How to Turn Your Website’s Ghost Visitors Into Qualified Leads

Generating traffic is only part of the problem for businesses looking to drive sales and put their brand on the map. Turning ghost visitors into actual leads is the second obstacle to overcome. With lead generation vital for forward-thinking companies, Head of Marketing at Lead Forensics, Jamie Richards, shares his tips to convert web visitors into customers. In this guide, Jamie will discuss the critical considerations for business owners on a mission to generate more leads and boost web conversion rates. 

How does discovering your unseen website visitors accelerate growth?

Data is incredibly precious for businesses looking to capitalize on web users’ popularity and turn more ghost visitors into high-quality leads. Many B2B leaders are unaware of their business website’s power and potential to unlock opportunities to facilitate sales directly from the website. Using a potent blend of data analysis and technology, business owners can discover a raft of useful information, which can be used to shape future strategies and create opportunities to increase revenues. 

An IP address on its own doesn’t provide a tremendous amount of information, but if you utilize reverse IP tracking technology with a matched database, suddenly, you have access to all the names of business clients visiting your website. These names were hidden previously. Once you know who is visiting your website, you immediately have leads at the funnel’s top, and you can set about trying to capitalize on emerging revenue opportunities. By turning a ghost visitor into an actionable lead, you can improve ROI for each campaign. Also, having access to enriched data, including site analytics, on-site user behavior, firmographic data, and critical decision-makers’ contact details, you can gain a more in-depth insight into visitors, which will speed up movement in the funnel and maximize the chances of lead conversion. 

PPC and SEO for Small Businesses 

The importance of a website that delivers cannot be underestimated in a digitally-driven B2B world. It’s crucial that clients and prospects can find your site easily, so digital tactics such as Pay-Per-Click (PPC) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) play an essential role. The higher the search engine ranking, the better the position on the search engine results page.

For business owners that don’t have digital marketing expertise or access to an in-house team of SEO experts, it’s wise to seek professional advice. Expenditure on Google AdWords, Bing and social media ads often form a large part of your strategy. 

Effectively, this means you’re then paying for website traffic to go to a particular landing page. If the visitors fail to convert, it’s not only the loss of an engaged lead you can no longer see, but also a missed opportunity. Using Lead Forensics, you can recapture those leads and see real return on investment. 

Recapturing Lost Leads

Thousands of leads are lost each month, so how do you recapture them and increase customer numbers? Most B2B marketers wait for their visitors to make the first move, but what happens if they don’t choose to get in touch or place an order if they don’t respond immediately to your high-end, engaging campaign? If there’s no interaction, how would you know that a visitor was even on your site, and more importantly, how can you turn a one-time visitor into a customer? 

Try employing reverse IP tracking rather than relying solely on Google Analytics tools, removing IP data. With this technique, businesses can see who has visited their site and gain access to extra information, which increases the value of the lead and provides genuine opportunities to recapture unconverted leads in real-time. – Read more

5 Ways to Find Out What’s Wrong With Your SEO – And 3 Ways to Fix It

Are you attracting visitors to your website despite your digital marketing campaign? If not, there’s something seriously wrong with your strategies, particularly your search engine optimization (SEO). It is essential to do a regular SEO test or analysis to monitor the performance of your campaign.

Conducting a regular SEO assessment allows you to discover the fine points and flaws of your SEO campaign and make the necessary adjustments to optimize results. The upside is clear: with proper working SEO, you can attract valuable site traffic and potential leads. This article will discuss the common SEO mistakes you might incur, how to conduct an SEO analysis, and how to improve your SEO performance.

What Are the Common SEO Mistakes to Avoid

SEO is one of the most effective digital marketing strategies to boost your sales. Becoming updated with the latest SEO optimization strategies will maximize the performance of your website. Here are some common SEO missteps you should avoid to ensure the effectiveness of your SEO campaign:

  • Practicing keyword stuffing – You might think that using your keywords a lot will boost your content’s rankings by Google and other search engines. However, it could be the opposite as too much keyword use or overstuffing will make your content spammy. If your content is labeled as spam, it will become useless and will hurt your SEO campaign.

