Those of us living in Orange County understand the dilemma of figuring out the logistics for a weekender to San Francisco or Vegas. It always comes down to this question: Fly or Drive? My friends always seem to be split on this issue and both sides make valid arguments as to why we should choose one over the other. I prefer to make the 45 minute flight instead of driving for hours. However, my friends like the wholesome conversations, meal stops and scenic views that a drive can provide. This will be an ongoing debate until these guys can get things figured out.
Many businesses face a similar question when it comes to marketing: PPC or SEO? PPC and SEO both play an essential role in your growth strategy. However, they’re completely different beasts.
PPC is essentially paid advertising, placing your ads in users’ SERPs (search engine results pages) depending on the search terms they entered. These sponsored results appearing at the top of the SERPs are part of a complex system where businesses can enter a real-time bidding auction to essentially pay-to-play.
PPC the flight… it’s the faster method to getting in front of customers.
On the other hand, SEO is more organic, depending on the effective use of keywords, linking, and building authority. In the past, brands could unscrupulously overload pages with keywords and effectively cheat their way up the rankings. Today, that behavior ends in penalties, and so businesses have to be a little wiser in attracting prospects. While you can’t pay to have your site appear in the SERPs, your costs for SEO ranking will come in the form of time. You’ll need to write a lot of fresh content in the form of articles and blogs or pay an agency to do it for you.
SEO is the drive… it’s a much longer process, requires a lot more work but has some cool benefits as a result.
As different as they are, you can use PPC as a testing ground to enhance the effectiveness of your SEO campaign. Considering that SEO is an ongoing commitment, why not experiment with part of your PPC investment to benefit your overall online activity, especially early on in your marketing efforts?
Let’s take a closer look at how you can use PPC ads to test various integral factors of your SEO …
Tracking Your Conversions
To rate the effectiveness of your PPC testing, you’ll need to pay attention to your Google AdWords’ conversion tracking, to see which keywords lead to the most conversions (at the smallest fee).
You want to create an extensive selection of keywords (relevant to your business, products, and services) using the platform’s keyword tool, and separate them into different categories. Each group should be connected to a specific landing page, with a low daily budget to avoid spending more than you need to in this early trial phase. Figure out what you can afford before you get started.
You need to assess the effectiveness of your keywords and ad content, evaluating which drive the most traffic to your site. You can set-up specific parameters for when and how your ads appear on a SERP, choosing the degree of relevancy you want to target. You may want to try one of each, to get a more comprehensive overview of your ads’ quality.
What Do You Do Next?
You should experiment with different titles, ad copy, and keywords, to see which combinations yield the most conversions. Once your testing period is over (the length is up to you, but you need to allow enough time for the ads to take effect), use Google Analytics to see which search terms led to the most conversions.
Not only will you have identified the most effective PPC ads for the future, you’ll also know which keywords and titles to use for your SEO campaign. Still, it’s vital to apply your findings wisely: use keywords in moderation, and make your titles and descriptions appealing to human readers without an obvious sales pitch.
To learn more about how PPC can benefit your business in Orange County, digital marketing, and more, give us a call!
— Michael Won