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SEO v PPC - what should I focus on right now?

SEO v PPC: what should I focus on?

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SEO v PPC - what should I focus on right now?
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SEO v PPC: what should I focus on?

SEO v PPC… Which is more important? Ok, actually this is a trick question. You should always have your SEO strategy at the forefront of your marketing activities.

Writing a blog? Consult your keywords and web queries.

Planning some campaigns? Again, look at your keywords.

And yet many of us think of SEO as an afterthought. Or something to fix once in a while, like when your website is redesigned.

This chart from SEMrush is just great. Look at it. It makes it all so simple, right? You can see that while you’ll get quicker, punchier results from running a PPC campaign, working on your PR or keeping an active social media presence, creating regular content that’s informed by a tight SEO strategy is the MVP. It’s the long game sure, but it works.

marketing channels effectiveness over timeSEO is the central nervous system of your website

Think of it like this: without a strong SEO strategy, your website won’t function properly. Sure, it might look nice and you might get the odd bit of traffic. But you might not convert as many leads. You almost definitely won’t be reaching your full potential.

There’s plenty to get your teeth into here. It’s a never ending job in fact. And it’s not just about keyword identification. Oh boy, there’s a LOT of work that goes into your SEO strategy.

SEO can be split into three key areas: on-page, off-page and technical. Some of these tasks will require experts in the field, whereas others you can learn as you go.

You can have a look at our more in-depth SEO best practice guide here. It’ll help you plan your strategy, identify what you need to focus on and hopefully answer your burning questions about SEO.

That said, SEO is just one part of your marketing ecosystem. You can’t just expect to generate leads and convert to customers from SEO alone. Each channel feeds into the bigger picture.

PPC is the cosmetic, go-getting personality!

While we’re still on the body analogy boat, consider PPC like an injection of confidence. It might turn heads, but it needs the groundwork of an optimised website with compelling content to stop traffic.

PPC is an ideal way to bolster your marketing qualified leads (MQLs) by driving more engaged traffic to your website. These spikes in traffic will depend on your campaigns budget, length, quality etc.

However, your campaigns success also relies on the set up of your campaign being done properly. There are demographics to target. Keywords to research and select. Making sure your creative and landing page are both optimised.

In fact, a lot goes into making sure your PPC campaigns are a success. You can read all about best practice for PPC here.

SEO v PPC: A good old fashioned list of pros and cons

Because who doesn’t love a list? And this one’s another belter from SEMrush.

SEO v PPC: pros and cons of each channel

As mentioned at the beginning of this blog, it really depends on what you’ve already been doing. If you’ve laid the groundwork for your website with an excellent SEO strategy and all the green ticks are in place, it’s time to go nuts with PPC. If not, you’re never too late. And if it’s really not your bag, luckily it’s ours.

Next steps…

If this means you’re ready to start running PPC campaigns, your next steps are coming up.

Before we begin, it’s absolutely crucial you’ve got your customer personas in order. While some marketers are satisfied to go ahead without, we at DPC+UP really believe they’re an essential part of the best practice process. After all, if you don’t know who you’re talking to, how can you tailor your campaign to speak to them?

If you choose to work with a digital marketing agency like us, we do the “hard work” identifying the best channels. To achieve this, we look at the following factors of your target audience:
The sites they use
What media they consume
What motivates them to convert

Personas in place, here’s your checklist of what to consider:

#1 What do you want to achieve?

We are firm believers that you must start with your goals before you can plan your campaign. It just makes sense.

#2 What channels are best for you

Once you’ve established your goals and you have researched where your personas “hang out”, it’s time to identify the best channels for your campaign. PPC isn’t restricted to Google, y’know:

  • YouTube
  • Facebook (and Instagram!)
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Bing

And those are just the well known ones!

#3 What formats lend themselves best to your campaign?

There’s so much to consider. Will you take advantage of multichannel, multimedia campaigns, or will you keep things simple? A PPC specialist will be able to help make recommendations for what formats to incorporate into your campaign. But to give you a toppling idea of what’s available, there’s:

You can read about what they are and when to use them here.

#4 Campaign essentials

While the devil is in the detail, let’s keep things concise here. The next five factors of your campaign will be the cornerstone of its success:

  • Keywords
  • Landing page quality
  • Creative (both visuals and ad copy)
  • Quality score (Google grades this based on your ads relevance, CTR and UX on your landing page)
  • Split ad groups

Don’t have the resource?

Whether its time or expertise you’re running short on, that’s what we’re here for. We pride ourselves on being a friendly extension of your team, rather than a pretentious agency that makes everyone feel inadequate.

If you’re considering your next steps, leave us your details and we’ll be in touch to help. Whether its your SEO strategy, helping run your PPC campaigns or anything else within the digital marketing realm.