    To avoid this label, use your keywords naturally at strategic placements. The best practice is to use your keyword in the first 100 words and include latent semantic indexing (LSI) keywords or variations of your main keyword throughout your content.
  • Posting plagiarized or non-original content – Using plagiarized or copied content on your website will make it a ‘pariah’ to search engines. Invest in producing original and valuable content to improve the performance of your website. Make sure to post relevant, informational, and error-free content to build the reputation of your site.
  • Failure to invest in a mobile-friendly website – The majority of Internet users nowadays use their mobile devices to access and consume content. In the United States, 94% of people use their smartphones to search for local news or information. Your rating on search engines will be severely affected if you fail to make your website mobile-friendly. To avoid a possible drop in your ranking, test if your website is mobile-compatible.
  • Using the wrong keywords – The wrong choice of keywords will leave your content at the bottom of search engine rankings. Even if your content is top-notch, if you fail to use the keywords preferred by users and search engines, it will be useless.

    To make sure you are using the right keywords, use optimization tools like SEMrush, Google Trends, and Google AdWords Keyword Planner. It would be best to use different types of keywords to increase the ranking of your content. These types are broad keywords, long-tail keywords, fat head keywords, and chunky middle keywords.
  • Failure to use title tags, image tags, and meta-descriptions – These SEO elements are important to search engines when crawling for content. Failing to include these essential components will hurt the researchability of your content.
  • Linking to low quality or unrelated internal and external links – Your use of internal and external links also affects the performance of your content’s SEO. Make sure your internal links are related to your content. Also, use reputable and well-ranking websites as external links.
  • Unwillingness to leverage social influencers to share your content – When sharing your content on social media, you should consider leveraging social influencers to promote it. Having an influencer to share your content will gain instant attention, while having them to promote your content will increase its visibility to the search engines.

    The many benefits of leveraging influencers to build your relationships and conduct structured outreach make this a must in your optimization plan.
  • Lack of SEO performance analytics and monitoring – Failure to analyze your content’s performance will leave you in the dark about how your SEO campaign performs. You may use tools like Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics to regularly monitor and evaluate your SEO campaign.
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5 Steps in Conducting an SEO Analysis

An SEO assessment is a vital part of your SEO strategy to boost your website content’s ranking potential in search engine results pages (SERP). This process will allow you to identify what’s working and what’s causing your content’s failure to rise. Let’s discuss the steps you should take to find out your website’s flaws:

  1. Investigate your visibility on search engines like Google – Start your analysis by determining your content’s SERP performance and the overall visibility of your website on search engines. Having a clear view of where your website sits on the rankings will allow you to develop an optimization plan.

    In calculating your search visibility, collect all the rankings of your keywords and compute the estimated click-through-rate (CTR) based on each ranking. Add all the CTRs and divide the total by the number of your keywords. The higher the result, the better is your website’s position in the Google rankings.
  2. Analyze your content – Your content is an essential component of your content marketing strategy. Make sure you have no duplicate content by eliminating every duplicate you found immediately. Start your analysis with your top ranked pages.

    There are several things to check in your content. Make sure your URLs are around four to five words long, and your meta-descriptions contain your primary keyword. Ensure your titles and headings are relevant and attention-grabbing and should also contain your keyword.

    Check the quality of your backlinks or external links. Try to link your content to ranking and trustworthy websites to increase your site’s reputation. Your internal links should also be relevant to your content. Make sure to fix any broken link to improve user experience and avoid its negative effects on your SEO.
  3. Check your domain, images, and technical SEO – To improve your SEO, use a simple, short, and easy to remember domain name that reflects your brand or business. Don’t use hyphens and special characters. To optimize your images, use alt tags and include keywords in your brief descriptions. Also, compress your images for faster loading of your content.

