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The Holy Trinity of PPC: Advertising, Conversion Optimization and Search Engine Marketing

Samuli Makela
The Holy Trinity of PPC: Advertising, Conversion Optimization and Search Engine Marketing

To this day, many SEO companies still make a clear distinction between the terms PPC advertising, conversion optimization and search engine optimization, offering each only as a separate product in the hopes of making them easier to sell. Not knowing any better, many clients may also be interested in only one of these aspects.

On deeper reflection, however, this is unlikely to be the most efficient approach for either party.

On the one hand, the client rarely receives the highest possible return. On the other, the advertising company can find it difficult to demonstrate the value of their work and justify the necessity of their services in the long run.

Contrary to common misconception, optimizing a website for traffic and conversions are in fact not mutually exclusive goals, at least automatically. When properly implemented, they can and should be pursued simultaneously. Instead of jockeying feverishly for better search engine rankings, greater amounts of web traffic, lower click prices and a higher conversion rate, you should keep your focus on your client’s actual needs.

For instance, increasing website traffic is hardly worthwhile if there are practically no conversions.

In similar fashion, comprehensive search engine optimization is a risky undertaking without sufficient keyword research and testing well in advance. While countless examples abound, the crux of the problem remains – metrics and results don’t necessarily always correspond to the client’s actual needs.

This in turn implies that especially smaller SEO companies should consider redefining their services by focusing on actual problem-solving, aiming to produce the right kind of results and thus long-lasting customer relationships.

Why Do PPC Advertising, Conversion Optimization and Search Engine Optimization Complement One Another?

PPC advertising helps you find effective keywords

Utilizing PPC advertising in your e-commerce keyword plan is a bit like playing poker – except that you’ve already memorized the order of cards in the pack beforehand. It provides you priceless information about keyword effectiveness and whether conversion rate can be improved by technical adjustments on your website. Such knowledge is a crucial prerequisite for the success of any large-scale search engine optimization.

Embarking on a giant project without any assurance of success is unwise. This is where PPC comes in handy, serving as a great stepping-stone between keyword research and actual search engine optimization itself. Once the effectiveness of keywords has been established through PPC advertising, your client will be convinced of the fundamental soundness of a larger-scale optimization process and ready to collaboratively define more specific targets.

Search engines index up-to-date websites better

Constant testing is naturally an integral part of conversion optimization. This also means regular content updates. The payoff in terms of search engine optimization is self-evident. When content is up-to-date and meticulously tailored specifically for your client, search engines will also take it better into account.

User-friendly websites generate natural links

The significance of links in terms of search engine optimization is undeniable. They improve your site’s reliability and generate more traffic from relevant sources. Google and other search engines have gone to battle against artificial links, making their use more and more difficult.

This doesn’t imply natural links are entirely beyond your influence, however. On the contrary, concentrating on conversion optimization will also improve your website’s usability, thus increasing the number of natural links to your website as well.

You can also focus on many low search volume keywords

In addition to producing conversions at a higher rate, it’s easier to compete with low search volume keywords. After you’ve determined the most profitable keywords and verified their effectiveness, you’re in turn able to concentrate on many low-volume search terms. Once you’ve then tested the best variants of these keywords, success is practically guaranteed.

Instead of search engine ranking, measure the things that matter

Many clients are still satisfied with SEO companies simply determining their search engine rankings or visitor numbers. This doesn’t mean they should be, though. By combining PPC advertising, search engine optimization, conversion optimization and other necessary methods, you can offer your client actual solutions instead of just impressive-sounding technical terminology. This means selecting the criteria most relevant to your customer’s business as the benchmark metrics.

Customers outside of organic search results, too

No one wants to base their entire business activity and profitability on only one type of marketing, so why try to secure search engine visibility only through search engine optimization? Google and other search engines in fact businesses like the rest. Motivated primarily by self-interest, their job isn’t to offer the most “fair” search results per se. This makes an over-reliance on organic traffic a precarious platform for your success.

Rather than search engine optimization then, shouldn’t you be in the business of buying or selling search engine visibility instead? In the same vein, shouldn’t you try to evaluate results through the metrics most relevant to your business, instead of merely by blind reference to search engine rankings?

This will shift responsibility to the SEO company, give the client more meaningful results and also usually ensure more lucrative transactions for both parties.

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Samuli is an online marketing manager at SEOSEON LTD, which provides SEO and digital marketing services in the Nordic languages. Twitter: @SamuliMakela.
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Actually SEM Antics and Conversion Sciences partner to offer the best expertise in both (PPC & CRO) in one offering. So it does exist ;)

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