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The ideal marketing eco-system to bolster your success

The ideal marketing ecosystem to bolster your success

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The ideal marketing eco-system to bolster your success
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The ideal marketing ecosystem to bolster your success

As an agency, our clients often ask us what should I focus my marketing efforts on? As predicted, the answer is not as clear cut as that. It depends heavily on what you’re already doing, what’s working out well and where you need to plug the gaps.

An ecosystem for marketing, you say?

There absolutely is a marketing ecosystem. You need to nurture ground-level work before you can ascend to tall forests… Or something similar. It’s about getting the balance right. Mastering some basics. Walk before you can run type of stuff. But what does that even mean?

Marketing Qualified Leads = Sales Qualified Leads

Most of us are familiar with sales funnels, but what about the marketing channels that power the leads through them. This great diagram from The Marketing Blender simplifies the process into two stages: marketing qualified leads (MQLs) and sales qualified leads (SQLs), and the content silos that are most effective at driving success.

marketing qualified leads > sales qualified leads

Let’s get planning!

When your website was built, chances are you worked on a user journey through the content. But over time this can become cluttered and need a bit of TLC. If your website is particularly old, you might want to consider refreshing it to bolster your lead generation and nurture processes.

MQLs need to be directed to your website before they can qualify as SQLs. But we’d urge you to work backwards on this process.

#1 Identify your service clusters

Of course you know what you sell, but have you identified the product/service clusters? There are likely to be areas that fit into groups. For example, our clusters are: web, digital and creative.

Once you’ve identified these, it’s time to work through your website. And essentially tag the pages that are most relevant to each.

#2 Journey planning

So you know your service clusters, and you’ve tagged your pages to fit into each. It’s now time to think about the content journey:

  • Intrigue (blogs, videos, hints and tips)
  • Discover (whitepapers, guides, resources)
  • Consider (product features, case studies)
  • Decide (pricing, demos, sales interactions)

You can read more about the content structure for lead nurture processes in depth here.

#3 Is your content up to scratch?

Analyse your pages and look at your conversion and bounce rates. How are those stats in particular looking? Chances are, if your conversion rate is low, and your bounce rate high, you need to address the content. Working with a UX specialist and content marketing specialist may help you identify what needs to change.

#4 Are you ready to start driving traffic?

If you’re happy with your service clusters, content mapping and journey plans, you’re ready to begin. If you’re not happy with these, don’t worry – we can help!

What are my options?

Once you’ve ticked everything off the list above, it’s time to start looking at your options to drive leads:

SEO is the foundation of your website, so this should always be high up on your list of priorities. Along with fresh content, it provides consistent, long-term results.

Social media and press releases will feed into your traffic, bolstering your efforts consistently, provided you maintain an active presence. You’ll need to identify a strategy behind these in order to get the best success.

Lastly, PPC will likely give you the quickest results. That said, you must be sure that you’ve set up your ads correctly, otherwise it’ll fall flat.

marketing channels effectiveness over time

How should I prioritise these?

Your marketing ecosystem needs strong roots to weather storms. It also needs a strong base in order for you to fully optimise it to reach your nirvana state.

  • Content & SEO are the key drivers, without these, your campaigns are gutless.
  • Social media (and PR to an extent) only work if you sustain the input. It’s no good to be super active for a month and then let it all go. You need to build trust, reliability and consistency.
  • PPC is great when you need a boost. So long as you have a goal in mind, you’re golden. But you’ll need quality content to get more bang for your buck. Remember, Google assigns a quality score to campaigns. This is based on the relevance of your ads keywords, the landing page content and user experience (e.g. bounce rates and conversions).

But wait, there’s more!

Oh, there’s always more. This diagram helps break down the activities even further. Once you’ve mastered the basics, consider this checklist as the next steps:

marketing ecosystem: seo, content, social media, targetted

I don’t have the time!

It’s a delicate balance making sure that your marketing ecosystem is optimised for success. Yet most of us are time poor when it comes to starting additional projects at the moment. Whether it’s additional resource or expertise, we’ve got you covered. Working with a digital marketing agency need not feel like you’re treading on anyone’s toes or replacing anyone. We like to think of ourselves as an extension of your team.

Have a chat with us to see how and where we can help you achieve marketing excellence.

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An introduction to PPC best practice

A best practice introduction to PPC

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An introduction to PPC best practice
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A best practice introduction to PPC

When you think of PPC (pay per click), I’ll bet you’re thinking about Google. But PPC covers so many more channels than Google Ads, here are some other popular platforms you can also run campaigns from:

  1. YouTube Ads
  2. Facebook Ads
  3. Linkedin Ads
  4. Twitters Ads
  5. Bing Ads
  6. Bidvertiser
  7. RevContent
  8. AdRoll
  9. BuySellAds
  10. advertise.com

So why Google when there are so many options out there? Because it’s the most popular search engine, so much so, it’s become a brand verb: “let me Google that”. We even tend to focus around Google’s best practices when looking at SEO. And as a result of this, it delivers an insane amount of traffic, therefore delivering more impressions and clicks than any other.

