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  • Tobias Geiß

The right balance between Google Ads and SEO

SEO and PPC are two of the most well-known strategies for driving traffic, leads and new business to grow B2B companies. It’s no secret that both paid (PPC) and organic (SEO) strategies are key to a successful marketing strategy but how and when to use them can sometimes be difficult to decide.

In this article we'll outline the importance of investing in both SEO and PPC as part of your digital B2B Marketing strategy.

Introduction to PPC and SEO

Google Ads (PPC)

Google Ads are effective because they display in the top three results, depending on a number of factors, including your keywords and location. Google has built a complex algorithm using millions of pieces of data every second to determine which ads should be displayed in the best positions. Using your own keyword phrases to bid on will increase your potential visibility and profitability.

Google Organic (SEO)

SEO is defined as the practice of optimizing websites so that they are highly valuable to search engine crawlers. This means that a website that has been optimized for search engines will be able to appear high in the rankings on a search engine result page (SERP).

Things to consider before you start a PPC or SEO campaign

There are a number of factors to consider when deciding whether SEO or PPC should be your #1 priority. Both SEO and PPC campaigns are highly effective in their own right but you can’t rely on one strategy over another because they both complement each other.

Both SEO and PPC were mentioned in the same sentence by Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt, who went on to say that “Both are very important”.

The right keywords and phrases aren’t enough. It’s important that your ads are focused on the right audience and are as relevant as possible. This is where optimizing your website with the help of an SEO Agency can really help.

1. Target Audience

Google AdWords allows you to target your ads to a highly specific audience, you can specify your target audience by: Location of the individual using Google when searching for your keywords (e.g. ‘Targeting people in Berlin’), interests of the individual (e.g. ‘Industry magazine subscribers’) and their relationship status (single, married etc.).

2. Cost per Click

Cost per click is the amount you pay for every time you click on your ad. The higher you bid the more your ads appear in the display and purchasing options, so make sure to select the right option for your campaign.

3. Search Volume

The amount of times a keyword is searched for per month. It’s important that you keep track of search volumes as they change every day, by comparing figures from previous months or years, which will allow you to adjust your strategy accordingly.

Developing an efficient B2B PPC Strategy

To be able to have your PPC campaigns running in the background whilst you work on SEO you need have a reliable and efficient PPC campaign that you know will drive a certain number of leads each month. Efficiency is the key word here. What we mean by that is spending the right amount for the leads generated and not having the more money more leads approach - which comes later.

Why more ad spend doesn’t always mean more B2B leads

One common misconception is that because PPC campaigns are all based around data and automation is that once you have a few leads come through you can simply invest more budget and see a larger return on investment. This may be the case when selling sneakers but for B2B companies this is often not the case, especially when you work in a niche market and you're trying to obtain higher value deals when search volumes are quite low.

Actions to take the first 2-3 weeks of the campaign

Step 1: Research your competitors - It's important that you find out as much as you can about your competitors, and the keywords they are investing on. You need to know if they're spending money on this particular keyword and see what their landing pages look like by checking organic search results. This will allow you to tailor your PPC campaigns to make sure that you're not being too aggressive on these keywords.

Step 2: Define your target audience - Once you have researched your competitors, you will know what keywords they are targeting and therefore this is the first place to start when defining your target audience. You need to work out who your competitors are and then create lists of the different types of personas or buying center roles that might be looking for you via PPC.

Step 3: Define your offer - You need to get really clear on what it is that you're actually selling. You probably don't want to be selling everything all at once but rather over a period of time. Decide how much you are willing to spend on your PPC campaign and what the maximum number of keywords that can target is for each campaign. These numbers will vary depending on the type of business you are running and what you're trying to achieve with your PPC campaign.

Intent Based PPC Bidding Strategies

Another big issue within B2B Marketing PPC campaigns is trying to optimize them when you have low conversion volumes and therefore limited data. Often clients will not immediately fill out a contact us form, this makes it hard to understand which areas of the accounts are driving higher quality users that have a higher potential to convert.

One way we discovered to get over this issue is by using an intent based bidding structure where we assign values to different user behaviors that reflect different levels of user intent. You can use different actions on a website to be able to break down a customer journey before someone actually fills in a contact form on a website. In this scenario you should assign a fictional value to the different conversion actions to train Google to understand your business better.

Investing in SEO in the meantime

In order to build a strong foundation for your PPC campaigns, you need to focus on SEO right away - a fact we see is often neglected. This is because of the lag between the work done and then seeing results. Sometimes you’ll only start to see results from an SEO campaign 3-6 months after the investment has been made, so it’s important not to delay this.

What SEO specialists do for you

SEO specialists usually deal with three main areas: technical, links, and content.The technical aspects refer to the usability of your website, is it fast? Easy to use? Linking is a part of SEO and is mainly about finding reputable websites linking to your own website.These links are an important indicator of relevance. A link is like a vote of confidence from one website to another, and of course this helps Google determine how useful your website is.

The bit you focus the most for B2B SEO is really quality content. Content is the fuel for a successful website and your long-term SEO campaign. The types of content that technical SEO is a one-off project a lot of the time and links often go hand-in-hand with content as that's what people link to. So how do you go about it?

Content for SEO

The biggest mistake we see a lot B2B Marketers do in their SEO efforts is writing content about what they think is useful rather than what their potential buyers and users actually look for. Google exists to answer users’ questions with the most relevant and accurate information. Thus, logic dictates here that if we can figure out what those questions are then we should be trying to answer them as good as we can. This is where using search data from keyword research & content research tools comes in handy.

Summary: How to combine your PPC & SEO Strategy

We’ve mentioned how you can run PPC and SEO campaigns for your B2B company and how the intent based approach works for each, but how do you find the balance and how does PPC affect SEO and visa versa?

Running the intent based PPC campaign structure means that you put most of your budget into these high intent keywords further down the funnel. This is because it’s much harder to rank for these terms organically as they are the most competitive. They are also the most expensive when it comes down to cost per click.

You eventually may want to get to a point where you rank #1 for the term organically but then bid on it too. You are then owning potentially 40/50% of the screen view.

The ultimate goal every B2B Marketer is aiming for. In order to win high-value deals in a B2B company, you need to move to an intent-based SEO and PPC strategy. This means training the Google Ads algorithms by feeding it more data than it currently has and for SEO it means writing blog articles to answer the questions your buyers are asking online using keyword research.

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