It’s no secret that content marketing and PPC are two of the most important and popular types of digital marketing strategies. But what happens when you combine the two? Is it a match made in heaven, or does it end in disaster? In this post, we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of combining content marketing with PPC, and we’ll also offer some tips on how to make it work.
What Does It Mean to Combine Content Marketing With PPC?
As we all know, content marketing is all about creating and distributing valuable, relevant, engaging content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience to drive profitable customer action. Content marketers focus on crafting well-written, compelling, SEO-friendly copy that answers users’ questions and helps boost organic traffic and website authority within a certain niche.
On the other hand, PPC is a paid form of advertising that allows you to place ads on search engines and other websites to drive traffic to your website.
This is nothing new. But what exactly does it mean to combine the two? It means using PPC campaigns to promote highly-valuable and highly-converting content on your website. In other words, you’re using SEO-friendly content to attract organic traffic while also using targeted PPC ads to drive traffic to that same content.
Why Would You Want to Combine PPC and Content Marketing?
There are several reasons why you might want to consider combining content marketing with PPC. The most important are:
1.) High-Quality Content Can Be Better at Converting Than a (Very) Well-Written Ad
It’s common for PPC marketers to focus their attention solely on the quality of their ads and landing pages. While that’s certainly important, it’s not the only thing that matters. If you’re driving traffic just for the sake of a sale and you disregard the reason or intention behind a user typing in a keyword in Google, visitors are likely to catch on quickly. They’ll realize that they won’t find what they’re looking for on your site and click away.
But if you use your PPC ad to drive traffic to valuable content that answers a user’s question, they’re much more likely to stick around. This is great for you because good content is much better at driving conversions and generating leads than other forms of marketing. In fact, marketers who focus their strategies around content marketing report six times higher conversion rates than those who don’t.
But it can sometimes take time for a good piece of content to reach the top of the SERPs. That’s when combining it with a well-targeted PPC campaign can help. Both strategies work together as one: your PPC campaign drives traffic to your content, getting people to interact with your brand and share it with others. This helps boost your content’s ranking. On the other hand, your content is more likely to convert readers than PPC ads alone. So, by driving traffic to your content with your PPC ads, you’re effectively getting more value from your PPC campaign.
2.) Build Trust With Good Content and Boost Your PPC ROI
When users see a PPC ad, they’re generally aware that it’s an advertisement and that the company is trying to sell them something. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does mean that there’s a certain level of distrust there, making people less likely to click on your ad. In the best of cases, an ad does very little to improve the level of trust in your brand from someone who only just found out you exist.
But what if, instead of selling your reader something right off the bat, you direct them to a piece of content that yells, “We know what we’re talking about here!“?
If you take them to content that positions your brand as an authority within your niche, content that offers value and will make your readers keep coming back for more, this can build trust between you and your audience. Nowadays, trust is one of the most important forms of equity a brand can have, as people are more likely to buy from a brand they trust.
It’s a bit of a roundabout way to go about it, but the truth is that driving traffic to valuable content using PPC and building trust with your audience is an effective way to improve conversions and, in turn, the ROI for your PPC campaigns in the long run.
3.) You Can Use PPC to Test Different Types of Content
If you’re not sure what type of content will work best for your target audience, using PPC to test different pieces is a great idea. You can create different ads that link to different types of content and see which ones perform better in terms of engagement, conversion rates, and other important metrics.
This is a great way to fine-tune your content strategy and focus on types of content such as videos, infographics, blog articles, and UGC, which are most likely to resonate with your target audience and lead to conversions.
4.) PPC Can Help You Promote Time-Sensitive Content
If you have time-sensitive content that you want to promote, using PPC is a great way to do it. You can create ads that specifically target people looking for the type of information your content provides and make sure that your ad reaches them at the right time.
This is particularly important in some very dynamic niches like the crypto investment space or the stock market, where a piece of news can make an exchange go ablaze, like what happened in 2021 with the Reddit-GameStop-Robinhood saga. In those cases, getting a good piece of content up in record time can mean the difference between making it big time or missing the wave.
Cons of Combining Content Marketing and PPC Campaigns
PPC can be a great way to drive traffic to your content, but it’s important to remember that it’s not a silver bullet. If you’re not careful, you can waste a lot of money on PPC ads that don’t lead to conversions.
Here are a few things to keep in mind if you’re thinking of using PPC to drive traffic to your content:
1.) PPC Can Make Your Content Marketing Much More Expensive
PPC can be a very effective way to drive traffic to your content, but it’s important to remember that it can also be quite expensive, depending on your niche and the keywords you’re targeting. If you’re not careful, you can easily spend more money on PPC than you’re making in revenue from your content.
