SEM and SEO (Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimization) are vital components to optimize a brand’s website for discovery in search engines. While some may debate the merits of each, the right combination of both of their strengths is truly the key to maximizing this important opportunity. In today’s post, Skai’s Josh Dreller shares five insights about how to best use these two tactics in tandem.
Years ago, I attended an industry conference where the speaker asked the audience to name the most important single page on the web for any company. Some said the brand’s home page on the company website was most important. Others said the brand’s Facebook page was the most crucial.
But when the speaker demonstrated how easily brands could be excluded from buyer consideration simply by failing to appear on page one of Google search results, it was pretty easy to see that customers will most likely never find a brand’s website or Facebook page if the brand fails to appear at the top of a Google search.
And while most businesses understand the importance of, at minimum, rudimentary SEO measures and many have even developed a paid search strategy, far too few brands are combining SEM and SEO to get to the top of those all-important Google search results.
Here are five reasons you should seriously consider combining your SEM and SEO strategies:
Using SEM and SEO Together Benefit #1 – Visibility
One of the most important benefits of combining your SEO and PPC efforts is your search rankings. Most marketers know that coming in at the top of the search engine results page (SERP) is incredibly important for keeping brands top-of-mind in consumer searches.
But a quick search for just about any product or service will show that the top two or three results on SERPs are generally PPC ads. So it stands to reason that integrating your SEO and PPC strategies means that both your paid search and SEO efforts are working in conjunction with one another to boost your brand right up to the top of search results.
Using SEM and SEO Together Benefit #2 – Value
Integrating your paid search and SEO strategies also means getting the most for your money in terms of PPC. Not only will your brand see free traffic from SEO for your high ranking terms, combining your paid search and SEO can also work to supplement traffic for your lowest ranking pages. SEO rankings are incredibly changeable, one tweak to the algorithm sometimes means all your hard work to get to the top of search results is completely lost.
But paid search is guaranteed–as long as you have the budget. When combined correctly, aligned PPC and SEO strategies mean brands get all the great free traffic that comes from SEO while also reaping the benefits of paid search for terms that might not be getting much action, which ultimately makes for a more effective use of all search budgets.
Using SEM and SEO Together Benefit #3 – Control
Combining your paid search and SEO strategies means the best of both worlds in terms of controlling exactly what messages searchers receive. With paid search, your brand can write ad copy to drive conversions. In SEO content, your brand can remain present in the navigational aspects of the buyer journey. With paid search, your businesses can switch out ads whenever you need a boost, like during sales or special promotions. Then SEO content can serve as an anchor for customers who are trying to find your brand online.
Using SEM and SEO Together Benefit #4 – Attack the full funnel
During those critical first and middle stages of the buyer’s journey, when prospective customers are still researching, SEO is critical for helping searchers discover your brand. During the final stages of the buyer’s journey, when shoppers are pretty set on what they want, keeping your brand at the top of the search results is also critical. When it comes to the buyer’s journey, developing a cohesive paid search and SEO strategy is paramount to moving the customer swiftly and expertly through the funnel.
Using SEM and SEO Together Benefit #5 – Get more clicks
Of course, the main goal of both SEO and PPC is to get clicks, which means that many brands with high-ranking organic search results erroneously believe that relying on those organic search results alone is enough. However, according to Google, that line of thinking breeds false confidence. In 2011, a Google study found that pausing search ads for 390 PPC accounts resulted in an 89% drop in clicks, which makes a pretty good case for focusing on both SEO and PPC, as well as marrying the two strategies.
Combining your paid search and SEO is about more than just getting clicks (although clicks are incredibly important). It’s also about meeting your customers wherever they are in their buyer journey and giving them the information they need to build the foundation of a relationship with your brand.
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