The Coordination of SEO and PPC to Improve E-commerce Results
SEO and PPC are often opposed. Some webmasters believe that PPC advertising is too risky and, in any case, will not replace internal and external website optimization. On the other hand, many online store owners are reluctant to invest in SEO due to the high competition in the market. Long-term strategies without quick results scare them. It is better to set up ads, pay exclusively for clicks, and see a surge in traffic.
The secret is that these two tools can work together. Moreover, aligning SEO and PPC brings tangible benefits to a business, particularly in e-commerce.
Benefits From the SEO and PPC Symbiosis. The Julian Connors’ Case
Before we list the benefits of combining the two marketing tools, let’s take a look at what is SEO and PPC.
SEO is the optimization of a website that allows it to rank highly in the search engine by particular requests of users. High-quality internal and external optimization increase organic traffic. The peculiarity of SEO is that it is always a long-term strategy, so the results are not immediately visible. However, the effect of the investment will also be long-term. Read more in the article What is SEO.
PPC is an advertisement that is usually adjusted for a specific target audience. Its huge advantage is that the ad owner pays for clicks, not impressions. The cost per click will indeed vary depending on the frequency of the request. PPC allows you to increase website traffic dramatically, but as soon as advertising is turned off, traffic immediately drops to its previous values.
The main goal of SEO is to raise the site in the SERP.
The main goal of PPC is to get fast sales.
They seem to be two completely different strategies, but the symbiosis of SEO and PPC makes it possible to gain huge benefits.
Let’s consider the case of Julian Connors, former Organic Search Manager for a Fortune 500 brand.
Julian was responsible for designing digital marketing campaigns aimed to optimize conversions and work with behavioral factors. When he and his team decided to merge SEO and PPC, they received a lot of additional data, allowing them to adjust the overall strategy.
What have they done?
- Due to information about the location of users, they have changed the organic strategy for keywords. Since then, in each region, the key phrases used by a specific target audience have been shown.
- They took into account behavioral factors and adjusted the PPC settings. They began to show advertisements in the most popular markets and at a particular time.
- They have aligned PPC ads with an offline marketing schedule. Thanks to this, they were able to increase the conversion and awareness of the products of the company.
The result of all actions:
- Organic traffic grew by 30%.
- The interest in advertisements increased by 25%.
- 35% of the budget was saved on PPC.
- Quarterly profit increased by 20%.
Julian’s conclusion: Marketing strategies that combine SEO and PPC can lead to better rankings, increase traffic, and maximize conversions.
7 Scenarios Where Combining SEO and PPC Brings Maximum Profit
What is PPC in SEO, and how does SEO help in PPC? Let’s take a look at seven typical scenarios where the combination of these tools is most effective.
Scenario #1: Checking the Effectiveness of Website Changes
It is one of the most common scenarios. You want to do an A/B test of your website design and quickly find out which one is the most effective. If you rely solely on organic traffic data, testing can take several months. With a properly configured PPC campaign, results will be visible within a week.
Thus, you can test different elements of the pages: background, CTA, contact form, headers. And for e-commerce, this is generally a great way to find the best filters. For example, in one version, you can set the sorting of goods from cheap to expensive, and in another – more popular to the least popular. Set up paid traffic for both page variants and compare conversions over time. Find out more related information in the article How to Do A/B Tests and How Can They Work for SEO.
Scenario #2: More Accurate Ad Targeting
It is an illustrative scenario of how effectively PPC and SEO are working together. Advertising is configured using a well-developed portrait of the target audience. If an online store or other web resource wants to cover a new region, then an SEO specialist analyzes the CPA of future advertising campaigns. They then give an opinion on how the selected geolocation is suitable for scaling the project.
Also, an SEO specialist can analyze the results of targeted advertising campaigns to adjust the overall website promotion strategy to suit the interests of users.
Scenario #3: Maintaining Brand Reputation
Top e-commerce sites such as eBay, IKEA, Amazon, and Flipkart regularly run branded contextual advertising to boost their search rankings for branded queries. PPC does not directly affect SEO. Thus, from the launch of an advertising campaign, the positions in the search results do not increase. Nevertheless, PPC brings 89% of traffic to the site; this means that if you launch an advertising campaign from time to time, this will justifiably increase brand awareness.
Also, the symbiosis of PPC and SEO often occurs due to a threat to the reputation of a website. For example, if competitors have posted viral news that negatively affects your brand image, you need to do everything possible to interrupt their publication. Joint SEO and PPC management, on the one hand, helps to be at the top of search results, on the other hand, to fill the Internet space with your advertising posts.
Scenario #4: Finding the Most Accurate Keywords
If you want to analyze the performance of selected keywords, there is nothing better than linking Google Ads and Google Search Console. After that, take a look at the Paid & Organic Search report. There will be data on organic requests, conversions, bounces, and, most importantly, a comparison of this data with the effectiveness of the keywords that you used to set up contextual advertising.
In the Ad Shown Only report, experienced SEO specialists test the most clickable keywords. Then they are added to the semantic core of the site. If these keywords were popular in advertising, then they are likely to be quoted frequently as well.