    Your technical SEO also affects the visibility of your website. Some of the technical components you should check are your XML sitemap, robots.txt file, and website security. You may buy a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate to boost your security. – Read more

Leveraging Voice Search for Local Businesses

My Post (18).pngEach year, voice search increasingly becomes a more dominant force to reckon with. 20% of the global online population is already using voice search, and 58% of voice users employ it to run a local business search.

Last year, we undertook a study that focused on uncovering factors that influence voice search rankings in 2019. This year, as search results vary depending on location-specific queries, we decided to check how questions about local businesses and services alter the voice search results.

The 2020 study provides unique insights into the search algorithms that are behind various voice assistants to help businesses leverage the power of voice search.

About the 2020 Voice Search for Local Businesses Study

As voice search expands, the market keeps introducing more and more virtual assistants. If the previous year’s study focused exclusively on Google devices, this year we’ve added Siri and Alexa to cover almost 100% of the voice assistants market:

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To run the study, we employed the following devices:

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The main goal of the study was to understand how different voice assistants compare to one another when it comes to returning local results and to uncover the algorithms behind them:

  • By comparing all voice assistants in regards to basic parameters like answer length and number of questions they are able/unable to answer.
  • By analyzing factors that affect how voice assistants choose what local results to return.

Key Takeaways From the Study

There are a few key insights we’d like local businesses to take away from our findings to integrate them into their overall SEO and marketing strategies:

  • Google Assistant, Siri, and Alexa take up comparable market share, so businesses should aim to adapt to all three assistants whose algorithms are drastically different.
  • The average answer length for all analyzed assistants is 23 words, and Google Assistant devices return the longest answers, at 41 words.
  • Alexa cannot return results for each fourth question, implying that this is mainly a home-based device that understands voice commands but is not intended for running search queries.
  • With Google-run devices, businesses can apply the “regular” local SEO logic by polishing their Local Pack presence and tweaking their content to match the more natural language of voice search queries.
  • To be present among Apple’s Siri replies, businesses have to aim for higher Yelp ratings and more positive customer reviews. Having a 4.5/5 Yelp rating with the biggest number of reviews will turn any business into the most popular local spot in Siri’s eyes.

Comparing Various Voice Assistants

Now, diving deeper into the findings, we will reveal the specificities of different voice assistants and uncover how they choose to return certain results over others.

1. What’s the Average Answer Length?

The average answer length returned by a voice assistant for a local-intent query is 23 words:

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With Google devices, the presence of a screen explains the difference in word count – the Google Home/Mini’s average answer length is 3.7X of the Home Hub.

2. Do Various Google Assistants Give the Same Answers?

Google assistants do not return the same results despite having similar algorithms. The average answer match between Google Assistants stands at a mere 22% across all devices.

  • Despite the difference in the nature of the devices, the Google Home Hub and Android phone have the highest percentage of matching results at 66%.
  • Only 0.33% of the answers match between the Google Home Mini and Android phone, despite the high match between the phone and Google Home Hub.

3. The Similarity of Answers Between Google Assistants

As Google Assistant devices run on similar algorithms, namely Google search, they essentially return the same answers, using different wording.

The main reason why we see any differences has to do with screen presence/absence. A screenless device typically returns a more detailed answer, whereas those with a screen often answer with ‘Here’s what I’ve found…’ or similar, and display the information on the screen.

4. How Many Queries Voice Assistants Couldn’t Answer

Our research confirms that voice assistants are getting better at understanding users.

The average percentage of questions that are unable to be answered across all devices is just 6.3%. This is a positive trend, as Forrester’s study suggested that, just over a year ago, this figure was as high as 35%.

Of the six devices we analyzed, five of them struggled to answer only five or fewer questions out of every hundred asked, whereas Alexa struggled to answer almost one in four. – Read more

How to Get Your SEO and PPC Teams on the Same Page

My Post (8).pngYou wouldn’t hire a brain surgeon to treat your heart condition. Different conditions require different specialists. It’s the same for search engine marketing. SEO has a role. PPC has a role. And, like holistic medicine, they work best when tightly integrated.

