Business Thoughts

How to Use PPC to Help Build a Confident SEO Campaign

Being a company that focuses solely on SEO and PPC (along with Google Analytics to measure and analyze performance), we are often faced early on in potential client conversations with the million-dollar question: Should I focus my online efforts on SEO or PPC? Depending on the potential client’s goals, business model, etc., the conversation may get even trickier – changing direction from SEO to PPC or from PPC to SEO, or sometimes even from SEO and PPC to a completely different avenue of marketing.

The great thing when you are dealing with a company that does solely focus on SEO or PPC (at least in the case of SEER), is that we are committed to pointing potential clients in the right direction (the one that gives them RESULTS), whether that is focusing on SEO or PPC (with SEER or without), or another means of advertising outside of SEER. It’s certainly a tough call, but when you’re in the trenches of search day in and day out you know what type of clients will and will not succeed and let’s be honest, who wants to take a project on that you have that “gut” feeling from the start may fail? (Check out one of Wil’s latest posts for more on Avoiding Client SEO Failures)

So, how do you convince a client who is dead set on an SEO Campaign that, at this moment, PPC is their best approach?

Communicate you are PROTECTING their downside!

Often times when a client is approaching you for an SEO campaign, the thought of engaging in PPC instead scares them.

From a financial standpoint, investing in an SEO may seem like a better solution for a potential new client; they look at SEO as a 12-month investment that they no longer pay for after the contract expires but continue to reap the benefits from.

And at initial glance, PPC appears to have a higher ONGOING price tag – there is the ad-spend, the agency management fee, potentially a setup fee, landing page development fees, etc.

However, what happens if you are dealing with a company who has ZERO online presence or better yet, one that is introducing a new product/service?

If you are anything like the SEER team, taking a (educated) guess that you are choosing the correct terms to optimize a site around based solely on volume, relevancy, etc.for a brand new business/product/service does NOT sound like a good idea .

Why? Because what happens when you get your client all page one rankings and the conversions DON’T COME IN?

Well, here’s the other million dollar question that now your client will be asking YOU: Where are the customers?

Empty Store

So, to avoid the “Where are the customers” question, turn the tables on the client in the discovery stage and push them down the PPC path (But again, do so by communicating you are PROTECTING their downside!).

Use PPC to TEST what terms ACTUALLY do drive the conversions!

And don’t just test the terms haphazardly – Structure your PPC account in the same way you would be driving organic traffic to the clients’ site.

1. Set up a unique Campaign for every page you will likely target in your SEO campaign.

2. Your ad groups will then house the terms you will target to each unique page.

3. Your “landing pages” should be the actual page on the site that you would optimize the targeted terms for.

4. Finally, ensure your campaign settings best match an “SEO” campaign. For instance, target the US (assuming that is your market); target Google Search only (vs. Google Search & Search Partners), etc.

Granted, there will be uncontrollable variances to how organic and paid traffic perform; however, wouldn’t it be great to gather statistically significant data for a client on terms that are PROVEN to (or not to) work! Not to mention, imagine how much more at ease the client will be throughout the SEO campaign knowing that there they already generated some new customers through the PPC tests and are confident they will achieve the ROI from SEO they desire!

Once you have your statistically significant data to base your decision off of, you can then push forward with an SEO campaign that you have CONFIDENCE in will drive the results your client desires. And as long as your PPC account is returning a positive ROI, you may have just helped a potential client grow their business exponentially just by doing some smart marketing research (and hey, picked up a PPC client for yourself!).

And if your statistically significant PPC data leads you to have the tough conversation with you potential client that “this is not going to drive the results you need,” don’t you think your potential client will thank you (and who knows, maybe even refer you to other potential clients) for not wasting their money OR time?

As my colleague Bonnie mentioned in a previous blog, Want to Avoid a Million Dollar mistake, use PPC for the benefits it brings – Do the research (fairly quickly) for your potential client before you waste their time (and yours) and money!