Over the years you’ve probably heard search engine optimization and other Internet marketers refer to pay per click advertising as an SEO tool. It is, of course, its own form of marketing and whether or not you use it as an SEO tool has no bearing on the effectiveness of it as marketing tool. But even I have referred to PPC as an SEO tool on several occasions. But to what extent? First, but not foremost, PPC can be used as keyword research. It can be used to discover new keywords to target for your SEO campaigns and it can also be used to test keywords for your SEO campaigns.
On discovery, let’s say you have your list of keywords and you design a PPC campaign around a tight grouping of keywords. You type in your primary keyword for the campaign into the Google PPC Keyword Research tool and the tool returns to you a list of related keywords. It is quite likely, especially if you have not conducted a thorough keyword research in the first place, that you’ll find keywords on that list that you have not explored.
Then there’s the testing aspect of keyword research. If you take your lis of keywords you can devise PPC campaigns around those keywords to find out which ones have the highest CTR – click through rate. By determining CTRs for your keywords you are effectively testing them to see which ones are capable of the greatest returns. You can then take your high-CTR keywords and devise SEO campaigns around them. Beyond the keyword research component of PPC as SEO, there are also opportunities for you to engage your audience with PPC and SEO simultaneously. This is where PPC can itself be a kind of SEO aside from your SEO campaigns. If you target the same keywords in your PPC campaigns that you target in your SEO campaigns then you increase your overall marketing effectiveness.
It is a known fact that 80% of searchers click the organic listings more than the PPC. But if you focus your PPC efforts on those 20% that click the PPC ads then you are missing out. When a searcher sees a PPC ad for the same URL as a related organic listing sitting next to it then that itself makes the organic listing more desirable to click on for the searcher. It adds a level of credibility that an organic listing alone doesn’t have. Advertisers who use PPC in conjunction with strong SEO campaigns see their organic listings receive more click throughs overall. And that’s where PPC can best be used as an adjunct SEO tool.