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How to develop an integrated Paid Search and SEO strategy for e-commerce

Author's avatar By Expert commentator 12 Feb, 2018
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Examples and best practice advice on how to maximise your digital marketing reach with an integrated PPC and SEO approach.

When it comes to digital marketing, pay per click (PPC) advertising and search engine optimisation (SEO) are arguably two sides of the same coin. However, all too often companies will focus on one at the expense of the other.

At ClickThrough Marketing we provide an integrated digital marketing approach. Working with large-scale e-commerce sites, we have learnt the importance of combining PPC and SEO activities to gain greater client and market insight as well as streamline our own internal activities.

PPC SEO Integration

Here, we look at four ways in which PPC and SEO can work together to deliver better results across the board.

1. Finding SEO opportunities with PPC data

There are many ways in which PPC can support SEO and digital marketers should explore ways to integrate paid search into their SEO strategy. We recommend the following: 

  • Sharing keyword data – Due to ‘not provided’, SEO teams can no longer report on what term brought a user to a site organically. However, SEO experts can use the “Search Query Reports” from AdWords to identify what keywords to prioritise when generating content aimed at the user. This is especially valuable when writing product descriptions or brand pages for e-commerce clients. Using the Search Query Report allows SEO practitioners to recognise which search terms are trending and tailor on page content towards these terms. For example, your SEO team may have used the search query report to find popular “How To…” queries to produce creative content, such as infographics and eBooks. There may even be opportunities to create new landing pages or extended landing pages from reviewing PPC keyword data, focusing on impressions, clicks and sales.
  • Remarketing – SEO professionals can use PPC remarketing to support any creative content that they produce. For example, a company may decide to remarket to their existing users that they have recently launched a whitepaper or eBook to encourage downloads and further engagement.
  • Sitelinks – Our SEO team works with the PPC team to implement sitelinks on Google AdWords campaigns to support blog posts. We find that this method leads to these blogs generating more visits than they normally would and reaching a wider audience. This also brings a greater CTR and interaction rates on the ads and, through the insightful knowledge of the blog, helps to drive more sales.
  • Creatives – With the speed of AdWords PPC teams quickly discover what copy works well and can then share this data with their SEO and content marketing colleagues. Look at whether certain USPs or call to actions (CTAs) improve click-through rate and conversion rates? Then feed this back to the content team and watch how this impacts on organic listings and conversions.

2. Finding PPC opportunities with SEO data

Just as PPC data can be used to support SEO and content marketing activities for e-commerce clients, SEO data can support PPC.

  • When budget is tight - Where PPC keywords are expensive it may be wise to focus SEO and content efforts on these keywords, especially if they have potential to drive large volumes of traffic. Naturally, the results will take longer to filter through, but this could prove a cost-effective way to see ranking gains as well as providing insight into what search terms really work to drive valid traffic and sales.
  • Quality Score - Use SEO content writing skills to help improve keywords with low quality score. Adding SEO content to your landing pages could help better your keywords quality score, improving your ad rank, reducing your cost per click but also with more relevant content driving up conversion and engagement rate.
  • Use organic data to plan your PPC strategy – Make a point to review organic traffic trends and consider factoring this in when planning your PPC spend. For example, if organic traffic peaks at the weekend but your PPC spend isn’t reflecting this then it could be a good idea to start pushing more at the weekend to see if this improves performance on PPC.

3. Cross channel considerations for organic and paid search

Taking a holistic approach to your digital marketing efforts will reap rewards, but don’t underestimate the impact of external forces on your campaigns.

  • Site downtime - Site problems will not only affect SEO but can cost a lot of money on PPC. If a site goes down the PPC campaign will have to be paused. Continuous site problems will have an effect on SEO performance and can lower keyword rankings. Make sure your PPC and SEO teams are constantly communicating so that downtime can be reduced and campaigns fully optimised. There’s no point sending a potential consumer to a broken page – that’s poor PPC account management and will deteriorate UX and brand value if it is a constantly recurring issue.
  • Competitor research - Competitors can be different for both SEO and PPC. However, it’s important that a PPC competitor is also considered as an SEO competitor because at any point they can become an SEO competitor.
  • PPC offers a lot of data to identify new competitors or highlight when certain competitors are pushing harder. Run the “Auction Insights” report in AdWords to trend competitor impression share. Then, share this data with your SEO team.
  • Overall combined strategy for SERP domination - Combining both SEO and PPC strategies will enable increased exposure and SERP domination. This will increase overall traffic. One way to maximise on this is through local strategies. Link local PPC campaigns to tailored local landing pages to drive traffic online and in store.

Increase your digital real estate with top three spots on paid and organic search and watch the business come in.

4. Site migration

Perhaps one of the most important times to bring SEO and PPC together is for a site migration. Moving your website from one platform to another, or creating a totally new site, is an arduous task dreaded by many marketing managers. However, by combining PPC and SEO activities you should be able to seamlessly migrate across with few glitches. Work together to identify a quiet time to implement your migration, be sure to pause your PPC campaigns while you move across and then work together to identify key SEO considerations after the migration.

  • URL mapping documents - URL mapping documents will aid PPC when changing the URLs in the campaigns.
  • Keyword rankings - Organic keyword rankings can fluctuate following migration. Increase PPC budget and push keywords that are suffering organically.

Get PPC and SEO working together and you’ll see the benefits of a collaborative approach. Using the same language, talking to the same target audience, and communicating constantly on matters such as keywords, content and even site downtime will present a stronger digital marketing proposition that attracts and converts.

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