Easier said than done. Too often, marketers find themselves managing multiple agencies or internal teams, each of which is trying to accomplish their goals. The result is an inefficient, ineffective strategy.

Deeply integrated teams, in contrast, deliver:

  • Streamlined communication across multiple teams, allowing you to play the role of air traffic controller rather than carrier pigeon.
  • Clear expectations to ensure agency partners strategize effectively, with a high degree of accountability and without a self-preservation bias.

So how do you get there? Ask the following six questions to help SEO and PPC teams collaborate—and achieve better results than either could on their own.

1. Are SEO and PPC teams communicating effectively and sharing insights?

SEO and PPC teams that don’t communicate effectively (or at all) achieve less.

For example, our PPC team discovered fast-moving trends during the onset of COVID-19 for an events management company. Search volume dried up overnight for generic queries like “summer concerts in Richmond, VA,” as well as branded events that had been canceled.

Shortly thereafter, we discovered a corresponding increase in paid search queries for “things to do during quarantine in Richmond, VA.” The PPC team noticed the changes in search behavior and informed the SEO team so they could start creating relevant content to position the client ahead of the trend.

The first step is to establish communication channels between teams and set expectations about when and how to use them. Focus less on the tools (e.g., Slack vs. email) and more on the integration of existing workflows and communication paths.

In pre-COVID days, our SEO and PPC teams sat in close proximity, so conversations could naturally flow between them. Now that we’re remote, we share threaded conversations in Basecamp (our project management tool of choice) so both teams are aware of the others’ activities.

Encourage your teams to over-communicate. Response times are a critical factor to address market change; prioritize speed over formality. It may not be possible or necessary to have everybody on each phone call or impromptu discussion. We share client call notes internally (again, in Basecamp) to create a paper trail and immediately bring everybody up to speed.

Not sure who needs to be included in each conversation? I prefer the RACI model to determine who is Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed in cross-functional projects. – Read more

3 Areas of SEO to Address by the End of 2020

My Post (6).pngIt’s no lie to say that websites are constantly having to adapt to the SEO changes search engines, such as Google, make to further improve the user experiences online. However, ultimately, the core SEO has, pretty much, stayed the same: provide high quality and unique content that web users will find useful and enjoy reading. The SEO I am talking about is the ‘little’ things around the side that can help boost the high-quality content SEO.

These areas will not make or break the SEO of an article but are a catalyst for improving or declining the SEO. This means, if you have great content, it will still rank very high for certain keyword search phrases. However, if you want to get to the top spot instead of second, making sure to address the below SEO elements will really help towards the end of 2020.

 

Core Web Vitals

Core web vitals are a fairly new addition by Google to address concerns regarding page speed and user experience. They fall under three elements:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – this measures loading performance: how long does it take for the largest contentful paint to be loaded. Google states under 2.5 seconds are good, whilst 4+ seconds as poor.
  • First Input Delay (FID) – this measures interactivity: how quickly is the web page able to become interact upon being requested to load. Under 100 milliseconds is deemed good, whilst over 300 milliseconds is poor.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – this measures the web page stability: how the content moves with different parts of loading, or how responsive and stable the site is. If it is under 100 milliseconds, this is good, whilst over 250 milliseconds is poor.

Google has stated that core web vitals will influence the SEO of a website/article, but not by early 2021. For this reason, there is still plenty of time for website owners to address any concerns that your website might have with core web vitals.

How much of an impact poor core web vitals will have on a website is still yet to be seen. The general consensus of the community is that it will help an article, but it won’t ‘make or break’ an article – content will always be king for that.

 

Page speed

Related very much to core web vitals, the speed of a website has a direct impact to the SEO of it. If there are two websites with similar content, you can bet the website with a quicker page speed will rank higher.

