The incremental value of PPC and SEO
When defining your business’s marketing strategy, it isn't easy to know how to prioritise. Especially when it comes to SEO and PPC campaigns. Federico D’Uva, our Lead Marketing Strategist, discusses the importance of whether you should be using PPC campaigns alongside top-performing organic rankings.
What is PPC & SEO?
To begin, let’s clarify what PPC and SEO are. PPC is online advertising where businesses pay each time a user clicks on the advertisement. In pay-per-click advertising, businesses are only charged when users click on their ad, hence the name “pay-per-click”. In this specific article, we refer to PPC as mainly paid search campaigns.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is increasing both the quality and quantity of website traffic through non-paid (also known as "organic") search engine results. Both use keywords to identify potential customers and relevant traffic but in different ways.
The difference and benefits
There are two main differences between SEO and PPC. Firstly, PPC (paid search) ads appear above organic listings influenced by SEO. Secondly, traffic from organic search is free, whereas traffic from PPC has a cost per click.
SEO helps with visibility in search engines based on targeted keywords, which puts your business in front of potential customers specifically searching for your products or services. It also helps increase website traffic at a lower cost(it’s not a physical cost, but you have to factor in time and effort). SEO is a sustainable option, unlike PPC, as paid traffic does stop when you stop paying. Efforts to develop organic traffic can sustain a business when marketing spend is cut back.
PPC improves your position on the page where search terms lack organically. Potential customers will always see the paid search ads, even if they choose to scroll past them. Running PPC advertisements gets you seen by the right people through targeting. Ads can be targeted by keywords, time of day, day of the week, geography, language, device, and audiences based on previous visits.
The controversy surrounding PPC and SEO
In terms of the incremental value of PPC and SEO, there are many controversies, suggesting that once you rank highly organically, there is no need to use paid search. I can't entirely agree, I think the way you should use paid search off the back of it needs to evolve.
If you're currently struggling to rank for a term organically, but you want to be, you could use paid search to gain traffic while working on building SEO. You might find that to build your SEO strategy, the requirements such as content, content length and internal links might start to dictate the user experience. It could be that you satisfy search engines and users for slightly different search intentions.
With paid search, you don't have to worry about that. If I'm looking for a product, I might need lots of content on the site to enable conversion via SEO. From a business perspective, PPC allows you to run a sale on one particular product and use paid search to take them to a landing page for a specific time period. For example, Dominoes run paid ads on their “Two for Tuesdays” campaign.
Even though Dominoes ranks highly, they run ads to appear right at the top. Those ads will be above any other listings on mobile alongside other PPC competitors. Just because you rank organically number one, you will still have competitors in the PPC area.
Is PPC and SEO traffic the same quality?
Yes, as long as you're matching the similar intent. When both types satisfy that intent and relevant keywords, the quality of traffic should be the same. Not every organic term you rank highly for should have paid behind it because some consumers are just looking for information.
Is it worth you paying for someone to come to the site?
Yes, if someone's looking for a solution or a product, then PPC can help you gain relevant traffic increasing chances of converting and gaining ROI.
The authenticity of PPC
There's also the debate on whether people tend to click PPC ads more than organic ranking businesses. This considers that a paying advertiser is seen as a legitimate business and that consumers know they are being targeted and therefore skip the ad section.
Ranking highly for organic search results is crucial. Research shows between 70% and 80% of users ignore paid advertisements (2019). For example, if you're in the industry, you know that PPC landing pages tend to undergo a lot more scrutiny because you're effectively paying for that traffic.
The Big Question: Should you utilise paid even if you are already ranking highly on search engine results pages?
If your business’s website is currently on page one of Google’s search results, and you haven’t yet invested in any Google PPC ads or PPC Management, should you be investing as well as ranking on page one? Is the extra expense worth the rewards?
In simple terms, yes, you should. Being present on page one is good, but the more ways to reach your audience, the better. Especially when you have access to online tools like Google Ad, offering you personalised paid search options. These tools can help you stand out from your competition.
If you’re already ranking highly, paid search ads can gain double the exposure. This means doubling the chances of gaining clicks and more relevant traffic hopefully leading to conversion and ROI.
Paid search alongside organic listings has seen up to 89% incremental growth. That’s why using PPC search advertising with organic SEO is worth the extra expense.