Search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click advertising (PPC) are powerful forms of digital marketing. Both SEO and PPC can help you get more exposure, more targeted traffic, and more conversions. Both of them also require constant effort, optimization and adjustment.
It’s important to know the difference between SEO and PPC. First, SEO drives organic traffic. On the other hand, with PPC, you pay every time someone clicks on your ad. Second, your SEO efforts will start paying off in approximately 6 months, whereas PPC produces almost immediate results.
As you may have already guessed, the winning strategy is not to choose between SEO and PPC - it’s to combine them. An integrated approach will help you gain new customers and drive your sales faster and more efficiently.
Things you need to know about SEO before starting with PPC
SEO can be divided into two equally important parts: on-page SEO and off-page SEO.
On-page SEO (or on-site SEO) is the practice of optimizing web pages for specific keywords in order to improve website’s search visibility and traffic. It involves aligning page-specific elements such as title tags, headings, content, and internal links, with keywords.
The main on-page factors affecting search engine rankings include:
Good content that supplies demand;
Good content that is linkable;
Off-page SEO (also called "off-site SEO") refers to actions taken outside of your own website to impact your rankings within search engine results pages (SERPs). Building backlinks is at the heart of off-page SEO. Search engines use backlinks as indications of the linked-to content's quality, so a site with many high-value backlinks will usually rank higher than otherwise identical site with fewer backlinks.
Let’s focus on one crucial aspect of SEO that is also a fundamental block of any PPC campaign - the keywords you target.
When doing keyword research for eCommerce (and paid advertising in particular), there’s one rule of thumb: you're looking for product-focused keywords that show clear buying intent and are relevant to your business.
In other words, you need to be familiar with the process of finding relevant keywords that can drive high-quality traffic to your store. This requires a lot of effort and expertise, takes time, and there is no universal approach - the process is unique to each store owner because each business is unique. However, there are some tools that can make the keyword research much easier - Google Keyword Planner is one of the best free options. You can also use Amazon and Google to better understand your customers' search patterns and queries - you’ll need to put in some extra effort and time, but the end result will be worth it.
We suggest focusing on the Google Keyword Planner. You can use it to find keyword ideas, discover which keywords your competitors rank for, see forecasts and historical stats for your keywords, and more. In order to use the Keyword Planner, you’ll need a Google Ads account.
What is PPC and how it can benefit you
&Depending on the keywords you target (and how relevant they are to your business, products, services, etc.) and your quality score (which is based on the relevance of the ad, the expected click-through rate (CTR), and the landing page experience), PPC ads can appear at the top or at the bottom of the SERPs. But ultimately, if your quality score and bids are high enough, your ads will be the first thing potential customers see when searching online for products/services/businesses like yours. That gives you an incredible opportunity to instantly catch their attention and turn them into buyers.
If done properly, PPC ads offer a ton of benefits:
You can use the insights you gain from your PPC campaigns to improve your PPC and SEO strategy, adjust your approach, and get better results.
PPC is measurable and easily trackable - all you need to do is connect your Google Ads account to Google Analytics. You’ll then have access to a breadth of data - impressions, clicks, conversions, etc.
If done properly, PPC drives almost immediate results and can generate profit faster than any other form of digital marketing.
PPC helps you reach your business goals (e.g., gain more brand recognition, build brand loyalty, boost sales, increase awareness, etc.).
PPC works well with other marketing channels.
PPC is a great medium for testing different marketing strategies and understanding what works best for your customers. For example, you can define what triggers them to make a purchase, what type of communication resonates best with them, which offers they find most appealing (e.g., free delivery, next-day shipping, discounts, etc.), and more.
PPC campaigns are fully customizable - if you notice that something isn’t working, you can easily change it. This also gives you the incredible opportunity to test different ads and see what works best for your business.
You have full control over your budget - you can set a maximum or flexible budget for your ads, make adjustments as needed, and more.
PPC gives you a lot of exposure, allowing you to easily tap into new markets and reach new customers. The best part is that the exposure is free. You only pay when someone clicks on your ad. And if you’ve done your job right (i.e., if you’ve targeted the right keywords and the right customers, your offer is attractive, your call to action is clear, you’ve linked the proper landing page, etc.), most of the people who click on the ad will convert.
Because PPC is so incredibly targeted, it will drive a ton of high-quality traffic to your e-Commerce store.
Highly specific targeting options - you can target hundreds of keywords simultaneously, create negative keywords lists and apply them to your campaigns, you can target people based on their location, interests, and more. Ultimately, if you play your cards right, you'll be able to reach the right people at the right time and your Return On Advertising Spend (ROAS) could be enormous.
Why should you combine SEO and PPC?
SEO and PPC are different, but they are in no way conflicting. As we already mentioned, an integrated approach will help you achieve outstanding results, fast and hassle-free. In fact, if you think of the SERPs as a puzzle, you’ll notice that they have two main components - organic listings (which you get thanks to your SEO efforts), and paid listings (which you get by running PPC campaigns). So, you can think of SEO and PPC as the two ways to get exposure on the SERPs. And as you know, the more SERPs “real estate” you own, the higher your chances are to achieve your goals (e.g., make a sale, drive new customers to your website, increase brand awareness, and more).
If you use PPC and SEO insights to optimise landing pages, the landing page experience will also be improved. Having a good landing page user experience pushes sites up the Google ranking by improving quality scores and as such, results in a lower cost per click.
The total volume of traffic can be increased by targeting clicks for high-performing keywords. High-cost, high-volume or low-converting (but still important) keywords can be moved from PPC to organic search, making them cost-free.
Having a high Google ranking is key for instilling confidence in your brand, and if executed properly, a streamlined SEO and PPC approach will help you climb the rank. People buy from websites they trust. If they see your paid search ads at the top of the page and your organic listing below, they know you are a credible player. If users cannot find companies online easily, they will become wary, and buyers are more likely to trust brands they see on the first page of Google search.
Managing SEO and PPC campaigns requires a high level of SEO expertise and comprehensive understanding of how Google Ads works. If you don’t have such expertise in-house, it is a good idea to outsource campaign management to an SEO/PPC expert.
As we offer PPC and SEO services for eCommerce, we can help you with everything from keyword research and campaign set up to optimization, budget management, and guidance. If you’re interested, don’t hesitate to reach out!