Page speed’s SEO weighting has increased, almost in correlation with Google moving towards mobile indexing. Therefore, it is vitally important to make sure the mobile version of your website is as quick as it can be, both for SEO reasons and user experience. – Read more

 

How To Make Brand Awareness & PPC Work Together During A Pandemic

My Post (4).pngBrand awareness is crucial all-year-round, but particularly when the country has gone into lockdown. It’s like a saving grace that will keep you afloat.

But, how and where you get people talking about your brand is the real problem. You don’t want to get stuck in a routine of firing PPC ads here, there and everywhere without capturing the real essence of your brand.

It’s about making brand awareness and PPC work together so that you can drive more sales after the crisis has passed.

Here’s how.

There’s still time to get customers on-side

People are still making purchases during lockdown. If you’ve been on social media, it might seem like people are buying even more.

This is for one of two reasons:

  • People are ordering online because their friends are. Word-of-mouth says Amazon’s delivery is still fast, so it must be true.
  • Worldwide retail brands like Pretty Little Thing are everywhere you look, growing their brand awareness more than ever before.

Now, both of these are positives.

Amazon’s online presence is already so huge that word-of-mouth is strong enough to boost their sales. If you’re like them, you’re in a pretty good position.

For PLT, hosting social media giveaways and using email marketing are two powerful ways to keep customers onboard. They’re tools that have helped to build their following, create excitement around their products, and boost their sales like never before.

Using the same platforms to drive traffic to their blog? Even better.

However, it’s rare that you will see any Pretty Little Thing ads.

If you search for ‘women’s fashion clothing’ online, their brand is nowhere to be seen. They’re missing out on a huge market that might not be as active on social media as they are – but still want the type of products they offer.

In fact, even in 2014, Google found that search ads can lift awareness by an average of 6.6 percentage points.


4 actionable tips to help you overcome the pandemic

These 4 tips will help you take advantage of both brand awareness and PPC, allowing you to keep existing customers and drive new ones – even during this difficult time.

1. Be seen

This can be split into two parts:

  1. Being active on social media platforms
  2. Creating bold, keyword-driven PPC ads

To push your organic social media profile, you need to ensure you’re active and consistent at all times. This will help to build and strengthen relationships with customers, reassuring them you are easy to reach.

But, posting regular content is also essential.

This can be anything from addressing the relaxed guidelines, showcasing your products, or highlighting new and upcoming offers. You can even tweet non-branded content to engage with your audience, using tools such as Twitter’s Audience Insights to learn about who is following you.

In terms of PPC, the adverts you’re writing need to create a buzz around your brand. Use Google’s Keyword Planner to uncover data about your keywords before using them, making sure to use one’s that you regularly use to describe your brand.

As always, make sure your headlines are eye-catching, captivating and bold, using these 5 simple steps to ensure you’re doing it right.

2. Take action

As we saw at the start of the pandemic, supermarkets such as Sainsbury’s announced their plans to keep customers safe in-store. This was brought to light on social media, as well as emailed out to their customers.

For cases like these, it’s important to recognise whether PPC will be effective or not.

If your brand has an important, emotion-felt announcement to make, it makes much more sense to highlight it on social media than it does to include it in a PPC ad. Plus, people aren’t going to search for an announcement you haven’t made yet.

However, you can use PPC to capitalise from brand awareness. This will allow you to emphasise what you have already created a foundation for on social media, making it stick in your customer’s minds with more memorable, concise pieces of information.

It’s about doing what you can to make a difference, and using the right tools to create the biggest impact.

3. Understand priorities

If you want to build awareness, you need to start with trust. Luckily, there are several ways brand awareness and PPC ads help you to do this.

Here are three of them:

  • Use the right social platforms to communicate with your customers, relate to their situation and provide suitable content
  • Soften the tone of your PPC ads and make sure you incorporate the same style of writing as your socials
  • Be open and honest – your customers know you need to make sales, so pulling the wool over their eyes could turn them away completely

With these in mind, remember not to lose sight of your final goal. – Read more

8 Tools to Optimize Your Old Content for New Conversions

My Post (19).pngIs getting clicks your ultimate marketing goal?

