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CPC Ads and SEO Are Not Mutually Exclusive in Search Engine Marketing

July 24th, 2017 by Shawn Kerr

It’s a basic tenet of Search Engine Marketing (SEM): CPC Ads and SEO, leveraged properly, are generally more effective and improve Return On Investment (ROI) when used together.   This article shows how the seemingly disparate marketing pieces of Cost-Per-Click ads and Search Engine Optimization can be used to create a greater whole when used together.  This synergy is especially important to small to medium-sized businesses, such as our bed & breakfast inn and dude ranch clients, when the advertising budget does not have a lot of wiggle room.

CPC ads and SEO illustration

About CPC Ads

CPC illustrationCost-Per-Click ads are more commonly known as “Pay-Per-Click” (PPC) ads, though very few online advertising programs actually have you pay on a “per click” basis.  Most require that you pre-pay into an account, which is then refilled manually or automatically as needed for the daily budget of the campaign.  Popular programs for this type of advertising include:

  • Google AdWords
  • Yahoo! Bing Network
  • Facebook Ads
  • Advertising.com

For the purposes of this article, we will focus on Google AdWords and Yahoo! Bing Network, as they are traditional search engines.

SEO illustration

About SEO

Search Engine Optimization is a wide array of techniques and standards meant to improve performance in search engine visibility.

For the purposes of this article, SEO will be defined as the publishing of website content, including website pages and blog posts, that is meant to rank well for specific keyword phrases in search engine query results.

How CPC Ads and SEO Fit Into Search Engine Marketing

I find this helpful in understanding their functions within Search Engine Marketing:

Picture your search engine marketing as a mountain with your goal (effective ROI) at the peak.  On one side you have a cliff.  On the other, you have long a gentle slope.

Climbers on a slopeSearch Engine Optimization (SEO) is the gentle slope.  It takes longer to reach the peak (or goal) but it’s a relatively easy way to get there.  Progress is just like “one foot in front of the other.” Commit to learning how to create content with SEO value and then publish regularly. If you slip or stumble along the way (i.e. stop publishing content with SEO value) you can recover your footing without great difficulty.

Cliff climberCost-Per-Click (CPC) ads are the cliff.  Its the fastest route to get to the peak, but is hard work, requires far more specialized knowledge and a fall (i.e. stopping an ad campaign) is disastrous to progress.

How CPC Ads and SEO Work Together

If you have two teams attempting to climb SEM Mountain, one on the gentle SEO slope and the other on the sheer cliff of CPC ads, you can ensure that their efforts work in synergy to improve the performance of each.  Here’s how you do it:

Have the “SEO slope team” climbers start first by optimizing current website pages then move on to regularly publishing more optimized content for your targeted keyword phrases.  Results won’t happen overnight and they won’t happen dramatically, but proper SEO will improve visibility in organic search results and earn your website more traffic.

Once you’ve hit your stride with SEO you can start looking at ways CPC ads can provide paid search engine traffic when there’s a lot of organic competition.

Why CPC Ads Perform Better When Linked to Landing Pages with SEO Value

Three words: Higher Quality Score

Google AdWords (the world’s largest search CPC advertising program) includes an Quality Scores for keywords chosen and for ads.  Part of the quality score is relevancy and this is where SEO comes in.

Cliff climber with a rope assistGoing back to our mountain climb analogy, you can think of it as the SEO slope team throwing a rope over the edge of the cliff to ease the ascent of the “CPC cliff team.”

If you don’t have an SEO slope team, no assistance will be available for CPC cliff team ascend.  They may make it on their own, but it will expend a lot more energy (and for CPC energy is represented by dollars spent).

Do You Have a Strategy for CPC Ads and SEO?

Search Engine Marketing works best  when SEO and CPC Ads work synergistically. We invite you to contact us if your website is struggling to gain traffic from organic or paid search results.  InsideOut Solutions offers both CPC Ads and SEO as part of its SEM Services.

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