Before you start a PPC campaign, it’s essential to do your research and make sure that you understand the costs involved. Otherwise, you could spend a lot of money with little to show for it.
2.) PPC Requires Constant Optimization
If you want to make the most out of your PPC campaigns, you need to optimize them constantly. This means regularly testing new ad copy, keywords, and targeting options to see what works best.
PPC can be a lot of work, which adds on top of the work needed to craft a good piece of content when you combine the two. If you’re not prepared to put in the time and effort required, it’s probably not worth pursuing.
3.) PPC Can Be Disruptive
If you’re not careful, your PPC ads can disrupt the user experience. This is particularly true if you mistakenly target keywords that aren’t a good fit for the content you’re promoting, even if it is topically relevant.
For example, if you’re running a PPC ad for a blog post about “How to make the perfect cup of coffee,” that has the ultimate goal of selling an online course about becoming a barista, but you’re targeting the keyword “coffee beans,” you could end up with a lot of clicks from people who are looking for information about where to source coffee beans, and not how to make a cup of coffee. While the post may still be interesting to them, it may not lead to a good conversion rate.
Tips on How to Combine Content Marketing With PPC Campaigns
As long as you keep an eye on the potential pitfalls, the pros outweigh all the cons of the content marketing-PPC combo. So, how do you actually combine the two? There are plenty of ways to use PPC to drive traffic to your content without breaking the bank or disrupting the user experience. Here are a few tips:
Tip #1: Use PPC to Promote Content Early in Your Content Marketing Strategy
When you first launch a new piece of content, it can be difficult to get it in front of your target audience based solely on organic search results. As we said above, you can use PPC to promote your content in the early stages to give it a boost and help get it in front of more people and up the rankings. Once the post or other type of content starts performing well on its own, you can turn your PPC budget off or direct it to other content.
For example, if you’re promoting a new digital currency exchange in a country like the U.K. through content marketing, you know that it’ll be quite hard to stand out from the competition through organic traffic alone because crypto exchanges are in a very saturated market, even if there are a couple of major players that dominate the crypto scene. This is where combining your content marketing with PPC can prove to be useful, generating traffic to your content and getting Google to notice it more.
Tip #2: Use PPC to A/B Test Two Types of Content Quickly Within a Very Targeted Niche Audience
If you’re not sure which type of content will perform better with a particular target audience, you can use PPC to A/B test two pieces of content quickly. By setting up a well-targeted ad (something PPC marketers are great at) and directing readers alternatively to one content or the other, you’ll be able to acquire very important data regarding your audience. You can then use that information to decide what content to produce more of in the future.
PPC can be a great way to quickly test headlines, types of content, and even calls-to-action to see what performs best with your target audience without waiting for both versions of the content to start performing well.
Tip #3: Use PPC to Drive Traffic to High-Performance Evergreen Content
PPC doesn’t just work to get new posts off the ground; it can be great at capitalizing on your well-performing content as well. If you have a piece of cornerstone content that’s performing well and continues to generate traffic and conversions over time, you can use PPC to give it an extra boost and reach a wider audience. This is a very smart way to make your PPC dollars go as far as possible because this is content that you already know is doing well.
Think about it, if a record company has an artist generating most of their sales and driving most of their ROI, doesn’t it make sense for the record company to promote that artist wherever they can? Of course, this doesn’t mean they’ll abandon the other artists and put all their eggs in one basket, but they’ll certainly be promoting the ones bringing home the bacon a lot more.
For example, suppose you’re running a website that teaches people about personal finance, budgeting, and expense management. These types of websites usually make money by suggesting partner brands and their products to readers through review posts, comparisons, and listicles. But one of the main reasons people visit the website in the first place is to learn something they didn’t know before.
For example, they may be interested in learning about how investing works or about what factors to consider when choosing a good credit card for their business or for personal use. This type of content is always relevant and will always provide value to the reader. You can use these evergreen posts to drive traffic down your sales funnel, so driving more traffic to the evergreen post through PPC will almost always be highly effective.
Tip #4: Use PPC to Remarket Content to People Who Have Visited Your Site Before
PPC isn’t just for getting new people to visit your site; it can be great for getting people who have already visited your site to come back and engage with more of your content. This is called remarketing, and it’s one of the most effective ways to use PPC to improve traffic and conversions.
The way it works is that when someone visits your site, you place a cookie on their browser that will allow you to show them ads for your content when they visit other sites. This is a very effective way to keep your content top-of-mind and get people who have already shown an interest in what you do to come back and engage with more of your content.