Also, keywords with high CPC are great for adjusting your content strategy, which can be especially useful in cases when it is not profitable to run ads. If keywords are not practical and expensive to use in PPC, improve their visibility in the SERP. And let your competitors spend money on advertising.
Scenario #5: Encouraging Website Comments
If the site does not have a page where you can add feedback or comments, you are missing out on one of the essential promotional tools. The tool works like this: a page with user comments is opened for indexing, a topic that resonates is launched, and an advertisement is set up on this page with an appeal to leave your opinion.
The more people that leave comments on your site, the better it affects your rankings. Traffic attracts traffic. And the block of comments can significantly expand the coverage of key queries.
In online stores, a block with product feedback is generally a must-have.
Scenario #6: Expanding the List of Link Building Donor Sites
You have launched PPC and noticed that you are getting the maximum number of conversions from specific sites. What is preventing you from using them for external optimization and getting additional referral traffic?
Of course, before you negotiate a partnership with a website, you should check its link profile and traffic potential. In any case, when developing an external promotion strategy, first of all, analyze the sites from the Display Network.
Scenario #7: Reach of Mobile Traffic
Back in 2016, mobile traffic exceeds desktop traffic. This situation has not changed. Therefore, the launch of PPC for mobile gadgets has become a must in the promotion strategy.
Previously, mobile ads had to be configured separately. Today it is automatically launched unless you choose the appropriate settings. The only thing that needs to be taken care of is the selection of suitable image size and meeting the requirements of Google for the text.
Thus, the synergy between SEO and PPC allows you to get traffic growth for each channel. And although this approach will not be 100% effective for every business, it is quite justified for e-commerce sites.
12 Tips to Combine SEO and PPC for E-commerce
Above, we have examined in what cases and how you can combine SEO and PPC approaches to promote any site. In this section, we will provide 12 tips to help increase conversions and sales, specifically for an online store.
1. Test the Keywords
We have already said that by using PPC, you can select the most accurate keywords for SEO that will help to expand and update the semantic kernel. But that is not all. PPC will help you test your keywords and select the most effective ones.
Also, by launching contextual advertising, you can replenish the list of negative keywords. Many SEO specialists ignore them when optimizing, and this negatively affects the position of the site. There are several reasons for this: a high percentage of bounce rates, less accurate calculation of statistics, a decrease in conversion. In general, working with negative keywords is crucial, and PPC will help with this.
2. Create a Combined Product Promotion Strategy
The coronavirus pandemic has brought back the ability to promote products for free on Google Shopping. Search results on the corresponding tab now consist mostly of regular, non-promotional listings. To get to this tab, you have to be registered in the Merchant Center and upload your product feeds there. And to increase sales, run a paid ad campaign in addition to free listings.
By the way, to simplify payment for goods, Google has started to cooperate with PayPal.
3. Match Visual and Textual Content
One of the critical aspects of product promotion, especially during promotional campaigns, is for the content on the ad to match the content on the landing page or listing, where the visitor will follow by clicking the link from the banner. That is, when you advertise a specific product with a discount, the user should go to the site and see confirmation of this information, that yes, these Nike sneakers will be 50% off for the next two days. Then the probability that this user will buy them will be significantly higher.
It is also important that the visuals of the advertisements and the site also match. Otherwise, your potential buyer may feel like they are in the wrong place.
4. Compensate for Weaknesses in PPC
Google search results vary significantly depending on the queries and interests of the user. By promoting products during peak season among strong competitors, you can quickly use up your budget on PPC as the CPC rates are sky-high. It can happen if you do not study the requests for which organic traffic comes to you. These can be long-tail queries. Do not be afraid of targeting them. This way, you can bypass strong competitors and significantly save on your advertising budget.
5. Compensate for SEO Weaknesses
It is difficult for a new website to gain Google’s trust and obtain organic traffic quickly. The search engine is wary of over-engagement and discourages excessive SEO efforts, especially a dramatic increase in link mass.
Therefore, the only way to get enough targeted traffic at the start of the project is to run ads.
6. Prepare for Seasonal Sales
Almost all online stores are actively preparing for seasonal sales or holiday discounts. Many people only use PPC to talk about promotions and increase sales of certain products. However, if you include SEO, the results will be much more effective. Think over a content plan, optimize texts, set up filters – it will take a little time. Take into account that you will have to start SEO optimization 1-2 months before the event.
7. Go Beyond the Regular Sales Funnel
Users are accustomed to spending a long time comparing various product options to make the best choice. Thus, in the sales funnel, the stage of acquaintance and consideration of the product came to the forefront. Use this knowledge in your promotional strategy. In particular, you can set up advertising, not for sale, but familiarization with a specific kind of goods, and work on the SEO aspect for the same requests.
It is easy to experiment with PPC, as the approximate results are visible within a week after launching the campaign.
8. Cover the Maximum Number of Sales Channels
Google is always trying to compete with Amazon. However, Amazon is still the largest e-commerce marketplace. And it offers such sophisticated advertising tools that Amazon listings hit the top of Google searches.
