In August 2015 Google rolled out one of their famous updates, the map pack update. This reduced the search results of local businesses in the their local map listings from 7 businesses to 3. Google claims it gives the user a better experience and is more mobile friendly. What this means for digital marketers is it is time to pivot and roll with the punches. These days a comprehensive marketing plan needs to include both SEO and paid advertising in order to stay ahead of the competition in search results.
With More Paid Ads in Search Results Do I Still Need SEO?
Two of the best ways to increase traffic to your website, and your business, is to use search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click ads (PPC). Many business owners do not think that they need SEO if they are running a PPC campaign. Nothing could be further from the truth. If you are running a PPC campaign you need SEO more than ever as a well optimized website will lower your cost per click while increasing your ranking power in the paid results. This of course is in addition to the absolutely free and highly targeted traffic you will receive from your organic listings in search results.
What Does SEO Do For My Website?
Website optimization tells the search engines (google, yahoo, bing) what your site is about. The goal of SEO is to optimize your website so that you rank higher on search engine result pages, or SERPs. It is called organic because the listings are generated by the search engines themselves as opposed to the the paid ads you see in the sidebar or at the top of the search results. The results are shown to be highly trusted by searchers versus the often dubious reputation of the paid listings. When we improve the “behind the scenes” portion of your website the search engines see that improvement and reward us with higher rankings in the search results. When we rank higher in the search results we are more likely to receive clicks from searchers which will lead them to our website and allow us the opportunity to sell them our goods or services or have them read and share our content.
What is PPC, or Pay Per Click advertising?
Often referred to as a “paid search,” PPC is similar to purchasing ad space in a newspaper or magazine. The difference is that you only pay for the advertising when someone clicks on the link that is shown on the search results page. The primary advantage of PPC over SEO is that by increasing your budget you improve your chances of getting the shown at the top of the page in the search results.
How do SEO and PPC Help Each Other?
By using an online strategy that combines SEO with PPC, businesses maximize searchers clicking through to your business. When listed in both the organic results and the paid real estate (at the top or margins of the search engine results page) your business can be seen 2 or more times in the same page getting maximum exposure. For example, if you are ranking organically for Houston furnace repair and your are running a PPC campaign for furnace repair you have a 57% higher chance of being clicked on when you are shown in both paid and organic spots on the SERP page. Other benefits of using both SEO and PPC are:
- To get shown for the PPC ads, Google does an assessment with a “quality” score for the page that the searcher will land on. In order to get a higher quality score the landing page must have content that is relevant to the search and provide the user with useful information (among many other attributes). Good SEO provides these things as part of their existing campaign to give value to the consumer thereby improving organic rankings.
- PPC ads that are shown and clicked due to a high quality score bring more visitors to a website. When a website has a higher volume of visitors it gets returned in the organic (free) search results more.
- PPC advertising is not only for search engines, but also social media websites, such as YouTube, Facebook and LinkedIn. Many of these social media outlets allow you to create ads that target specific demographics by age, gender and other criteria. The results of PPC on social media websites can enhance your SEO results.
SEO and PPC are a good marriage. As the search engines change the way that they return results for queries and paid ad space is a must, it is clear that a well rounded online strategy combines both aspects of digital marketing to set your business above the rest as online marketing becomes more competitive all the time.