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3 Things SEOs can learn from PPC

Link-Assistant.Com | Posted in category PPC Advertising Search Engine Optimization

ppc-and-seoWhenever you see SEO and PPC come together in blog posts articles and forum discussions more often than not people are talking "SEO or PPC" and "SEO vs PPC". While these two marketing techniques are quite different it doesn't mean that you can't effectively do both. And even if you prefer to stick with just one option there're always a few things to learn from the other side. Today we're going to take a look at what skills and techniques we can borrow from PPC and apply to SEO.

Whether you actively engage in paid search advertising (PPC) or rely solely on organic rankings there are several things PPC can teach you about SEO.

1. Keyword matching and search volumes

Keyword research is the critical foundation for success in PPC and SEO alike. Although there are specific keyword tools for paid advertisers and SEOers, in many cases both camps share the same toolbox. One of the most popular keyword research tools used by search marketers is Google AdWords Keyword Tool. If you're using this tool for keyword suggestions and traffic predictions you should keep in mind that the latter largely depend on the keyword matching type you use.

As you probably know there are 3 keyword match types: broad = keyword, phrase = "keyword" and exact = [keyword] match. Broad match includes all the queries containing your keyword or parts of keyword phrase and their variations in any position. Phrase match covers the search strings which may contain additional words but where your target phrase appears as it is. Exact match is just your target phrase as it is with no variations or additional words.

When you check the search volumes to decide whether to optimize for this or that keyword keep in mind that you'll only rank for the exact match of the keyword and probably for a couple of additional queries containing this keyword. So don’t get overwhelmed with broad match search volumes.


If you're thinking of optimizing for the keyword cell phones accessories, don't expect your site to appear in search results 823k times each month. Your site won't rank for all the possible keyword phrases and variations included in the broad match search volume. The actual search volume you'll probably be getting will lie somewhere between the phrase and exact match values (closer to the exact match).

Even on exact match the search volume data you get can be inaccurate. You can invest a lot of your time and resources into optimizing for a traffic-heavy keyword only to find out that the search volume it generates is not even close to the one you got in your keyword tool. If you don't want to learn it the hard way you may consider launching a small PPC campaign to test things out and see how many impressions you get for your keyword before you start optimizing for it.

2. Keyword grouping

Experienced PPC marketers know that the success of their campaigns largely depends on keyword management. To achieve best results you need to break down your keywords into relevant groups. Tight keyword grouping ensures that your ad is relevant to the user's query which results in higher CTRs and better ROI.

This approach can also be effectively applied to SEO. If you break down your keyword list into groups of semantically relevant items instead of focusing on single search strings you'll be able to target a wider array of keywords with each page you optimize. Besides targeting a couple of core terms in each keyword group you'll also be able to optimize your pages for additional phrases and grab extra long-tail traffic.

Depending on the size of your keyword list you can group your keywords manually or make use of the special tools like the Free Keyword Grouper by Wordstream that will help you break down your keywords and create an actionable keyword list.

3. CTR Optimization

Ranking on the top page of search results for popular keywords will sure bring you traffic. But getting the rank is only half the battle. You still have to compete for clicks with the other 9 organically ranked sites and often paid ads as well. Sure, the higher you rank the more traffic you'll generate, but the position is not the only thing that determines your CTR and PPC advertisers know that very well.

Because Google rewards AdWords advertisers who have high CTRs with cheaper clicks and higher placements PPC marketers take ad testing and clickthrough rate optimization very seriously. They constantly test new titles and ad texts to come up with the best performing ads. You can do the same (or almost the same) with your organic listing.

Although you don't have much flexibility in testing different page titles, because title is an important factor that impacts your rankings, you can still optimize your organic listing and increase your search traffic. If you manage to come up with a more compelling title and Meta description you'll be able to steal some clicks from the sites ranking above you.

Keep an eye on the AdWords ads that pop up for your target keywords for a while. The ones that stay on top long enough are likely to have good CTRs. Look at the title and ad text of these ads and see if you can adopt some of their techniques in your titles and Meta descriptions.

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