Do you want to increase conversion significantly and move to a new level? Master Amazon tools. Here you can also optimize listings for specific search queries and set up advertising campaigns.
9. Give As Much Detail About the Product As Possible
To do this, you can use an expanded text ads option. Usually, more specific information increases the CTR of ads by several percent. And this is not surprising as your potential customers need details about a product or company before they decide to purchase it. Read the related article Why Is Click-Through-Rate Important?
An extension can be a phone number, links to the site, geolocation data, an additional description of the product. Typically, this information makes the ad more visible on the search page and increases click-through rates.
10. Increase Audience Loyalty
SEO data will help you understand what the target audience cares about, what their fears and concerns are. Use this knowledge, firstly, to create relevant content, and secondly, to advertise this content. Informational requests are inexpensive, but you can win a loyal audience in this way.
For instance, Amazon published a post in its blog on how a company helps users buy products during the pandemic. In such matters, customer care is manifested, and they appreciate it.
11. Mark Products That Are in Stock
Quarantine has changed e-commerce patterns. Now users prefer to search for goods that are in stock, rather than waiting for an indefinite amount of time until you deliver them from the warehouse. Use this in your SEO and PPC strategies. Adjust the appropriate filters on the site, and do not forget to emphasize this in your advertisements.
And of course, make sure that the products in demand are always in stock.
12. Make Everything You Can Be Automatic
The number of tools for customizing PPC is growing every month, and to keep up with the times, you need to use automation. So, algorithms based on machine learning and artificial intelligence allow you to choose the most optimal price for advertisements, start or stop them when necessary, select the desired positions, and notify of deviations from the required indicators. In general, automation has become a reliable help for a PPC specialist.
Many SEO tasks can be automated too. Among them are technical auditing, collecting of the semantic kernel, competitor analysis, and reporting. The maximum optimization of routine processes allows the specialist to do more important things, in particular, to align SEO and PPC strategies.
Bonus: Ways to Strengthen Your SEO Strategy for E-Commerce
We have some more helpful tips on how to strengthen your online business promotional strategy. These guidelines work great in 2020.
YouTube Video or TikTok Challenge
With the beginning of quarantine, video channels have become even more popular, so it is worth including these sites in your marketing strategy. But at the same time, it is essential to take into account one peculiarity. You should not be spending large budgets on promoting a new brand. Video ads are not as effective at driving traffic, but they do an excellent job of generating demand for a new product or service. Use SEO and PPC to increase website traffic, and let videos serve as great promotions.
However, this rule has also got an exception. For example, you can launch another viral challenge on TikTok and wake up famous. Anything can happen.
Usually, the main KPIs for video ads are CTR and brand traffic growth.
Introduction of PWA Technology
We are talking about a progressive web app or PWA. It is a tool that allows you to turn your website into a mobile app. Thus, in a desktop browser, the web site is displayed as usual, and when you access it from a mobile device, it turns into a hybrid of a site and an application. Moreover, the user can add the site icon to the home screen.
PWA technology provides four major benefits to online businesses:
- The application site is installed on the device of a user in one click, bypassing the App Store and Play Market.
- It loads quickly due to the pre-created page cache.
- It even works offline.
- You can send push notifications to users.
PWA technology is still relatively new, so you will have an undeniable competitive advantage if you invest in it.
Well Thought-out Email Marketing Strategy
Once your target audience is attracted to the site, you can start building your subscriber base. For online stores, this is the most loyal audience. After all, they want to receive notifications from you about new products and discounts.
The hardest part at this point is to collect the base. To do this, you can use social networks, make a landing page, and launch PPC for it, offer to leave an email for useful information, or a discount.
This method has always worked, and in 2020, when people prefer to make online purchases, it should not be dismissed.
Focus on Voice Search
Voice search has been one of the top SEO trends in recent years. Mobile users are increasingly preferring voice dialing, so web sites need to adapt to new market realities.
Moreover, this is not as difficult to do as it seems at first. First of all, you need to complete the usual list of SEO tasks: fix technical problems, speed up website loading, improve security, work on external optimization. Then, develop a content strategy based on the keywords that users usually say after Ok Google. These words should be in texts and headings, in blocks of answers to frequently asked questions, in expert long-reads.
Betting on voice search can be as powerful and competitive an advantage as using a PWA.
A New Level of SMM Immersion
Social commerce is another trend that should not be neglected these days. It is the sale of goods directly on social networks, which should not be confused with the referral traffic you get from Instagram or Facebook. Users do not go to your site; they search for products and buy them without leaving the social network.
Social commerce bonus – the user needs to take much fewer steps to purchase a product, and all communication can take place in a convenient messenger.
Many online business owners find themselves driving traffic from Google to the social media pages of the store. And this is a perfectly reasonable approach.
Since the beginning of quarantine, the volume of e-commerce sales in the USA in July increased by 55% compared to the previous year. According to Adobe Digital Economic Index, it has reached $66.3 billion, which is a record figure. And it is unlikely that it will significantly decrease within the next year. Therefore, online stores need to hire PPC and SEO specialists who will do everything possible to keep the website at the top of SERP.