The Bottom Line
Content marketing and PPC are two great strategies that can work together to improve traffic and conversions. The key is to use PPC in a way that complements your content marketing strategy, rather than trying to use it as a replacement for content. When used correctly, PPC will improve your content’s overall performance and, in turn, your content’s performance will improve your PPC campaign’s ROI.
The post The Pros and Cons of Combining Content Marketing With PPC and How to Pull It Off first appeared on PPC Hero.
SEO and PPC both have their place in a startup growth strategy. This article considers the pros and cons of each strategy to help make an informed decision on where to invest your marketing budget. The post PPC vs. SEO: Pros and Cons for Startups first appeared on PPC Hero.
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The year is still new and running an SME in 2020 isn’t getting any easier. While there’s so much that founders, CEOs, and fellow C-suite need to juggle and struggle with, SEO is yet another running goal added to this list. We caught up with Chris Rodgers, Founder and CEO of Colorado SEO Pros to talk about the conundrum of SEO and SMEs, challenges, trends, user behavior, voice search, and lots more – a chat you can not afford to miss.
SEW: 2020 will see or shall we say, “hear” 50% of search queries in “voice” – How should small and local businesses – make themselves more visible on Google?
Chris Rodgers: Voice search is dramatically changing the way people search for information but not necessarily the information they are seeking. A few years back Google introduced the concept of micro-moments. Google defines a micro-moment as “an intent-rich moment when a person turns to a device to act on a need – to know, go, do, or buy”. These needs have not changed, but what we are seeing is that instead of typing search queries into a device, people are increasingly speaking more conversational queries via voice search… and it’s growing very rapidly.
Getting started with a voice search optimization strategy
As a small business, you need to understand the concept of “micro-moments” and identify the specific needs of your customers in order to create great content that matches search intent. So, if you’re a plumber, you are likely aware of the top questions and problems your customers have. Focus on creating content that meets specific customer needs. This content could be informational, commercial, navigational, or transactional. Creating content that matches user intent will increase the chances of ranking in the top-three results, and as a result, being served in voice search answers.
Last June a study was released that dove deep into voice search ranking factors, and there were some interesting findings.
Chris Rodgers spoke about some of the important ones that you need to be aware of as you formulate an approach to voice search optimization:
- 80% of voice search answers came from the top three organic search results
This means you should continue to focus on ranking in the top three positions of search results, creating high-quality content that matches user intent, and getting relevant and trusted backlinks to your website.
- 70% of all voice search answers were from a SERP feature, most being rich snippets
You should research and understand SERP features, and create a strategy to be featured in rich snippets and in other features where it makes sense.
- A majority of voice search results were from pages that loaded faster than the others
This means you should be paying close attention to page speed. A few tools to help are Google Lighthouse Tools, GT Metrix, and Google Search Console (the GSC tool is still classified as “experimental” by Google).
Three tips to follow for voice search optimization
- Take a more fluid and conversational approach to the content being created, avoid awkward keyword stuffing, and focus more on “topics” versus exact keyword usage. Consider adding related keywords that are relevant to your search terms and topic.
- Include questions and answers in your content and use PAA (people also ask) from Google search results to identify questions. Another tool for topics/questions is “answer the public.” Consider which questions prompt a rich snippet (position zero) in search results and try to provide a better explanation of that keyword search/topic.
- Research types of schema mark-up that can be used on your site and how to implement (there are some WP plugins out there that make it easier). Some types of schema to consider might include local business schema, organizational schema, FAQ schema, Q&A schema, and maybe even review schema. Google has a free structured data testing tool that is useful as well to test your mark-up.
SEW: What do you think were the top challenges for businesses/SMEs in 2019?
Chris Rodgers: Understanding and integrating SEO throughout SME organizations – We often see enterprise organizations with disjointed marketing and operations structure that siloes SEO. This approach limits the success and impact of SEO. We work with some forward-thinking enterprise organizations that are building enterprise SEO strategy across departments. For example, the web development and IT infrastructure group are thinking SEO, but so is the PR group and marketing specialists who influence language, tone, and content strategy.
Communicating the value of SEO and quantifying results for SME stakeholders – While this is true for SEO across most businesses, when we look at small and medium-sized enterprises it is very common. Marketing managers generally have a basic understanding of SEO, but as information goes up to the C-Suite and business owners, much is lost in translation. It is best to focus on a few important SEO KPI’s that are more easily quantified (keyword rankings, organic traffic, landing page organic visits, and conversions). We recommend tracking conversions down to the lead level with sales close data to more effectively calculate and communicate true ROI.
Understanding SEO strategy and processes – Whether we are talking about SME’s, start-ups, or larger enterprise organizations, there is often a fundamental lack of understanding around how SEO works. It is worth doing some research to understand SEO strategy basics and how agencies manage SEO strategy, regardless of whether you are working with an outside vendor or are working with an in-house SEO provider.
