How Marketers Can Optimize SEO and PPC at the Local Level
When it comes to increasing web traffic, search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns can work together to strengthen the presence of a brand online, grow audiences, and drive sales.
However, pursuing simultaneous SEO and PPC success — not to mention avoiding cannibalization between the two — requires marketers to break down the traditional silos of organic vs. paid media and use the data from one to inform the other.
The problem is that most brands focus too much on just PPC or SEO, deeming either PPC too costly or SEO too complicated. To make sure they’re getting the most out of both channels, marketers need to test out per-location PPC approaches to see what audiences in different places are looking for and take full advantage of each.
By analyzing strengths in organic content, leveraging insights from paid media to inform SEO approaches, and keeping a constant dial on the two channels at the local level, marketers can achieve a harmonious SEO/PPC approach that compounds in effectiveness as a brand’s online presence grows.
Assess the Strength of Existing Content and Organic Keyword Rankings
Before diving into any exciting opportunities to throw money at your search ranking or traffic targets, it’s crucial to first survey the established success of your content. Which keywords are already bringing customers to your sites? Brands typically want to avoid wasting money on paid campaigns against keywords that are doing well with SEO.
It can also be tempting for brands to focus solely on SEO, particularly if revenue is tight. Organic marketing is on the rise as media budgets are set to shrink again this year. But the online space is crowded, and organic can’t answer every question. For that reason, SEO is generally more successful with highly specific long-tail keywords.
When devising SEO strategies, marketers can look at search volumes and web traffic data to assess the landscape. But what are the levers that marketers can pull to improve the efficacy of their SEO? How can they identify new keywords, uncover deeper customer intent, and reach new audiences online? PPC campaigns offer insights that shed new light on organic SEO.
Use PPC Data to Better Understand Consumer Motivations
Paid campaigns paint a larger picture of human behavior that helps marketers uncover the reasons behind their SEO findings. With PPC, marketers get a more granular view of the queries or terms the consumer searched for, and what specifically led them to the online property. Marketers can also see metrics like how long the consumer stayed on their site.
By paying close attention to the queries that bring consumers to their websites via paid ads, marketers can tap into new areas of interest for keywords and identify high-intending phrases indicating the consumer is ready to make a purchase.
PPC data also reveals regional trends that marketers can use to inform SEO strategies for local landing pages as well as local campaign messaging at large. For example, maybe residents of one state are drawn to a brand’s healthy options, whereas another region prioritizes saving money.
In addition to using PPC as a tool to better understand audience behavior at a local level, marketers can also lean on PPC for keywords that are difficult to rank for organically. Building out SEO is a long game, particularly in more competitive or crowded marketplaces. PPC can come in to help boost traffic and online visibility for broader keywords where SEO can’t cut through the noise.
Leverage Omnichannel Measurement to Continually Optimize the Mix
The truth about SEO and PPC is that either tactic alone falls short of the potential for the two to work together. Without PPC, SEO suffers from a lack of data context. And without SEO, brands waste money on keywords for which they could be ranking organically.
Best practices aside, a brand might want to go all in on the same keywords for SEO and PPC if the goal is a major increase in sales for the coming month. The desired business outcome — whether that's to spend as little money as possible, to test out the popularity of a new phrase in certain areas, or to boost sales around one menu item — dictates the appropriate mix of SEO and PPC.
By constantly analyzing PPC campaigns against SEO outcomes and experimenting with new keywords and local targeting methods, marketers can learn what consumers are really looking for and how that varies across regions. PPC findings can be used to uncover new SEO priorities, inform local messaging, and understand consumers’ journeys with your brand online.
Spencer Moody is the AdOps lead at Hyperlocology, a franchise marketing platform.
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Spencer Moody is an AdOps lead at HYPERLOCOLOGY, where he helps multi-location and franchise brands plan, execute, and analyze multichannel digital campaigns.