Of course not, you want your site visitors to perform an action instead of just landing and moving on.

With informational content marketing, converting readers is not that easy. Site visitors come for answers, find them, and don’t have a reason to stick around.

An article doing well in terms of attracting (organic) traffic may still fail to make any difference to the business’s bottom line. In other words, you see clicks but few to no conversions (opt-ins, clicks through to your product page, etc.) from your content.

With informational #contentmarketing, converting readers is not that easy, says @seosmarty via @CMIContent. #SEO

What can be done?

I wrote on how to boost organic rankings of your old content. But how do you improve its conversions? Consider this process and these tools.

1. Find your higher-ranking pages

How much current traffic a page is generating is not quite a reliable metric to see what pages need updates. A better way to estimate any page potential is to look at its rankings.

The logic is simple: When a page ranks on page two, it may not get any clicks, but just a little push could take it to page one to see a huge traffic boost.

Ubersuggest is one of the best and easiest tools to identify pages with the highest potential to bring high-converting traffic. Simply type your domain and it shows:

  • Your current rankings
  • Other pages ranking for each keyword
  • Estimated traffic a page is getting when ranking No. 1 for this term

.@Ubersuggest is one of the easiest #tools to identify pages with the highest potential to bring high-converting traffic, says @seosmarty via @CMIContent. #SEO

This way you can find which keywords are worth pursuing and how tough the competition is likely to be:

In many cases, to get a page rank higher, these two shortcuts may be enough:

  • Link to it more internally (from other pages, from the sidebar, etc.).
  • Add your target keyword in the page title.

2. Set up conversion monitoring

Monitor your on-page clicks and interactions to understand your page visitors. How well you understand them determines your conversion optimization success. You need to know what they are looking for to serve them better.

How well you understand site visitors determines your conversion optimization success, says @seosmarty via @CMIContent. #SEO

Finteza is a free web analytics platform that makes conversion monitoring easy. You don’t have to set up complicated on-click events to track on-page clicks. You can simply use URL attributes that carry the names of your events:

#Finteza is a free web analytics platform that makes conversion monitoring easy, says @seosmarty via @CMIContent. #SEO #Tools

TIP: Don’t forget to name your events so you can easily identify them in the Finteza dashboard.

Once you create the events, you can build and save funnels to see how the traffic flows through your page and moves on to where you want it to: – Read more

A Complete Guide to SEM (Paid Search)

My Post (8)What is SEM?

When you buy ads on any Search Engine Result Pages to initiate a process to drive incoming website traffic, that is called SEM or Search Engine Marketing. Initially, SEMs were meant to mean any and all activities of a market variety on Search Engines, but recently it has come to mean simply paid search advertising. Remember to not confuse it with display ads, that operate using third-party websites as an alternative to search engines for delivery.

How does it work?

  1. Since advertisers want their ads to pop up when a specific keyword is typed, they select that keyword and keyphrase and add it to the algorithm.
  2. Then the advertisers have to claim how much they can bid on every click.
  3. In the event that a consumer does press the relevant keyword, a bunch of ads would display with the highest bidder’s ads coming out on top and other alternatives subsequently.
  4. If the client decides to check out the first ad, the bidder will be charged for it.

