How PPC Helps Your SEO

by Peter Attia on April 5, 2012

I love PPC data. It grants insight into a businesses clientele that you wouldn’t normally know. With adequate testing you can learn a lot about your target audience and their intent.

find target pagePPC Helps You Find Your Target Page

It’s generally pretty easy to tell what page you want to target for what keyword. If I’m targeting the term “Ice Machines”, I obviously don’t want it to point to my “Commercial Ovens” page. Sometimes though, it’s not so black and white.

For example, on one PPC account I had a campaign for different shirts. Now it’s pretty safe to assume that if I’m link building to “Pink Shirts”, I’d be better off targeting the Women’s shirts page instead of Men’s. You could say the opposite for targeting “Golf Shirts”, which has a higher male audience. So what happens with the term “Pink Golf Shirts”? Do I target the Women’s or Men’s page?

This kind of data that is invaluable. You could spend several weeks linking to the Women’s page for pink golf shirts, only to find you made the wrong decision down the road. However, this is something that would be simple to test on a PPC campaign. You can split the ads evenly between the women’s and men’s page and see which is victorious.

PPC Helps You Find New Avenues

When a PPC campaign is large enough, you’ll get to a point where you’re targeting everything that’s even slightly relevant. Turning off things that don’t work and putting more focus on things that do. In doing this though, you’ll often notice things performing well, that you never would’ve expected. Terms that you were certain would fail end up performing very well.

This happened at my previous employer where they were going after “White glove” shipments. These are mainly large and delicate items. They started with the obvious items; large TV’s, fragile furniture, antiques, etc. Eventually they started branching out and ended up on pianos. The term “Piano movers” and related ended up being such a high volume term, that it split into it’s own category entirely.

PPC Helps Your Call to Actions

Text ads force you to say a lot in a few words. You constantly have to test out different ads to improve your CTR. Those highly clickable ads also show you what verbiage resonates with your customers, allowing you to tune up the text on your call to actions.

Call to action banana

Now don’t get me wrong, on page changes should be tested separately than PPC ad text. However, it can give you some great insight on what you can work with, as PPC data is quick to get.

PPC Helps Your Keyword Research

Similarly to how PPC helps you find new avenues, it also allows you to find new targets for organic search. While growing out your PPC campaign, you should often look at your search query report. This report shows you what people searched to get to your site. Yes, you can see similar data in analytics, however through Adwords you get access to more information. By finding keywords that have a good mix of impressions, CTR, and conversions you’ll find targets that would be great to rank for organically.

This is also a great way to find long tail keywords. If you notice a five word long keyword that’s been searched for often, you can throw a few links at that keyword and rank for it. Long tail terms are usually not competitive, which make them great targets.

PPC Helps Your Search Retargeting

OK, so this branches away from SEO a bit, but this is a great example of how PPC can help other forms of marketing as well. Search retargeting is banner advertising that appears for people who have previously searched for your brand name or keywords. If you already have an involved PPC campaign, you know exactly what keywords to start with. It doesn’t stop there. Through testing of landing pages and text ads, you’re able to get an idea of what makes your audience click and what makes your customers buy. Imagine how difficult it would be to start a search retargeting campaign from scratch.

search retargetting

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When you’re developing your PPC campaign, remember you’re getting more than just clicks. I’ve seen several campaigns shut down, because they broke even. Breaking even is GREAT! Breaking even means free branding, free data, and lots of opportunity.

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