5 Ways to Make PPC and SEO Work Together!
SEO and PPC are often at odds.
However, the things they “argue” about are actually areas for improved workflow and channel optimization. The causes of conflict between SEO and PPC often arise because we tend to use different sources of truth for each channel and build communication silos between teams.
Main key areas of conflict? Mostly:
Here are five ways you can make your PPC and SEO campaigns work together.
1. Collaborate on first-party data readiness
All digital marketing campaigns must take into account first-party data.
Understanding whether your brand is aligned requires input from both the SEO and PPC teams. If you rely heavily on remarketing campaigns (either because you’re in an expensive industry or because the customer journey naturally takes multiple steps), you may be relying more and more on native audiences. While some of these audience categories can be powerful, most of them underperform audiences based on brand activity.
Audience Segments Analytics can be a powerful way to work around quality fluctuations.
While setting cookie consent, it is important that the module follows the Cumulative Schedule Change (CLS) rules. As a general rule, bottom-of-the-page modules tend to perform better because they don’t distract from the user’s purchase journey and carry less CLS risk.
Ensure that collected first-party data is protected (either hashed and synced via tools or deleted immediately after uploading to ad accounts).
Collaborate with your SEO team’s content campaigns to ensure there are engaging hooks to create consensus conversations.
A final note on analytics
Enhanced conversions require the use of native Google conversion tracking. While improved conversion tracking will give you a better idea of what paid campaigns are doing, the numbers will always be different than what your SEO team reports.
In the interest of trust and data continuity, it may make sense to “hit” the reported PPC numbers as long as the overall metrics point to a positive return on advertising spend.
Going with improved conversions means being okay with reports being different and all parties need to be okay with that.
2. Acknowledge and adapt based on your domain structure choices
There are three ways to set up brand URLs:
One domain for all (including international).
Subdomains for various initiatives.
Foreign domains and country domains.
Whichever way you go, PPC specific pages must be “noindex/nofollow” and allow adbot to access them in order for them to contribute to quality score.
It’s rare that non-ecommerce brands will be better served by keeping everything on the same domain. That’s because there are strategic elements of good SEO that can conflict with PPC:
-SEO doesn’t want duplicate content and PPC benefits from template testing.
-SEO benefits from a robust navigation bar, while PPC works better with limited choices for user action.
-The SEO may have to redirect the page, which will result in ad disapproval (three strikes in a 90-day period will result in suspension of the ad account).
These pitfalls are easily mitigated by having subdomains that can still benefit the main domain, without forcing creative or technical compromises between the SEO and PPC teams.
Additionally, a subdomain will allow you to maintain the same analytics feature and branding continuity.
If you are forced to use the same landing page for PPC and organic traffic, make sure all redirects are communicated at least three to five days before they happen. This will give the PPC team time to adjust the ad so you don’t waste money sending traffic to a broken page until Google approves the ad.
Inventory transfer is also very important for both PPC and SEO.
If your product is consistently out of stock, search engines will eventually penalize it. Make sure all campaigns are notified of inventory issues so they can remove products from paid campaigns as well as apply an out-of-stock scheme to the free page.
3. Bring transaction intent and CRO to all pages
SEO is often unfairly considered a “research” channel, while PPC is often solely responsible for transactions.
While there are some valid reasons to think about traffic that way, there are lessons about building trust and facilitating transactions that each can learn from the other.
For example, while it is true that PPC pages lean towards less content, there still needs to be options to understand the product/service. This content (written or in video format) should be below the fold, keeping the path to conversion clear.
Similarly, SEO requires rich and authoritative content to rank well. However, if the path to conversion is cluttered (or non-existent), traffic will be completely slack.
4. Use search query reports to inform campaigns
One of the best ways for PPC and SEO to work together is to share search query data. You are already paying for search data from the search terms report. Sharing that data, along with what’s converting and what’s not, will help content teams know where to invest. However, an easily missed opportunity is sharing search terms from your website search and search console. Understanding what existing customers want and think will help prioritize keyword variations.
Both channels should share data on search terms so that brands can gain insight into the viability of content and auction prices.
Set up automated reporting on at least a quarterly basis so that all digital channels are talking to each other.
5. Make time to talk to each other
This may seem like a ridiculous proposition, but the amount of good that can come from talking to your colleague is immeasurable.
Whether it’s a 10-15 minute connection at the beginning of the week or a monthly collaboration session, taking the time to connect with the innovations and challenges in each domain will ensure that the other is ready to mitigate or improve.
If you are an agency and your colleague works for another agency, ask for joint meetings with the client or separately.
Showing your commitment to the brand’s success and a collaborative attitude will go miles to retain clients and ensure that your great work isn’t accidentally countered.