Search Engine Marketing: How SEO and SEA Combine to Maximize Visibility

Ogno How SEO and SEA Combine to Maximize Visibility

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Advertising (SEA) are great by themselves, but the combination of both makes for a much stronger search engine marketing approach. As most of us know, SEO is not exactly “pay-to-play”. But this doesn’t mean it cannot benefit from Google Ads tools & strategies, and vice versa.

Advertising with Google AdWords will not improve your organic search results. Or at least not directly. However, there are ways in which you can make use of PPC data to quickly get insights that will contribute to your SEO strategy. Not only that, but Google Ads provides a suite of tools that can help you figure out how to optimize your site. By doing so, you’ll save yourself tons of time and money.

Why Implement SEA into Your Search Engine Marketing?

Before we can answer that, let’s take a step back and think about Google’s search engine result pages’ (SERP) layout. Oftentimes, the very first result shown by the search engine (also known as position 0) is occupied by paid ads. Depending on the query, the second place can be destined to rich snippets, or followed directly by organic results.

Screenshot from Google's interface with highlights on where paid ads, organic results and rich snippets are located

Now, back to the initial question: why should you include Ads into your search engine marketing strategy? The answer is quite simple. It allows you to place your website right in front of your target audience (aka position 0). Given that you are targeting the right keyword, this is a space where users are likely to click and convert. Combined with a well-directed SEO strategy good SEA means a stellar CTR and high-quality leads (while minimizing advertising costs!).

But that’s not all. The insights gained through your ongoing ads’ progress can also contribute to sharpening SEO. For instance, in case you’re following general SEO advice, you’re likely using industry tools such as Google Keyword Planner (great tool, btw!) to help identify promising keywords. Your search is probably based on keywords with high search volumes and low competition, correct? And creating content around these findings brings you results. But it will take you time, effort and patience to find out.

But what if I told you that by using data from your paid campaigns you could get a better understanding of which terms are driving the most results based on actual testing? And the cherry on top  – unlike SEO (which can take time  to show measurable results), search engine advertising provides almost instant insight on your audience’s behaviour towards your content.

Traffic by itself is not very useful for most of us, unless it leads to conversions. And this is where a combination of SEA and SEO could make all the difference.

Well, not only is it possible to use Google Ads features and data to supercharge your organic search growth. It is encouraged.

Finding Keywords

On the left side of the Google Ads interface, you’ll find the section named “Keywords”. This report represents the phrases you are currently targeting on your ongoing campaigns. Once you’ve clicked it, you’ll also come across “Search Terms”, which refers to the phrases people are actually typing into Google.

Screenshot from Google Ads interface highlighting the location of the Keywords section, Search Items report and how to download it

So, let’s say you are targeting the keyword “women’s purses” in your site’s content, but your audience is actually searching for “women’s cross bags” or “women’s backpacks for hiking”. The Search Terms report will let you know the exact phrases that are getting searched more often so you can target them instead with SEO.

Ask yourself this: why do these words or phrases get more impressions? Which terms lead to the most conversions? By understanding the user intent behind these searches you’ll be better equipped to adapt to the wording your audience is using and will likely respond to. Make sure to incorporate them into your content for better results.

Improving CTR

The percentage of people who’ve actually clicked on a given ad is its click-through-rate (CTR) – and it is a great metric to look at when it comes to analyzing the wording your users best respond to.

Generally speaking, a high CTR signals a well-written ad – so much so that a large portion of the people who’ve seen it were convinced to engage with it. It can be very beneficial to translate your best CTRs from Google Ads to your organic search snippets.

Try analyzing the best headlines and keywords based on how high their CTRs are. Even if you can’t find any actionable insights straight away, just do some testing and get some.

A good way to do so is to have 2+ ads running in each ad group and run split tests. Then, use this data to figure out the types of benefits, approaches and wording your audience is responding to. Lastly, work them into your site’s content.

Each part of your ad corresponds to different parts of your on-page SEO:

  1. Ad headlines = Title tags

Look for the headline formulas that drive the most clicks. For instance, are the ads that say “free shipping” performing better than those that say “free returns”? If so, take patterns like these and replicate them in the meta title tags to improve their organic search CTR.

  1. Ad descriptions = Meta descriptions

What selling points are best for connecting with people? Is it long or shorter sentences? What is the level of wording expected? Are there any important keywords that make that description more engaging than the rest? Call-to-action?

Domain Authority

It is no secret that backlinks are key for building a site’s domain authority. Despite not being an official ranking factor, link building signals to Google’s algorithm the quality level of a page.

However, building links to each page you wish to rank can be challenging (to say the least). This is where Google Display Network data comes in. Or in other words, you can use data based on your ongoing display ads to find link-building opportunities!

Here’s how you do it: click on the Placements report in a display campaign (on the bottom left side of your screen), and then on “Where ads showed”. This report contains a list of sites where your ads have been displayed, and the performance of each.

Screenshot of Google Ads interface highlighting the location of the Placements section and Exclusions report

For every site that looks promising based on a high number of clicks or conversions, ask yourself “is this site’s audience highly engaged and potentially interested in my business?”. If so, reach out to try and get a backlink via guest posting or other link-building methods of your choice.

This process is an easy way to find relevant sites for your site’s Off-page SEO.

Build Your Own Search Engine Marketing Strategy

The combination of SEO with SEA can be highly beneficial for your business. When done right, you’ll get the best of both worlds. SEO is a long-term game, while SEA provides you almost instant results – put together they will do wonders for your search engine marketing!

Working smarter (instead of harder) is the best way to go about it. Combine insights & identify trends based on Google Ads data, and allocate them towards your SEO campaigns. Get quicker and sharper results!

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