A Brief History of Search Ads

  1. 1990- Archie, the world’s numero uno search engine was developed by Alan Emtage. This was the first engine to search FTP sites which were then used to create a downloadable file index.
  2. 1994- Altavista was brought out- leading to the first site which would allow queries in national languages. It also offered unlimited bandwidth and several other features for the first time.
  3. 1994- Yahoo comes to the foray with its search engine which had its own collection of websites it favored with a description with every URL.
  4. 1996- Sergey Brin and Larry Page start-up Google- a search engine that would solely explore the relationship between two or more websites.
  5. 1997- Yahoo gets the chance to buy Google for a measly price of $1 million. They refuse on the deal, and Google as of 2020 has a valuation of over $100 billion.
  6. 1999- GoTo is formed, which becomes the first company to introduce pay-for-placement for brands to advertise.
  7. 2000- There is a dearth of online advertisers, as the search engine collapses due to the popping of the dot com bubble.
  8. 2000- Google becomes the first company to introduce ‘Adwords’, and a new feature called ‘Quality Score’ where they would rate every single website based on the price of bidding and the clickthrough rates.
  9. 2002- CPC bidding is introduced by Google which allows bidders to start bidding on maximum CPC rather than actual CPC.
  10. 2004- Google hits a share market peak of 84.7% of all search engine searches, and its valuation reaches $23.1 billion.
  11. 2005- Google Analytics is introduced which helps the advertisers to have more control over the ads they bring out.
  12. 2008- Google’s Quality Score feature is updated to allow for more changes to make sure the rankings are appropriate and relevant.
  13. 2010- Microsoft releases its own search engine called ‘Bing’. They collaborate with Yahoo to start taking control of the market from Google.
  14. 2014- Advertising on the internet keeps rising, with an increase of over 90% on mobile advertising.
  15. 2018- Google decided to rebrand the features DoubleClick and AdWords as ‘Google Ads Manager’, and ‘Google Ads’.
  16. Present Day- Search engines are continuously tinkered with to give the best possible outcome and search results for users- also making it easier for advertisers to bid and place ads.

Why SEM Works for Businesses

SEM works for businesses because it gives a brand much-needed exposure. It also provides a website with consistent traffic and views. An SEM has a large global outreach, and can also use comprehensive targeting capabilities.

Search Advertising Platforms

There are three main search advertising platforms- Yahoo, Bing, and Google. Now, you don’t have to think that these are simply competing with each other. Rather, they do complement each other- thereby taking your ads to different places, and providing multiple perspectives. – Read more

SEO vs. PPC: Are You Making the Most of Them?

My Post (20)One of the questions that are often asked of marketers is whether budgets should be allocated toward SEO or PPC or spread between both.

This is a simple question that doesn’t have a simple answer as it very much depends on a whole host of different factors, including:

  • Your goals and objectives
  • Your budget and resources
  • Your industry
  • Your current performance

But these discussions are nothing new. There has been an ongoing debate around SEO vs. PPC for many years.
Deciding where best to invest your marketing budget can be a difficult task for business owners. So, the big question is: Is it better to use pay-per-click (PPC) to buy your way to the top of the search results or should you put your efforts into an organic (SEO) strategy?

You know you can’t ignore channels that can drive traffic from the search engines, but which is the higher priority?

It depends.

To make a decision on which strategy to use, you need to understand the pros and cons of both SEO and PPC, and how they can work together to drive growth for your business. In this guide, we’ll dive deep into each of these tactics and help you to figure out which channel is right for you, specifically looking at:

  • SEO as a Growth Strategy
    • The Pros of SEO
    • The Cons of SEO
  • PPC as a Growth Strategy
    • The Pros of PPC
    • The Cons of PPC
  • SEO vs PPC – Which is Right for Your Business?
    • Choosing a Single Channel
    • Integrating SEO and PPC for Search Success
    • Retargeting
    • Run Ads and Use Data to Inform Your SEO Strategy
    • Own Brand Bidding
    • Using Shopping Ads to Target Buyers

SEO as a Growth Strategy

SEO is all about ranking on the organic (or natural) results on a search engine results page (SERP).

Run any search on Google and the organic listings are those that come after any paid ads or shopping results and are what have historically been known as 10 blue links.

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To succeed at driving increased visibility from SEO, it is important to understand how to properly optimize your website. You need to ensure that the search engines are able to crawl your site, understand your content, index it, and show that your site is a significant authority.

