Understanding the true value of our advertising channels is harder today than it’s even been. Thanks to the ever-growing mountains of data now available to us, determining the bottom-line impact of each medium and interaction has become a seemingly insurmountable challenge.
You may have encountered this challenge if you engage in any form of Search Marketing, particularly when weighing up how much to invest in Pay-Per Click (PPC) vs. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
But while the Paid vs. Organic question is undeniably an important one to ask, it shouldn’t be a matter of one over the other: it should be a matter of bringing them together as one.
Both should be seen as complementary parts of your digital strategy. Sure, some businesses have succeeded with just one or the other. But if people are searching, then making sure your brand is as visible as possible will almost always require you to mix and match between both paid and organic search.
A best-practice SEO strategy nowadays will ensure a balance between user experience and optimising for the search algorithm, with attention given to addressing users’ needs across the full purchase journey.
Your website may be doing fine dominating organic search results and attracting a large number of new users to your site. But if everything’s humming along nicely, what’s the need for investing in other channels? How could PPC, for example, add value to you or your customer?
Remarketing is one of the most obvious answers here. To re-engage users who have previously interacted with your website, remarketing can dynamically display relevant text, image and video content in search, social media, YouTube, shopping feeds, third-party publishers, and more.
Filling visibility gaps
One of paid search’s strong suits is its ability to give you visibility instantly: no need to wait for a page to organically climb up the rankings.
Sitelinks (the listings for your website’s sub-sections that appear in search) are great at this. They’re a simple and highly useful extension to Google Ads campaigns, and using them effectively can have an immediate impact on conversions – especially when they’re supplementing the search traffic you might not be receiving organically.
Testing & optimisation
Using data and performance insights from paid search campaigns can be utilised to improve click-through rates (CTR) and improve onsite SEO. Ad copy and calls-to-action that work well in paid campaigns can be incorporated into your site’s meta-information, like page descriptions and page titles.
Search Query Reports (SQRs) are another valuable tool that can help guide you when improving or developing new creative content.
Although investing in paid search isn’t 100% necessary for this, upcoming organic competitors can be identified by keeping an eye on what other businesses are appearing in paid search for your major keywords. Although they may not be ranking well organically, there’s a good chance they will be soon, so it’s a good idea to get on the front foot as quickly as possible to protect your market and visibility share.
Having both an effective SEO and PPC strategy can see your business take over search results and dominate SERP real estate. An integrated digital strategy that is developed through a holistic approach will see your business have a solid presence, and can be made further strengthened by applying the same findings to other channels, like social media.
So, next time you’re weighing your organic and paid search against each other, think instead of the overall strategy and which touchpoints across their purchasing journey you should invest in. Ask yourself not which type of search to use, but in what combination you should be using them.