Why it’s important to align your PPC and SEO strategies

With the growth of digital strategies in a company’s marketing team, different people will be managing pay-per-click advertising and search engine optimisation. However, aligning strategies between these sub-teams is vital to deliver the best results when working in partnership with each other

From pop-up adverts to pay-per-click

In the early days of the internet, companies simply copied and pasted their real-world advertising strategies into the digital world. In other words, they looked for websites they thought their potential customers would like to visit and placed their adverts on those sites.

While the concept of what we now know as PPC – matching online advertising with the keywords people search for or the websites they visit – has been around since at least the mid-1990s, it took until 2002 for it to become a reality and for the tech to catch up with the idea.

The lines between PPC and SEO become blurred

When PPC was first introduced, it was not clear which of the provided results were sponsored adverts and which were organic search results.  Google didn’t consider necessary to highlight the distinction. However, regulators disagreed and Google quickly had to amend its presentation to clarify which results were paid (PPC) and which ones were organic (SEO).

That is why PPC adverts are now clearly marked with the word “Ad” although a 2016 study by Ofcom showed that around half of the adults surveyed were unable to identify PPC results as adverts.  Later, there was a significant level of regulatory activity (and corresponding media headlines) around the need for all sponsored promotions to be identified as such.  This was actually aimed at influencers rather than PPC adverts, but it did serve to raise awareness of the difference between promoted content (including adverts) and organic content.

Increasingly customers are cross-referencing PPC results with SEO results

Modern customers are not necessarily averse to seeing PPC adverts, but they are not necessarily particularly trusting of them either, not even for luxury brands since relevant keywords can be bought by anyone, including counterfeiters.

SEO results, however, do still carry real weight.  Because of this, the ideal situation is for luxury brands to do everything possible to ensure that any keyword which triggers a PPC advert should also trigger a high-ranking organic search result.  This is most likely to happen when PPC and SEO strategies are in alignment.

Customers should see parallel branding and similar marketing strategies whether they follow an organic search result to your website or a paid link.  Remember that many purchases, especially those from luxury brands, occur following a series of “touchpoints”, such as seeing an ad, clicking on a social media link, searching for a website directly and then finally hitting the “buy” button.

If anything in this series of touchpoints seems out of kilter, this will have an impact on customer trust and thus your conversion rates. Your PPC and SEO teams working together will help to prevent these errors and will streamline your marketing approach.

We are an SEO & PPC agency. If you would like to like to discuss aligning your SEO and PPC strategies, please get in touch.