Search engine advertising is one of the most popular forms of PPC. It allows advertisers to bid for ad placement in a search engine’s sponsored links when someone searches on a keyword that is related to their business offering.

So, what is it and why use it?

Even if you’re relatively new to marketing, you’ll more than likely be aware that PPC campaigns are drivers of web traffic. One of the key things to know is that your campaign is only as good as the website/landing page you’re driving your prospects to. There’s no point in spending time and money on the ad itself if the page is irrelevant and boring.

There are different types of campaigns you can run, each with their own purposes and merits when used correctly:

  1. YouTube
  2. Search
  3. Display
  4. Social media
  5. Remarketing
  6. Google Shopping

Let’s explore what and when to use these:

YouTube

Did you know that YouTube is the 2nd most used search engine (beaten only by Google)? Think about it. It’s heaven for a breadth of activities, from tutorials to wild conspiracy theory rabbit holes that you fall down when you can’t sleep. And the fact it’s owned by Google means videos hosted here are optimised to appear in search.

You can run paid campaigns (pre-roll etc.) through Google Ads too, so it’s definitely worth considering.

Search

These are the ads you’ll see at the top of the search engine. They’re simple text ads, labelled clearly, and look like a standard search result, example here:

These ads are targeted based on keywords (search terms or phrases). It’s the most popular form of PPC due to how effective it is. Not only this but the positioning is favourable as it can bump above the top organically ranked pages for that search.

Display

Display ads are similar to search, but are visual with a little more targeting behind them. Because of this, you can create highly targeted segments, with your ad placed in relevant spaces all over the internet. It’s ideal for increasing brand awareness, as you can utilise visuals as well as text.

Example of a display PPC ad

Social ads

Take advantage of the wealth of data social media channels collect on their users! You don’t even need a highly active, wildly successful social media presence to run these ads, just a business account. There are many different ad types you can run, with the emphasis being on visuals – so it’s important you get that right. You can read more about social media advertising here.

Remarketing

Ever looked at a pair of shoes, only to find them following you around the internet? That’s what a remarketing campaign is. This type of PPC can be really effective when targeting people who have already shown intent on your website by clicking around but haven’t completed an action. You also have the option to create a series of ads that will change over time, known as sequential remarketing.

Example of a remarketing PPC ad

Google shopping

As the name suggests, Google will show product links to e-commerce websites that are running ads, like this:

Google shopping PPC example

Top 5 best practice tips

Ultimately, the key areas to maximising the success of your campaign will come down to these five factors (as well as proper set up of your ad accounts):

#1 Keywords: make sure you have created a solid list of relevant keywords for your campaigns, tight keyword groups and strong ad text that incorporates them.

#2 Landing page quality: Your landing page should be optimised for your campaign, across devices and contain relevant content with a clear call to action. Make sure it’s targeted to the search query and your audience persona!

#3 Creative: It goes without saying that powerful creative will win over something cobbled together. While you don’t need to be a graphic designer, it is handy to know one.

#4 Quality score: Google grades your ad content and its relevance, based on your CTR and landing page experience. The higher your score, the lower you’ll pay for your clicks (and in theory, you’ll also get more conversions).

#5 Split Ad Groups: create smaller, relevant segments for your ad groups so that you can optimise your ad content and landing pages. This will help improve CTR and in turn, your quality score.

Let’s get back to keywords

It’s fair to say, keywords are the main driver for all PPC campaigns, regardless of the type.

An effective keyword list should be:

Relevant: this is obvious, otherwise you won’t get the conversions you want. If you search for dog food and are served up shoes, you’re wasting your money. Plus it’ll negatively impact your quality score.

Exhaustive: in addition to the most popular keywords, make sure you also cover the more niche ones. Think about long tail keywords too (these tend to be a full query rather than a keyword). These can actually make up the majority of traffic from search, and as they’re less competitive (due to being more specific), they’re often less expensive).

What is a longtail keyword?

Thorough: A good PPC campaign isn’t set and forget, it’s one that evolves. As you monitor your results, optimise!

Contain negative keywords: reduce waste with negative keywords. These act as a filter so you can remove similar but irrelevant searches.

KPIs for PPC

You can read about these in depth on our blog about setting realistic KPIs for your digital marketing, but in summary, you’ll want to cover:

  • Clicks
  • Click through rate (CTR)
  • Quality score
  • Cost per click (CPC)
  • Cost per conversion/acquisition (CPA)
  • Conversion rate (CVR)
  • Average position

Summary

As you’ll see, PPC is so much more than Google ads. And while this blog barely scratches the surface, hopefully it has helped bolster your understanding of what PPC is, best practice tips and the KPIs used to measure the success of your campaigns.

Keep in mind, PPC works best as part of a digital marketing ecosystem. Ideally making sure you are on top of your SEO game and have some kind of regular email marketing (or marketing automation) program in place.

If PPC campaigns are something you’d love to try, but simply don’t have the time or expertise to do it yourself, leave your details below and we will be in touch to help you!

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