With more than 200 ranking factors used by Google’s Algorithm, it takes a smart marketer (or, more realistically, marketing team) to understand how to win at:

  • Technical SEO
  • On-Page SEO
  • Link Building
  • Content Marketing
  • UX
  • and so much more!

However, ranking is no simple task. The complexity of SEO (at least in comparison to other channels) and the fact that Google’s algorithm is constantly being updated means that it takes the right balance of a multitude of factors for your site to perform well.

And, according to Jason Barnard in our ‘What is SEO?’ guide:

How high in the rankings and how often you appear is merit-based; these engines will show the results they consider to be the best fit for their users.

— Jason Barnard

SEO is all about creating the best result on the web for a search query and those who are able to do that can drive significant volumes of traffic.

The Pros of SEO

But just what are the main advantages of SEO that you need to know about when figuring out where to invest your marketing budget? – Read more

How to Win the “SEO vs. PPC” Debate

My Post (2).pngBelieve it or not, some marketers are still taking sides in the “SEO vs. PPC” debate. I can understand the passion on both sides of the aisle, but I’d compare it to an argument about the need for “air vs. water.” Depending on your immediate circumstances, one may be more important than another—but both are necessary for survival.

To those passionately arguing that SEO is better than PPC, or vice versa, I propose a truce based on the potential for incremental gains when we work together.

For those seeking answers to the question, “should I invest in PPC or SEO,” buckle up—we’re about to unpack a debate that has raged for more than a decade to help you decide how to prioritize your digital marketing efforts.

Let’s start with the basics.

What is the difference between SEO and PPC?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the art and science of improving your brand’s visibility in search engine result pages (SERPs) to attract more visitors to your web properties.

It’s not limited to just web search engines, though. SEO strategies also improve your visibility in maps search results, image and video search results, shopping listings, app stores, and social media search results.

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising positions your brand in sponsored ad positions on search results pages. Advertisers have more control over the targeted keywords, audiences, and creative, but they pay for each click to their website.

Screenshot of a typical Google Ad
A search ad is most commonly found at the top of the search results.

Many marketers oversimplify the difference between SEO and PPC with a half-truth like, “SEO is free but PPC costs money.” While it’s true that clicks on organic search results don’t cost you money, there’s a good chance that your content won’t rank consistently well unless you invest in people, content, and tools to step up your SEO game. You get what you pay for.

Another misperception is that PPC has to be expensive. Sure, PPC can be pricey if you don’t put proper safeguards in place to protect your wallet. You wouldn’t just leave your debit card hanging out of an ATM, would you? No, you protect it with a PIN and withdrawal limits. Similarly, you protect your PPC spend by setting daily budgets and monitoring your campaigns for wasteful spending on irrelevant keywords.

Which channel is better at increasing revenue?

That’s a trick question. It’s both.

SEO and PPC can generate qualified traffic to your site and improve your chances of converting more visitors to customers. And surveys conducted by Google and Nielsen suggest that brands get more combined clicks on ads and organic results when both are present on a SERP. Sharing insights and integrating your paid and organic search strategies will yield more growth than focusing all of your resources on one versus the other.


How do you measure the success of an SEO strategy vs. a PPC campaign?

Start with your business objectives. In most cases, the overall aim is to increase revenue, leads, sales, or engagement. Successful SEO and PPC strategies can create measurable impacts on your business, quantified with a few key metrics at each step in the customer journey.

This is not an exhaustive list of the metrics that you can measure, but it does show the similarities and overlaps between SEO and PPC that can be exploited.

The SEO or PPC zealots can each claim superiority in some of these metrics. But savvy marketers realize that neither channel exists in a vacuum and we should focus on the contribution of each channel to shared goals.

Attribution Is the Future Present

In most cases, consumers interact with your brand multiple times before converting. And like snowflakes, no two conversion paths are the same. There are likely multiple touchpoints that must be accounted for to get a true picture of the customer journey.  – Read more