14 Nov How To Get Better Results with PPC & SEO!
As more buyer journeys occur online, it’s critical for brands to have content and tools that guide buyers toward the right decision. To effectively support the consumer journey, marketers must understand the search intent of their audience and align their PPC, SEO and content efforts to meet demand and convert prospects to buyers.
Understanding search intent is essential to a successful strategy. Many still take the old approach to PPC and SEO, which is to generate an exhaustive keyword wishlist, jam as many of those keywords into their site as possible and throw money at Google in the hope of showing up at the top of search results.
Planning Around Search Intent
Search intent typically falls into one of three categories:
Navigational Or “Go”: The searcher is looking for a specific website (e.g., “Kohler faucets”)
Informational Or “Know”: The searcher is trying to find a particular piece of information (e.g., “Are Kohler faucets made in the USA?”)
Transactional Or “Do”: The searcher is looking to make a purchase (e.g., “Where to buy Kohler faucets”)
Identifying keywords that indicate navigational, informational or transactional intent is critical to the success of an integrated search marketing campaign. These keyword groups will allow you to anticipate content needs along their journey.
The Strategic Alignment Of SEO And PPC
With an understanding of the search intent of your prospects, there are two phases of the journey where alignment among your SEO and PPC efforts can pay off: evaluation (informational) and purchase (transactional).
Depending on whether the user’s search is navigational, informational or transactional (i.e., how close a user is to purchase), Google may display more ads at the top of the results page, which will lead to lower click-through rates on organic search results. For instance, if a search term or phrase is transactional, Google knows that the user is close to purchasing and will deliver more ads within the results providing PPC advertisers greater exposure for these searches.
However, for searches that have navigational or informational intent — which produce search results with fewer ads — your SEO strategy should focus on identifying content needs and developing high-performing online experiences to attract and convert more customers.
Roles And Objectives
Aligning your SEO, PPC and content strategy is the best method of maximizing traffic, conversion opportunities and uncovering critical data points that relate to consumer behavior, intentions and location/geography. But aligning these areas with search intent is only half the battle. Landing pages and your content strategy play an equally important role.
Identify content needs throughout the consumer journey. What barriers do consumers face when shopping within your category? What are common questions or concerns that you could address through content? In your SEO strategy, keywords should dictate the information architecture of a website, as well as its content strategy.
How Many Keywords Should You Be Tracking?
Just because you’re able to track everything doesn’t mean that everything is important. The goal of your marketing team should be to maximize the return on your marketing investment — and don’t forget that your time is part of your investment. The best way to ensure you are protecting your investment is by looking at keyword volume and competition to determine where your efforts would be best spent.
Your keyword volume shows the average number of times that people have searched for a particular keyword and any variations of that keyword. Knowing this number helps you prioritize which keywords are worth the effort of trying to rank for versus which keywords get a handful of searches each month.
This number will tell you how many advertisers are vying for each of your target keywords and if that competition is low, medium or high. Keyword competition is specific to the geographies and audience targets that you have selected. Ultimately, your goal should be to target high volume, low competition keywords that are relevant to your overall marketing strategy.
Leverage PPC (SEM) to ensure your content is present during key moments in the consumer journey, such as when a user is ready to make a purchase decision. It’s vital that you have a clear understanding of the purpose of your PPC efforts or else there’s a good chance you’re wasting time and money:
• Are you expanding into new categories where you are not currently top of mind?
• Are you driving profits and pushing people to an e-commerce action on your site?
• Are you driving conversions to other content and channels to build preference and loyalty?
In thinking through those three separate scenarios, you can already imagine how your keyword list and success metrics would be different.
Google rewards user experience, so running PPC campaigns that drive users to a poor experience, such as the homepage or a non-relevant content page, will not have favorable results. To avoid high bounce rates and enjoy more effective PPC campaigns, you must have relevant landing pages for each of your key search paths. If you’re spending money on PPC, optimizing your landing pages is the single best tactic for improving your conversion rates.
Put yourself in the seat of people searching within your category online. When they click a search result and land on your site, will they like what they find? This question is exactly how search engines like Google judge your website every day. If they do like what they find, chances are they will need more information, and this is where your content strategy comes into play. It must serve as the connective tissue between all other tactics and channels.
Putting It All Together
In order to keep up with their audience’s demand for information, marketers must focus their efforts on understanding search intent, creating content and tools to support the consumer journey and measuring performance holistically. By aligning SEO, PPC and content strategies, marketers can deliver the right content to the right audience at the right time without wasting time or money.