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SEO and PPC – A Tactical Guide

A Tactical Guide to SEO and PPC

Search engine optimization and PPC are incredibly effective ways to drive traffic to your website.

How do you ensure that you’re driving traffic that results in conversions? And when it comes to SEO, how can you amplify your efforts? And for PPC or pay-per-click, how do you know you’re making the most of your spending?

After completing this session, you’ll have a tactical understanding of how to:

  1. Uncover long-tail keyword opportunities that can drive highly qualified visitors to your site
  2. Maximize the utility of your online advertising spend through better segmentation
  3. AB testing and measurement
  4. Embrace new marketing strategies
  5. Avoid the common mistakes that hurt online marketing quality

Because SEO and PPC are technical, I’d like to start the course by providing an overview of the concepts and the terminology that you need to know to be successful when employing these strategies.

SEO and PCC

 

At the highest level, SEO and PPC are similar and related marketing disciplines that are both focused on growing visibility in your search engine results.

SEO, or search engine optimization, is focused on the organic or nonpaid ways that you can improve your rankings, drive traffic and increase awareness, while PPC, or pay-per-click, is focused on driving results through competing on Google for keywords and traffic. While these tools can achieve similar results, the motivation behind each is very different.

SEO is relatively cheap and is focused on getting people to your website. It can take a while to set up, and it can take a while to start working. Once you own the first page of Google search results, it takes a competitor a very long time to kick you off. Before joining my previous company, I was at a competitor that put a huge amount of effort into owning the term “Contract Lifecycle Management.”

We created multiple videos, and guides, hyper-optimized the website, and pushed all of our resources into getting us to No. 1 for that term. After doing all that work, it was very, very difficult for the competition to kick us off No. 1, which was very frustrating to me when I moved to my previous company and was trying to do just that as a competitor. Hopefully, this illustrates how sticky success on Google research results can be.

In contrast, PPC can be expensive and doesn’t have the same sort of lasting power for your brand as SEO does. It does allow your ads to be seen all over the internet. PPC also allows you to target ads for buyers in all funnel stages. For example, remarketing, which I’ll explain in a little bit, is a great way to get to the buyers farther down the funnel.

You just can’t do that the same way with SEO. Because it can be delivered just in time, it’s an incredibly agile and proactive approach. Because it gets quick results, it’s also a much better place for testing your keywords. Because it’s an advertising channel, it’s also incredibly important that you can measure the costs and the effectiveness of the keywords and terms you choose to purchase. Depending on the difficulty of the keywords that you choose, the cost can add up fast.

Getting Started With SEO

 

Now that you have a basic understanding of SEO and PPC, let’s focus on how to launch an SEO campaign:

Conduct a Site Audit

 

If you’re starting from scratch, the very first thing you want to do, once your website is in place and it’s connected to Google Analytics, is conducting a site audit.

What keywords are bringing traffic to your site today? Are those words that are relevant to your buyers?

Knowing that will help you establish a baseline that you can then build on. In most cases, if you’ve never done any SEO work before this audit, you will most likely find that your company name or the name of somebody on the leadership team are the most common keywords driving people to your website.

Optimize Your Content

 

Once you have that baseline, you want to begin optimizing. Make sure you don’t use too many keywords because Google prioritizes quality over quantity here. They have an over-optimization penalty that targets websites with too many keywords all stuffed onto one page, so think strategically about the five keywords or even keyword phrases that are best for each page on your website. Once you have that figured out, you can start optimizing your content to really make sure that you show up for those results.

On each page, you need to think about the technical elements; like the title tag and the meta description—the title tag being that little 70-character or less blurb that tells the search engines what your page is about and really only relates to that specific page, and then the meta description, which gives search engines a little bit more insight, but will also show up in the search engine results, so it needs to be written for humans. Keep these two technical pieces in mind as you’re building out the content for your page.

In addition to the technical aspects, it’s also really important to consider your content. Choose topics that align with your keywords, which should all align with your buyer’s core challenges and product value statements. If you do that, then you can’t go wrong.

Quality content can include a variety of things, including blog posts, industry articles, tutorials, how-to guides, infographics, videos and more. You want to think about making sure that all of these pieces work together on a page to support a specific keyword or keyword phrase.

Gain Domain Authority with Link Building

 

Finally, you want to think about link building. This is the very best way to gain domain authority. Organic links refer to links that you earn, simply by being the best authority on the topic. Say you’ve written the Ultimate Guide to elearning and an educational site decides that that’s valuable and posts a link to your website on top of their website. That would be an organic link.

If you can’t go the organic route, the next best thing is white-hat link-building. Which, refers to intentional link building, but with best practices in mind. For example, if you shared a link to your blog on a partner’s resource page. Write clear, concise, and informative research papers that provide value to readers.

Include relevant keywords naturally throughout your research, focusing on topics and not keyword density.

Encourage other researchers to cite your work and get backlinks from reputable scientific websites.

Craft clear and informative titles, meta descriptions, and headings that accurately represent your research

Then, of course, there are black hat links, which refer to spam. That will hurt you a lot on Google.

  • Keyword Stuffing: Overusing keywords throughout your research paper to rank for specific terms makes it unnatural to read and can be easily detected by search engines.
  • Cloaking: Showing different content to search engines than what human users see is a deceptive tactic and can get your research flagged.
  • Hidden Text/Links: Hiding text or links with white text on a white background or placing them off-screen is another manipulative tactic that search engines frown upon.
  • Comment Spam: Posting irrelevant comments on blogs or forums with links back to your research is spammy and ineffective.

