Improve Your SEO Performance Using PPC

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Improve Your SEO Performance Using PPC

Gordon Campbell
Improve Your SEO Performance Using PPC

I started my digital marketing career working at a small agency which meant that I had to do a little bit of everything and a lot of my time was focused on SEO & PPC. One thing that struck me when I progressed in my career and became exposed to larger agencies was the fact that so many people are siloed into there own roles and there isn't a lot of communication across departments.

This is particularly strange when it comes to SEO & PPC as essentially both disciplines are usually working toward the same goal - to drive more relevant traffic to a website.

In this blog post, I share how to use 3 easily obtainable PPC reports to help improve your organic search performance by improving elements such as click-through-rate and conversion.

Search Term Report

Google previously made it easy to see which search terms generated the most revenue for your business but unfortunately, this data is no longer easily accessible via Google Analytics for organic traffic so sometimes SEOs need to rely on a bit of guesswork to determine which keywords convert best. 

However, if a business is running AdWords campaigns, and the AdWords account has been set up properly, this data should be easily available to you.

To obtain this report, you can ask your PPC colleague, or agency partner, to simply run a Search Term report for the entire account and include metrics such as clicks, impressions, CTR, conversion rate, and total conversions.

If you prefer to get this information yourself simply click the 'Keyword' tab from within Google AdWords, then select the 'Search Terms' tab and pick a date range.  You can also modify the report to add additional information by selecting 'Columns' and then 'Modify Columns'.

I created a short video below to demonstrate this, I had to obscure certain information from the video for confidentiality reasons. 

You can easily download the data in a spreadsheet format and then sort the information to find the exact search terms that are generating leads and/or revenue.

This data is incredibly useful as you can use it to help structure your SEO campaigns by using the information as part of your keyword research strategy. This will help ensure that you are focusing on keywords that are actually going to make a real difference to your bottom line. 

Clients and SEO vs. PPC

There have been occasions in the past when I have worked with businesses who have been unsure whether or not SEO will work for them. They are sometimes afraid of investing in SEO due to the time it will take them to determine whether or not organic search is a viable route to market. They think perhaps another option will bring more immediate returns.

With this report, you can show them exactly which keywords will likely generate sales if you end up featured prominently organically. If a potential client does not yet engage with AdWords, a short-term PPC campaign can often put their minds at rest as you can then show them the benefit of appearing prominently on the SERPs. 

Ad Performance Report

There is much debate around whether or not click-through-rate makes a difference when it comes to organic search performance, but one thing you can say with some degree of certainty is that a high click-through-rate means more traffic to your website; so even if it doesn't increase rankings, it will increase traffic volume. 

Organic search specialists understand the importance of improving CTR, but unfortunately, testing usually takes a while due to the time it takes for Google to update the data in the SERPs.  This makes running a proper A/B test on page titles and meta descriptions unrealistic. 

However,  AdWords experts routinely test multiple ad variations for any given keyword to test performance in terms of CTR.  This can be set up extremely quickly and the results of the tests are easily available in the backend of AdWords.

To determine the CTR information for any given ad within AdWords.  Simply click the 'Ads' tab in the menu, and you will be presented with a list of all the adverts that the account is running.  You can then download the data in a spreadsheet to make the information easier to analyze.

This data gives you information on each of the ads CTR as well as other metrics such as bounce rate and conversion rate if tracking has been set up properly. 

​​​​​​How This Can Help With SEO Strategies

The information above can be used to give you a better idea of whether or not certain copy/phrases will likely achieve the goal of increased CTR on specific web pages.

With a bit of basic AdWords knowledge or help from a paid search professional, you can gain a better understanding of what the impact will be in terms of CTR if you change a website's page title and meta description by testing a paid ad first. 

You can then review this data before and make a more educated decision before committing to changing a page's overall optimization strategy. 

SEMrush Advertising Report

This next report really is my secret weapon when it comes to SEO & PPC, and the reason it is so powerful is because you can see the exact search terms businesses care enough about to bid on.

Although this report is geared towards businesses engaging in PPC, the information can be hugely valuable from an SEO perspective.

