Practical Ecommerce

Coordinate Pay-per-click Advertising With SEO Efforts

The goal of a pay-per-click advertising campaign is to attract qualified traffic to a website in an effort to have searchers convert on a desired action. That action could be a sale, filling out a lead form, requesting information and so forth. The goal of search engine optimization is the same, yet the pressure of justifying the cost of every click doesn’t exist.

So, in both the PPC and SEO worlds, the goals are the same. But why drive traffic, whether you pay for it or not, to a site that may not convert? You may only get one chance to impress a visitor so if your site is not conversion friendly, you may have wasted your one and only chance to get that visitor to convert. If the visitor came from PPC, you have wasted your money as well.

Quality scoring is not a bad thing

With the advent of Google’s Quality Score and Yahoo’s Quality Index, the search engines are actually forcing advertisers to manage PPC accounts with the right priorities. It is a win-win situation. Each search engine wants to be known as delivering the most relevant results and the best user experience, so why not force advertisers to deliver exactly that? Advertisers who deliver the most relevant ad text and landing page for the searched keyword will be rewarded with a better Quality Score/Index and a lower cost per click. Those who don’t deliver will pay – literally.

The takeaway is that websites need to have landing pages that are optimized for SEO and deliver the content relevant to the PPC keyword and ad text. Create landing pages with the best possible user experience – easy navigation and clear call to action, and then focus on driving traffic to the site, regardless of where it comes from.

Identify terms that prospects are searching for

Use web analytics to discover what terms people are searching for organically and through paid search and then enhance both efforts. Find long tail keywords and misspellings for PPC and find key terms that have high search activity and create new content pages. Find out how people are interacting with your website and improve their user experience.

Although the benefits of SEO are not realized for a few months, don’t get caught up in the rush to send PPC traffic to a site for instant gratification. You might be able to see some positive results, but think about how much more effectively and efficiently your budget would be spent after optimizing the site. You need teamwork and patience.

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Pamela Nelson

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  1. Massimo Arrigoni September 22, 2008 Reply

    A quick rule based on our own experience: strong prospects are looking hard for what they need and they’ll look BOTH in the organic search results AND in the sponsored listings. Translated into a PPC strategy, this means that if you are in the top 10 on a keyword phrase in organic search results, you should turn off PPC for that keyword phrase.

    Run a spreadsheet with three columns: keyword phrase, current organic ranking range (as it fluctuates, as least on Google), and PPC status (active/inactive). Review it monthly. Doing this for lots of keyword phrases is impossible, but if you focus on the most important ones (in terms of total PPC cost) is not.

    I’m sure there are exceptions to the rule, but overall, there is limited added value in being in both places (yet you see companies do this all the time).

    By the way: there was recently an article right here on PeC on optimizing landing pages: [Landing Pages: Five Pointers To Boost Conversions.](

  2. cabz September 22, 2008 Reply


    I would suggest that others do their own testing before following your advice. What matters is not whether individuals look at BOTH organic and paid results, but what that means in terms of their behavior.

    I’ve read studies that suggested appearing in both the organic (top 10) and paid results improved click-through on both types of results, which certainly isn’t a bad thing if you’re able to convert that traffic. Also, if searchers are not likely to click a companies organic AND paid results on the same search (and I have a feeling the number of searchers who do that is very small) then why wouldn’t you want to appear in both and increase the chances of capturing that individual if they’re searching on a keyword you value highly (presumably because it converts well)?

  3. wahmof2 September 23, 2008 Reply

    As a shopper, I do not look at sponsored listings anymore. Most of them are crap, not what I was looking for. I do not use PPC campaigns at all and rely only on the SEO principles I learned in a free online class. I am busy enough to support my family, and not so busy that I need to hire help. Right where I wanna be!