Within every organization, there are internal battles that are worth the fight. Most growth-minded companies face a lack of communication between teams in some shape or form. If you work in a marketing role, you may notice a disconnect between your paid search and SEO teams. You do not have to be a C-Suite employee to champion change within your company. In this article, I will give you the ammunition you need to be the force of change in getting your Pay Per Click and SEO in lockstep.
I know that we are all looking to improve bottlenecks and alleviate inefficiencies, but sometimes these issues go above our head. You need to come to the table with action items. So I’ve mapped out five sequential steps to successfully collaborate between internal teams, increase visibility, lower your ad spend, and improve your integrated search capabilities. And it is iPullRank tested and approved. So let’s dive in.
1. Strategy and Collaboration
When you think about the end goal of your paid search and SEO teams, the goals are one and the same. The goal is to get people to view you as an authority, click through your ads and listings, and become a customer. It all comes down to your target audiences and what they see on the search engine results page (SERP). So why do your teams sit on opposite sides of the office and look the other way when passing each other by the water cooler?
There seems to be a notion that paid search and SEO can work in conjunction without teams actually having a conversation. It may be possible to have successful PPC advertisements without collaboration with the SEO team, but why not do it the right way when all it takes is a meeting to align goals. Fight for that meeting in which your whole digital team is present.
You want to have everyone from your coordinators and analysts all the way up to your VP’s and even C-suite all present at this meeting. We all know that it can be challenging to get your executives into a room, so you will need to explain that this meeting will lead to savings so they are motivated to join the conversation. When you get it on the books, go into that meeting with one thing in mind: Identify the shared keywords and phrases. You will find that there are many efficiencies that can come from this information sharing session if you layout this agenda:
Sample Meeting Agenda
- Who you are and why you requested the meeting
- Explain the metrics on your side of the business
- Have your counterparts explain their metrics
- Discuss where you house your data and what data stands out to you as being important
- Discuss aspects of current campaigns that have driven results.
- What about them has led to success?
- Figure out where the areas of opportunity for improvement are
- Align aspects of successful plans with your areas for opportunity
- Leave with a specific set of goals and an actionable gameplan
2. Data Sharing
We live in a time where the value of data outweighs the value of oil. On the paid side of the conversation, Google provides marketers with a wealth of information about the performance of pay per click campaigns. SEOs have tons of data to support their efforts like engagement metrics, conversion from organic search, average rank, and traffic from organic. You need to be thinking of this data as one full set of information.
If you had double the information about your competitors, do you think you could implement a strategy to beat them out? And if you have double the information on your customers and how they behave while searching, do you think you would be in a better position to target them? Here is the proof you need. AdWords provides you with some specific data that you will want to have shared. Specifically, AdWords gives you insights into what queries are searched that lead to a click on your ads as well as the demographics of these searchers.
Our Founder, Mike King, suggests using your full set of SEO and PPC data to create pages and content targeting high-volume keywords. This is SEO 101. If you are creating content to back up your ads, you are now seen as a more authoritative source.
3. Get know your CTR
We all know that your customers can’t move through the sales funnel unless they are actually clicking through your content and ads. So how do you ensure your customers are actually digesting your ads and content? You will need to put that data to work.
The data that you have shared gives you the best opportunity to better target the right customers at the right stages in the buying process. With this, you can better align ads and content to customers and where they might be in the sales funnel.
“For non-branded keywords that have both a paid and organic presence, we saw a CTR of 8.93% for paid search and 5.10% for organic search”
Why did this happen? Because the more your ads show up with strong related content in the organic SERP to back it up, you are not only more visible but also more authoritative to your end-users. Plus, people can get scared of ads, so your optimized content provides a less intimidating way for clients to move off the SERP and onto your site.
My steps to identifying PPC terms that we can bid higher on and also have a high SEO rank for testing:
- You will need to share all of your SEO and PPC data in advance. It is important to note that Google Analytics no longer provides data at the keyword level for search performance. This makes paid search data more valuable
- Combine the data from Google Search Console, SEMrush or your SEO tool, and data on how landing pages perform in organic search. Include your data on bids, how keywords are performing (conversion), and your return on ad spend
- On the organic side, pull information on links and keyword difficulty so you can make a comparison between organic and paid
- Determine where you can cut back or turn off paid, where it makes more sense to emphasize SEO, and where it is unreasonable to target a specific keyword
- You should see a halo effect when this information is combined, meaning you should be viewed as more authoritative and see an increase in CTR
4. Improve Your Quality Score
Quality Score directly affects your success on Google. As a refresher, quality score is just how Google rates the relevancy and quality of your keywords and ads. What is the quality score dependent on? Your CTR, for one!
As someone who thinks in terms of conversions, you should know that people will only buy by clicking through your content. By following step 3, you should now be positioned to improve your CTR through data sharing and better targeting. As your CTR increases, your quality score should follow suit. What you are doing is bolstering your authority and the way in which Google looks at the quality of your content and ads.
How can SEO’s leverage quality score? A great method for this is PPC ad copy testing for SEO. At iPullRank, we know that we can’t simply assume that things will work, so testing gives us the ability to hypothesize and conclude on the actual findings. PPC ad copy testing is the process of using your PPC ad copy data to start testing your SEO metadata and on-page copy. Google Search Console is the tool you want to use and low CTR would be your key metric.
With the information available to you, you will be able to see pages with underperforming CTR. You will want to start thinking of page titles, keeping in mind, the goal is to differentiate your page title and increase CTR. You can also conduct tests on your meta descriptions. This ends up being slightly easier than testing page titles, as they are not considered as heavily in terms of ranking.
5. Lower Your CPC, Increase Your ROI
Since you are planning to bring the information in this article to your C-Suite, you need to be able to show how this affects the bottom line. Lucky for you, every point I have brought up leads directly to SAVINGS! As PPC costs money, savings will come from creating high-quality content, so your organization doesn’t need to pay as much on ads
By sharing data across your teams, you can outline shared keywords and how your competition may stack up. This allows you to understand the search landscape and opportunities to save money on competitive keywords.
“For more competitive keywords, it makes sense to take a look at the copy other pages have. This will allow you to adjust the copy in question and create both internal and external links. Optimizing around these high-cost and highly competitive keywords allows you to see if you can increase your organic presence without having to bid on ads.”
Mike King, Managing Director of iPullRank
You don’t need to throw your money at the most competitive keywords when you can make authoritative content on a set of keywords through your internal content creators or an agency. To further this point, Thomas Stern’s research indicated that “against multiple organic positions on the first page; these tests have proven that competitive keywords with costly CPCs can often be efficiently targeted by reducing bids and dropping ad position when a client is ranking in the top few organic positions.”
On top of creating content to improve CPC, CTR, and, therefore quality score bring your costs down. The image provided shows how as Quality Score increases, your costs decrease.
And isn’t that what it’s all about- saving money on one hand while driving conversions on the other?
So there you have it. Across the board, companies feel these issues in varying degrees. That being said, no matter how disjointed your SEO and PPC teams may be, it is never too late to right the ship and save money. Integrated search is a foundational pillar of digital success in today’s day and age.
If you are struggling to get your SEO and PPC in lockstep, we should have a conversation to see how iPullRank can assist!