When sites with high levels of domain authority, like government websites, educational websites, or sites like Wikipedia track back to your website, Google gives you credit for essentially being linked to a site that has been proven to be credible. This means faster indexing for your site, increased referral traffic and higher organic rankings, which in turn makes your site easier to find and makes it better performing, which is one of the core benefits of SEO.

Like most SEO strategies, you have to make sure you stay up-to-date on what Google considers to be penalty-worthy. It’s constantly changing and the rules are getting a lot stricter; optimizing for quality content, social engagement and less about keyword stuffing.

For example, it used to be okay to put your website link out on a TrustedLink network, which essentially is a big centralized location for backlinks. It also used to be okay to buy a backlink from a respected source, but both of those things can get you in trouble quickly today. However, if you write a great piece of content and a partner posts a link to it on their blog, you’ll get a backlink to your site, which is still totally okay, and boosts your site’s overall credibility.

Getting Started With PPC

 

If you can only invest in one channel, choose between SEO and PPC. I would recommend SEO because it has lasting power. If you have money to spend and want to test a concept or do something that will get you fast results, PPC is a useful ad tool. I use Google AdWords all the time to test keywords, and ad copy and discover new terms that I want to incorporate into my SEO strategy.

Budgeting

 

The most important thing to consider in PPC is how much money you’ll have to spend and how you want to invest it. You can pay for ads in some common ways. These ways include cost-per-click (CPC). CPC is the amount of money that you pay search engines and other internet publishers for just one click.

Unless you have hyper-targeted ads and a very compelling offer, I find this a hard way to create value. If someone clicks on my ad, if they don’t take another step, all I’ve paid for is a brand impression, and that’s not incredibly useful to me.

Another way that you can look at this is paying for the cost per lead, CPL, which is the amount of money you pay for a lead generated on an advertisement. I like this approach much better because then you’re getting a name for your database that you can continue marketing to.

When you’re paying for the cost per lead, it will be much higher than the cost per click. This is because you’re getting people further down the funnel. So, you want to monitor the value of those leads and make sure that they’re the right people. , those should convert at a 10 to 12 per cent ratio. If you’re getting less than that, it may not be a good way to go.

Finally, if you just want brand awareness, say you launch a new product and you want your audience to know. Paying by cost per thousand impressions (CPM) can be cheaper. This refers to the greatest bid you’ll spend for every single 1,000 impressions received on one of your ads.

Choose Your Keywords or Phrases

 

Once you’ve set up your budget, it’s time to pick your keywords, or keyword phrases. You’re looking at what you want to show up for in Google search returns. You’re trying to balance search volume, keyword difficulty, and relevancy. And, of course, costs.

I’ll talk you through an example. Say you’re a small business that sells GoPros and you want to bring people back to your site using SEO and PPC. You might think it would be a great idea to try and earn the term “GoPro.” You’d be optimizing for the high volume of people who are searching for GoPro.

The idea of capturing that volume of traffic is amazing, but the trade-off comes in the form of targeting and also keyword difficulty. GoPro owns almost the entire first page of search results for the term “GoPro.” They likely outrank you in domain authority. It would be very hard and costly to beat them in search results.

Additionally, say you’re selling the GoPro Hero. Having a bunch of people come in for the general term “GoPro” actually isn’t the most targeted set of people that you could get.

Here is the rewritten output:

When choosing keywords for Google search, you must consider search volume. You must also consider keyword difficulty and relevance. Let’s consider an example. Imagine you run a small business selling GoPros and aim to attract visitors through SEO and PPC. You might think targeting the term “GoPro” is a good idea due to its high search volume. But, GoPro dominates the search results for this term, making it challenging and costly to compete. Moreover, if you sell a specific product like the GoPro Hero, targeting the broad term “GoPro” may not attract the most relevant audience.

Remarketing and Mobile

 

Finally, when thinking about PPC, you need to consider the new advancements like remarketing and mobile. Remarketing is your secret weapon. It helps you reach people who have visited your website or used your app before. It’s a much more engaged and exclusive group of people. You’re not showing ads to strangers. Instead, you’re showing targeted ads to people who already know you.

When you think about the amount of touches it takes to move a buyer forward, using something like remarketing can speed that whole process up. Your targets are past website visitors. They’re browsing sites in the Google Display Network, or searching for terms related to your products on Google.

On mobile, most paid search clicks are from mobile devices. So, when picking keywords and setting your strategy, don’t overlook mobile ads.

If you can only invest in one channel between SEO and PPC, I would recommend investing in SEO because of its lasting power. If you have money to spend and want to test a concept or do something that will get you fast results, PPC is a great tool. I use Google AdWords all the time to test keywords, and ad copy, and discover new terms that I want to incorporate into my SEO strategy.

Hopefully, this article provides you with a comprehensive overview of SEO and PPC. If you want to get more into the technical details of both techniques, I’d recommend checking out Moz (formerly SEO Moz) and Google AdWords.

You’ll be able to find a lot more in-depth information about how to get the strategy up and running. But today, I hope you are walking away with a good understanding of the basics of SEO and PPC, and how to get your strategy off to the right start.

 

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