SEO in marketing stands for “search engine optimization.”
It is the ongoing process of continuously improving a website for top ranked spots on search engine results pages, or SERPs. These top spots increase the visibility of a relevant website, increasing the likelihood that a searcher will click and go to the website.
The process involves optimizing a website’s elements to be friendly to search engine algorithms, which evaluate websites’ search friendliness, determining whether they are relevant to searcher’s queries. A thorough SEO marketing plan can help a business improve its online presence and profitability.
In this post, we’ll learn what SEO looks like and how it can work together with PPC.
What SEO in Marketing Involves
The first step for any business considering SEO is to recognize that it is not the practice of trying to exploit search engine algorithms.
On the contrary, SEO must communicate effectively to search engines so that they may display your website to relevant queries as well as create a seamless user experience for searchers once they are on your website.
Search engines send out crawlers that relay data from your website back to their servers where their algorithm determines your website’s ranking. An important part of SEO is making sure that your website is able to communicate with these crawlers, who are, despite advances in artificial intelligence, robots.
These crawlers can often miss visual aspects such as images if not given an accurate meta description in a website’s coding.
Communicating to search engines and creating a seamless user experience often overlap. There are four things that contribute to the fundamentals of SEO in marketing:
- Structural soundness: Is your website full of broken pages? Do your pages load quickly?
- Usability: If structurally sound, is the site easy to use? Is it easy to get around? Do people stick around for long; what is the bounce rate?
- Content: Is your website useful? How often do you post content? Is the content valuable and shareable? Does your content have relevant text, titles and descriptions? Does your coding communicate this to search engine crawlers?
- Authority: Do people link to your website? Are people talking about you on social media? Search engines will often index websites quicker if its content is being shared on social media. The more people that use your website as a credible source for information, the more links your site accumulates, improving your SERP position.
Types of SEO
There are two different approaches to SEO in marketing. One that acknowledges the long-term aspect of SEO, and another that disregards and exploits it. Two hats denote the approaches:
- White hat: This is an approach that takes advantage of techniques such as: high quality content development, website HTML optimization and restructuring, link acquisition campaigns supported by the content developed, and manual research and outreach for links. White hat SEO focuses on steady, gradual and lasting growth in the SERP rankings.
- Black hat: This approach may exploit: link spamming, keyword stuffed content, multitudes of pointless articles, cloaking of websites, hidden text and links. Black hat SEO looks to make quick, unpredictable growth in SERP rankings. Often, this growth is short lasting as search engines are able to distinguish what is authentic and valuable, and what is not.
PPC & SEO
Neglecting SEO can negatively influence PPC campaigns.
For example, poor page loading times and improper heading structures can reduce PPC conversion rates. So it is in both the interest of our clients and us to address SEO. Perhaps most important is the understanding that PPC can inform and improve SEO, and SEO can do the same for PPC; that they’re not singular marketing solutions, but powerful pieces of the online marketing powerhouse puzzle.
For example, we can test meta descriptions in your PPC ad copy to test for the highest conversion rates, using PPC to improve SEO. On the other hand, long tail terms that appear in the content you use for SEO can make fantastic PPC keywords.
A business should never rely solely on SEO for its marketing because search engine algorithms are always changing, and any one of the often daily changes can impact a website’s ranking negatively. A single change might put a business’s online traffic in jeopardy.
As well as changing algorithms, it is incredibly difficult to be in the top rankings for every keyword relevant to your business.
PPC can fill in the gaps where you don’t rank organically for specific keywords. This is why PPC is just as important as SEO for maintaining a consistent online marketing presence: when your SEO fails, your PPC ads are there to pick up the slack.
Finally, a Bing Ads study on brand terms shows that by having both PPC and SEO marketing strategies in place, a business can see an increase of 31% in clicks to their website.
The next step is understanding the time investment that a SEO strategy requires. Implementing SEO best practices on a website can often take months. In addition, even after these practices have been implemented, they have to be maintained and monitored. It can take anywhere from 3 months to a year plus for positive results to surface.
Misleading information might have a business believing that SEO in marketing is low-cost.
Although SEO looks to accumulate free clicks, the time investment required to set up the foundations for these clicks can be expensive. A SEO strategy that produces positive, authentic results, will not be cheap.
High quality content, thorough audits, website restructuring, and continuous monitoring are all tasks that require both creative and technical skills that often cannot be found in the same person.
You may need to hire several people on an ongoing basis to create an effective SEO strategy. This is why SEO is often not the best option for businesses that have just entered the online world. Resources for these types of businesses will likely be spent more efficiently on paid PPC advertisements that will jumpstart website traffic.
This difference in financial efficiency speaks to the long-term nature of SEO. A beginning business may not know how long it will be around, and may want to capitalize on the present with PPC before dedicating too many resources to SEO.
At the same time, PPC can work together with SEO in a long-term manner. PPC gives you access to valuable keyword data that you can use to optimize your website’s content for relevancy. PPC can also be used to promote your high-quality content that is released on a regular basis. Where SEO results are often delayed, PPC results are instantaneous.
We believe that SEO and PPC are crucial to online marketing success. Neglecting one can drastically reduce the potential of your business. As PPC experts, we can demonstrate the value of an effective PPC campaign, but our clients will often find us suggesting improvements that improve both SEO and PPC.
If you still have questions about how SEO and PPC work together, or would like an audit of your PPC campaigns, contact us for a free PPC consultation.