SEO & Google Ads – The Perfect Pairing?

SEO & Google Ads – The Perfect Pairing?

Cheese and wine, cheese and pickle, cheese and crackers… some things just go together.

But for some reason when it comes to search engine optimisation and Google ads, some marketers see it as a choice as polarising as the notion of chocolate-covered cheese (sidenote – we still probably would).

Maybe it’s because they have a favourite? Perhaps it’s a misguided notion that one cannibalises the other, or *whispers* it’s because they only know how to do one of them really well so try to steer you in a specific direction.

However, the reality is that with a joined-up strategy Google ads and SEO are a pairing as perfect as our personal favourite… cheese on toast.

Getting to the top of search engines

For many businesses, being the first result someone sees when they type in a search term relating to the services they offer is the ultimate goal. And it’s easy to see why… here are some “fun facts” for you.

  • The top three Google search results get 54% of all clicks (Backlinko)
  • 75% of people never scroll past the first page of search engines (Intergrowth)
  • 89% of B2B researchers gather information about potential purchases online, and 97% of consumers research a company via the internet (Google)

While these and countless other statistics show that showing up on Google is a major objective for most businesses when it comes to the “how” things start to get a little murkier.

SEO is about putting the work in to gain the top spot “organically”. This means you will appear without paying for your ads. There are various ways in which you may want to appear organically – for example in map pack rankings if you service a specific area or on certain “features” such as video carousels or “knowledge panels”.

Google search ads instead offer the opportunity to pay to appear at the top of the search page, paying only when someone clicks on your advert. You enter an auction against other advertisers setting (or allow Google to set) your maximum bid for specific keywords.

Sounds straightforward you appear organically, or you pay right? Well, it’s not that simple.

Generally speaking, most businesses will have a wide range of keywords that are relevant to their business. They may offer several services – all with variations on how people will search. Let’s take an accountancy practice as an example:

They provide several basic services – corporate tax returns, personal tax returns, bookkeeping and VAT returns.

A potential customer may search in a few ways.

They may be interested in location so will search “accountant near me”

They may want someone who specialises in their business area so may search “accountant for a marketing agency”

They could be interested in only one service “find a bookkeeper”.

And that’s before we consider keywords for those who are earlier in their journey…

“How much does an accountant cost”?

“How does VAT work”

“Should I set up a limited company or be a sole trader”

All of those search terms are valid for our fictious accountant – but not all of them are worth paying heard earned pennies in Google ads for, and without lots of work, it’s impossible to rank for all of them organically.

And this is why combining your SEO and Google ads strategies works so well.

Google ads get you data quickly

If you’re new to SEO or looking to rank for a new service, using Google ads to suss out what keywords are likely to convert for you can be a fast(ish) way to test out your keywords. Optimising for organic search can take a lot of time and a lot of effort, so paying to test out whether your keywords will convert into customers can drive efficiency – rather than spending a lot of time (and potentially money) on optimising for a dud.

However, it’s often the case that the most coveted keywords are also the most expensive on Google ads, so it’s important to choose wisely.

Building top of funnel with SEO

When it comes to paying for clicks, unless budgets are endless, it’s worth honing paid ads to keywords that are likely to convert to customers. However, for organic search, you can get a little more creative.

Getting visitors onto your website who perhaps aren’t yet ready to commit but are likely to be in your target audience holds several benefits. It builds your brand – making them more likely to remember you when they are in a position to buy. You can often retarget website visitors in other marketing campaigns. You may even offer freebies or lead magnets to get them on your mailing list – paving the way for email marketing.

Most searches on Google are made up of at least four words, but when people want really specific answers, they use longer terms. Going back to our accountant they may want to target potential customers with content that answers questions that they may have early on in the decision-making process, or very specific content tailored to their audience.

For example:

“How does paying VAT on advertising work”

“What will the increase in corporation tax mean for UK businesses”

“What can a cab driver claim for expenses on their tax return”

While you may not want to pay to answer these types of queries, well optimised content can help you to drive traffic to your website organically for these “long tail” terms.

If you don’t bid – someone else might

Some businesses assume that, as they are already on top of their game, then why bother advertising? Well, if you don’t bid on your brand – it’s likely someone else will (this can happen with ads unintentionally too).

What this means in practice is that if “Fictitious Accountants & Co” is typed into Google, but “Real accountants LLP” is bidding on the keywords “Fictitious Accountants” their brand will show in ads ahead of the real deal.

While bidding on competitor brands can be a controversial strategy – often due to the way google ads works, competitors don’t’ even do it on purpose Find out more about bidding on competitors’ branded search here.

Get your strategies straight

The beauty of combining Google advertising with SEO is that you get a full 360 overview of what keywords convert for your business. By blending a mixture of the two you can target audiences at every stage of their purchasing decision.

Want to learn more about how SEO and ads can work together or want to consolidate the two in your organisation? Then get in touch.

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