Columnist Thomas Stern provides data showing that when used together, SEO and PPC can better achieve desired marketing outcomes such as more qualified traffic and budgetary efficiency.
Oftentimes I’m asked, “Why should I invest in paid media when I already rank in position one for many organic search results?” Well, to answer that simply, investing simultaneously in PPC and SEO can and will result in an incremental rise in your brand’s bottom line. And we have the data to prove it.
The main synergy between the two lies in monitoring two factors: advertising spend and rankings. Whether your goal is to lower cost per click (CPC) or increase total traffic, SERP (search engine results page) position can inform how we manage paid search ads. At our agency (ZOG Digital), our teams work without silos and integrate performance data regularly. In analyzing a few accounts further as a sample set, we began to identify a correlation larger than previously understood between ad CTR (click-through rate), organic CTR and cost per click for the keywords.
To verify the connection between organic and paid search, we tracked high-traffic keywords and their positions across both channels. While both have the innate ability to show success in their own right, our data shows how each positively influences the other.
SEO and paid search need to work together
Optimal online marketing campaigns all come down to the key performance indicators. Once an SEO campaign begins, it can take time to set in and see results. Paid search’s core strength is that it allows for short-term performance with better visibility on specific queries. What binds them together is visibility on a SERP — with the right tools, marketers can influence position against competing results.
It’s no secret that SEO is more sustainable long-term, but it can take a long time before results are realized. A PPC (pay-per-click) tactic can help to offset limited SEO results at the early stages of an SEO campaign; it also informs keyword and content strategies for organic keyword targeting and content development.
With well-informed and properly implemented optimizations, organic positions will rise. Once they move up through page one, we’ve identified numerous ways in which PPC costs reduce naturally and how they can be strategically managed.
Improve CTR and decrease CPC
At ZOG Digital, we see a clear performance increase when brands employ both PPC and SEO. For example, after evaluating our book of business, we found that accounts implementing both PPC and SEO strategies saw a higher click-through rate for both organic and paid search efforts — as well as lower cost per click in paid search. Specifically, we organized the data by keywords — we have keywords with active search ads, keywords with search optimizations (organic rankings) and keywords with both active tactics.
For non-branded keywords that have both a paid and organic presence, we saw a CTR of 8.93 percent for paid search and 5.10 percent for organic search, across all positions. When we isolate the tactics, paid search CTR is 8.08 percent, while organic search sits at 4.48 percent. By just looking at those numbers, we can see that keywords with a presence on both paid and organic results yield a combined incremental CTR.