SEW: If you were to strongly suggest one platform for small businesses to spend their money and resources on in 2020, which one will it be? – Google SERP, FB, YouTube, Email?
Chris Rodgers: One platform is a poor strategy with too much risk. That being said if I only had one I might choose email marketing (if you have a solid email list). Email can be low cost and high ROI, even though it’s not too sexy and the potential is based on your email list. If you don’t have a well-targeted list, it would definitely be SEO because of the ROI it historically drives.
SEW: You’ve mentioned that you purely practice white hat SEO – What are the most common myths that your clients have had and how have you helped burst them?
Chris Rodgers: There aren’t many SEOs that are 100% white-hat. It’s more of a marketing term used by SEOs. I would not consider us 100% white-hat, because we manage link-building campaigns, which by its very nature is at least partially grey-hat. I guess the biggest myth would be that there are just a handful of factors (or any one “trick”) that make sites rank, and if you use the right strategy you go right to the top (there are hundreds of factors + multiple AI systems).
No one has a buddy at Google that ranks sites. No one person has control over the algorithm, and even more, there are AI systems at play that would likely override any single factor or single person’s influence.
SEW: Consumer search habits you can predict for 2020 and how local businesses can make the most of it.
Chris Rodgers: Voice search will grow in 2020, as will the use of smart speakers & home assistants – Use the resources in this article to create a voice optimization strategy to both create new content and optimize current content. Identify the questions your customers have and perform research on Google (incognito) to confirm. If you ask the question in Google and you are seeing SERP features and PAA (people also ask) questions, you’re probably on the right track. Tools like SEMRush and Answer the Public can provide questions as well.
Video will continue to appear more prevalently in search and drive more traffic – If you don’t currently have a video SEO strategy, it might be time to get started. If you weren’t aware, YouTube is owned by Google and by serving more videos in search results, Google can drive organic users back into their paid eco-system. Video is a different content type, but you can use many of the same topics for video. There are however certain video types like “how-to videos” and “product reviews” that can be particularly popular. Do some searches around the video topic you are considering in YouTube, are there tons of results and views? The goal is to increase engagement on your own site by adding video, as well as driving referral traffic directly from YouTube (the second largest search engine).
Rich snippets and other SERP features will continue to grow in search results – Rich snippets and SERP features are an important part of SEO going into 2020. We have more zero-click searches than ever before, so it’s critical to be there. Rich snippets also play a big role in voice search, so research the various schema types that might be relevant for your business and optimize for them. Use Google’s free structured data testing tool to verify your mark up and make sure it’s done properly.
SEW: Could you tell us about some holiday season trends you observed in 2019 – And what would you have done differently for better results?
Chris Rodgers: People are looking for deals, and with how huge Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become, people expect to find them. I have noticed the sales for Black Friday/Cyber Monday have been extended even more this year. There may be opportunities to capitalize on the expectation for sales and deals continuing through the holiday season. Specifically, look to target search around “sales”, “deals”, “doorbusters”, and more such keywords.
SEW: Word of advice for CEOs regarding SEO 2020
Chris Rodgers: 2020 SEO dos – Focus on trying to understand the customer journey for your products and services, define customer roles and personas, and map keywords based on the intent type of first-page ranking web pages. Use Google incognito to perform target searches and note what content types are ranking. If you see informational blogs dominating search results, that tells you those users are more top of the funnel and looking for information. If you see product/service pages ranking, that tells you those users are more bottom of the funnel and are closer to making a purchase decision. This intent is key to solving users’ problems and ranking higher in search results, so create similar content to what is ranking well for your target keywords.
2020 SEO don’ts – Avoid “all-in-one” marketing agencies when it comes to SEO. There really aren’t any general digital marketing companies that lead the way in SEO. They typically rely on other channels like paid search to do the heavy lifting and shy away from the more challenging and complex SEO issues that really matter. SEO is hard, so find someone that specializes if you are looking to be an SEO leader in your space.
SEO timing in 2020 – On a final note, SEO opportunity shifts over time and as more competitors enter a particular industry, the more challenging it becomes. Get serious about SEO sooner than later. Start small if you must, but don’t wait until you need it to begin. It takes a long time to do well, and the best SEO strategies materialize over the long-term, slowly. Going fast with a bigger budget doesn’t work as well as a long-term, well-managed SEO strategy.
Are there any questions or challenges that your SME is facing/overcoming? Feel free to share them in the comments section.
The post SEO and SMEs: Q&A with Chris Rodgers, Founder and CEO of Colorado SEO Pros appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
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