SEO vs PPC – How to Use SEO and PPC Together

Antonio Johnson
By Antonio Johnson

For some reason, many brand managers, marketing directors, and business owners have the misconception that they have to invest in either  SEO or PPC. However, anyone who has worked in the digital space long enough knows that investing in both PPC and SEO is not even a question – it’s a necessity (especially if you have the budget for both).

These two channels are often viewed as completely separate strategies, when in fact, they complement each other more than you may think. Let’s explore the different ways that pay per click and search engine optimization can work together to optimize your marketing campaigns, maximize traffic and conversion opportunities, and debunk the idea that you have to choose between them once and for all!

Share Keyword Data

Keyword research and keyword targeting are crucial in both PPC and SEO campaigns. You bet that the PPC manager spends just as much time performing keyword research as the SEO manager. Both channels need to have a thorough understanding of keyword trends, monthly search volume of those keywords, and the competition level behind those keywords.

Utilize PPC’s Keyword Data For SEO Purposes

By linking your AdWords and Analytics accounts together and running a PPC campaign in addition to your SEO efforts, you can gain valuable insights about which keywords are bringing in the most traffic and driving conversions. The SEO team can use these insights to make well-informed, data-driven on-page optimization decisions. Because why waste your time and energy targeting keywords that you know aren’t converting?

Additionally, this is a great proving ground and harvesting space for top-performing long-tail keywords for any websites that may be in an extremely competitive space. The long-tail report from your pay-per-click campaign will also provide opportunity for content ideation. It is no secret that the search landscape has moved more towards long-tail searches and even full sentence search terms.

By pinpointing the informational and question-based keywords that result from a broad match PPC campaign, we are essentially presented with a blog content hit list of search terms that we know has search volume and has performed well in our industry.


Utilize SEO’s Keyword Data For PPC Purposes

Keyword research is a funny thing – you can spend hours upon hours researching and compiling a list of target keywords that you want to rank for, then not rank for them for months (or ever!). However, you still walk away with a few wins because your website will naturally rank for other long-tail keywords that you might have not even considered in your initial keyword research.

Related: How to Track and Measure Keyword Rankings for Deep Insights

…And better yet, some of these keywords may even convert very well or have a high search volume. PPC can use these long-tail keywords when building out campaigns. Oftentimes, when building campaigns, PPC managers will look at suggested keywords.

However, if the PPC team is in close communication with the SEO department, they can start monitoring these niche keywords or phrases that are already converting visitors organically. You can use this set of previously ignored keywords to surpass your competition.

The “Paid & Organic” report on the Dimensions tab in AdWords is a great place to start. It takes Organic search terms from Google Webmaster Tools and shows you how they fit in with your current paid search strategy.  Use this tool to get ideas for new keywords to bid on, to make sure you’re bidding on top-performing Organic keywords to maximize exposure on the search results page, and understand how changes to one channel affects the other.  We’ll talk more about all these uses further down.

Antonio Johnson is the Director of SEO at Power Digital Marketing. With a background originating in Cognitive Science, Antonio brings a unique perspective and scientific approach to the Digital Marketing industry. Antonio prides himself on formulating impactful cross-channel digital strategies and establishing meaningful client - agency relationships.