To find this report simply log into SEMrush and go to Domain Analytics > Advertising Research > Positions. The video below steps through exactly how to run the report.

This reason this information is incredibly powerful is that it can be used to help you determine which keywords competitors find important enough to bid on.

If a business is paying to show up for specific search terms, the term may be important to them for some reason - which means it may be important for you. Also, there is a good chance that if their PPC consultant is doing their job properly and measuring results, they may be getting a return on their investment. 

This means that if you feature for the same search terms organically, there is an increased likelihood that it will lead to a conversion which is usually the end goal of most search engine marketing strategies.

I encourage you to use this report as part of your keyword research strategy as it can assist in helping you understand which search terms could result in a lead or a sale for your client. 

It is also worth mentioning that this method is not 100% foolproof.  For example, if someone that is inexperienced is working on a PPC, they could be bidding on lots of keywords not generating a return.

I suggest that you cross-reference your data by comparing a few advertising reports across a number of competitors. This should hopefully help increase the likelihood that the data is correct.

When it comes to SEO, it can take a very long time to determine if the keywords you have targeted are correct, if you are not sure if the keywords will result in leads or sales, it may be worth considering a short-term paid search campaign to avoid the likelihood of expensive mistakes.

 Conclusion

If organic and paid search teams worked closely together, it is likely that the sharing of information and expertise would benefit the business they are both working hard to promote.

Through Google AdWords, you can gain a relatively quick insight into whether or not your organic search engine marketing strategy will be a success from a revenue-generating perspective by running test campaigns for example. 

The information from the Search Term report in Google AdWords and the Advertising Research report available via SEMrush is incredibly valuable. 

If you use this information as part of your keyword research strategy, it could make the difference between simply sending traffic to a website and sending traffic that is highly qualified and likely to convert.

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Gordon is a digital strategist based in Glasgow, Scotland that has worked with some of the UK's leading brands in automotive and fitness.

Feel free to connect to me on Twitter or LinkedIn.
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This is like saying your SEO campaign isn't enough or it seems not to be working the way you want or expect it to, so you need to do some PPC too to boost that organic traffic for CTR and Conversion Rate purposes. Not a bad idea but PPC will probably cost you more than SEO will with this together you will really need a good ROI to catch up with your expenses. The worse scenario is if your PPC is not converting well and your SEO campaign seems to not be working, your company/business/site is doomed.
Maria Borysova
Great article! I loved the tip about looking at the keywords competitors bid on and using them in the keyword research.
Jyoti Thapa
Thank you Gordon for sharing such wonderful article. Yes PPC provides you excellent traffic on some key url which you are advertising and this leads to a better click through rate and better ranking signal on search engines. So you can expect such keywords to rank better. I personally love Google Adwords.
Kelechi Ibe
Great in-depth article Gordon!

The Advertising report is such an invaluable tool! Talk about competitive analysis, that is it right there!
Gordon Campbell
Kelechi Ibe
:)
Gordon Campbell
Kelechi Ibe
You're awesome! Thanks for the feedback mate.
C. Alex Velazquez
Totally agree! I use these reports working with our PPC team here as well as the Ad History report (Keyword Analytics >> Ad History) to drill down to the keyword level (yes, I actually enter in the specific keywords in question into the Ad History report instead of a domain, because it actually gives us a better spread of knowing who we are up against for very specific, high-commercial intent keywords all on one page, and honestly I think that little trick is quite valuable for most SEOs/PPCs working together, because we can know the spread of competitors AND their ad history on the same page for just one, acknowledged, high performing keyword phrase. ;) Great stuff man! Love it... Cheers.
Gordon Campbell
C. Alex Velazquez
That is an excellent tip mate! Thanks for sharing, it's made a great addition to the original post. Legendary!
Thank you for sharing, useful information for given.
Obat Kuat Alami
great information..
Gordon Campbell
Obat Kuat Alami
Thanks mate!
Hi nice article and useful information.
I was learning digital marketing and made one website [link removed by moderator] from my own, need some tips on SEO.
How can I improve my website SEO?

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