What is the relationship between PPC and SEO in eCommerce?

Many eCommerce companies treat Pay Per Click (PPC) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as entirely separate categories. In most setups, you’ll find completely separate teams for each: unique operations with limited interaction. After all, each remains a distinct discipline requiring different skills.

But here’s the thing. They’re both different sides of the same coin: search.

Scratch the surface and you’ll quickly see the two can—and should—form a productive relationship. Make it happen, and more effective search marketing isn’t far away.

Today’s blog offers some direct ways in which PPC and SEO can benefit you:

Stand Out From The Crowd

A synergy between PPC and SEO boosts visibility. It’s an obvious benefit: you’ll enjoy increased exposure in search engine results pages (SERPs). Lots of companies reduce their PPC budget for a keyword when they reach a top position for it organically. But that can lead to lost sales. And actually, 64.6% of people click on ads when searching for a product or service.

Source: Slingshot

Look at the above image. You can see how quickly the click-through rate falls the lower you are in the organic listings. Holding something below the top two positions offers an extra incentive to continue bidding on that keyword. If the PPC listing remains profitable…and it brings in more customers vs. the organic listing on its own…why pull your PPC ads for that keyword?

For super-competitive keywords, you may wish to continue bidding for prominence on keywords you already rank highly for (thus boosting visibility for that keyword). Reducing PPC spend for that keyword could risk a larger dip in sales than anticipated: even if you hold the top organic position.

PPC Data can Inform Your SEO Strategy

PPC data can be extremely useful for SEO. The mutual exchange of information between campaigns will help identify more profitable keywords (and the customer intent behind them).

Let’s say a specific keyword performs well for your PPC campaigns: it has a high conversion rate and high levels of user engagement. That keyword would typically make an excellent target for SEO campaigns. From a long-term perspective, you might eventually secure conversions through that keyword without paying for each click.

These days, Google doesn’t give organic marketers the same data it once did. Incoming keyword terms often remain hidden. This keeps users from identifying those that send them traffic. You can use PPC campaigns to test new keywords before targeting them in organic search strategies. That way, you don’t waste your time targeting keywords that provide low returns. Instead, you can focus on ones with a track record of success with your products.

Additionally, you can use the “low competition” filter in your keyword planner. It offers a great way to generate a quick list of keywords to target in your PPC campaigns. After that, you can integrate the best-performing low competition winners into your SEO projects.

Use PPC to Nurture Organic Visitors Through Retargeting

Keep your products on your shoppers’ radars through retargeting

From a PPC perspective, retargeting can really boost eCommerce companies. As a reminder, this is the practice of displaying ads to users that have already interacted with your brand before. Gaining ground in organic search takes time. It can be hard work…especially when only 2 percent of first-time visitors convert.

With retargeting, you can show ads to people who’ve already visited your website on the likes of Google and Facebook. It helps keep your products on their radar…and encourages further engagement.

PPC Provides Fast, Reliable Usability Data for Shaping On-Page Strategies

Google places lots of value on engagement and participation in its organic search results. When visitors come to your website and stay for long periods to interact, it knows it has delivered a search result that reflects what the searcher was looking for.

PPC offers a great testing opportunity. You can explore how users engage with a specific page before targeting it in organic search. Being able to test a certain page’s engagement via PPC helps you put that page in a better position in organic search. Because the latter takes much longer, it can be difficult to test how certain page changes can affect user engagement. PPC gives you a baseline. You can tweak changes while waiting for your page to climb up the SERPs. Without this opportunity, you may never reach the first page at all.

More Organic Backlinks

SEO-optimized landing pages usually boast a higher experience score in Google AdWords. PPC activity brings more traffic. This means more pages shared by users…and more organic backlinks: crucial for building site equity.

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