continue paying for keywords even when you are ranking highly.

Pavani Konduru: It depends on position and competition; the more competitive the keyword, and if you rank in position one then understand the value that brings from revenue.

So, as a summary - Your best tip to work side by side with your PPC team is...

Veronika Höller: Communication 😊! Talk about which campaigns they're running, if they link to the website or create unique landing pages, which target they have, which creatives they use, and how you could support them—working together to optimize the landing pages and Ads. See PPC & SEO as a perfect couple where the other has weaknesses that the other one can support.

Sara Bodner: Communicate, even if you have to "force" it. A twenty-minute weekly meeting to focus on a few clients (or keywords) can open up many opportunities.

Tory Gray: Communication is key! And information sharing: what are the data points and insights needed to support everyone's results and the business as a whole?

Veruska Anconitano: Share the list of keywords, user persona and intent between the two teams to make sure both can take advantage of data and insights.

Josep M Felip: Fluid communication. Share as much information as possible.

Naomi Francis-Parker: Be open and communicative - SEO and PPC are supposed to complement one another, so it doesn't benefit anyone, least of all your client if both teams don't communicate. I work for an agency and find that having regular meetings to discuss any critical changes on a client's account not only ensures that both teams are in the loop but also often provides new insights and opportunities that might have been missed if both departments kept to themselves.

Rejoice Ojiaku: When conducting keyword research for SEO, consult the PPC team to see which keywords they have identified as particularly effective at driving conversions. You can then utilize these keywords to build optimized landing pages. Additionally, it would be best if you inquired with the PPC team about the ad copy variations they have tried and seen success with for SEO campaigns.

Pavani Konduru: Helping the team to understand the value (E.g., ROI & Spend) of working together can help the brand.

You can find further information on our SEO with PPC resources page.

About our experts:

Department: Digital Marketing Center of Excellence

About you: Veronika is a Global Senior SEO. In short, she is a hybrid and she truly believes for 14 years that SEO, PPC and SMM should work together closely for a real digital transformation and revenue.

Department: SEO & Content

About Sara: Sara Bodner is Digital Content Manager at Conklin Media, a business growth agency focused on connecting a company's most profitable product with its best audience.

Website: Conklin Media

Name: Tory Gray

Department: I'm the CEO, but I personally specialize in strategic and technical SEO

About Tory: Tory Gray is the CEO & Founder of Gray Dot Company - an SEO & Data Consulting Company.

Department: SEO

About Veruska: Veruska is a Multilingual SEO and Localization Consultant with 18+ years of experience working with established brands wanting to break into non-English-speaking markets.

Department: Marketing/SEO

About Josep: Josep is the SEO manager at Learning Technologies Group. Passionate about cooking as much as about SEO.

Department: SEO

About Naomi: Naomi is a Digital Marketing Manager who specialises in SEO. She loves data, spreadsheets and coming up with creative solutions to address difficult problems.

About Rejoice: Rejoice has approximately 5 years of experience as an SEO specialist and content strategist. She is a recognised D&I supporter and the co-founder of B-DigitalUK.

Department: SEO & PPC

About Pavani: I am an SEO professional with several years of experience on Search.

PPC Live UK firmly believes in diversity. We are always looking at amplifying the voice of those experts who have never spoken before or who feel they have never been given the opportunity. So, if you want to share your voice and expertise, please contact us.

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