In our fast paced world of instant gratification, we can’t afford to sit around twiddling our thumbs and waiting for SEO activities to freaking finally kick in.
Over the years, SEO success has come to require much more work that is dependent on the success of other marketing channels and business functions. Not to mention, involving many more people in multiple roles than it used to: the writers, the decision makers, the social media team, the technical person, the experts who are the face of the business, PR people, etc.
When a new client comes to me today wanting better visibility and SEO results, I ask them about their competitive differentiations in order to quickly assess how fast they can get results. What I mean by competitive differentiations is, what do we have to work with that SEO will build upon? For example:
- An active blog written by industry experts? (not generic content but thought leadership quality)
- A solid PR channel that garners mentions and quality backlinks?
- A solid base of community and raving fans?
- Offline industry respect and recognition?
- The ability to make changes very quickly with both a copywriter and developer on board and in hand?
Without one, if not multiple, of these factors, SEO will take a while before it comes together. A focused direction and on-page SEO is just the start. As a search representative with Google stated, “Your SEO’s potential is only as high as the quality of your business or website.” She also emphasized this:
“In most cases, SEOs need four months to a year to help your business first implement improvements and then see potential benefit.”
Many I see mistakenly expect results right after implementation, when in fact that’s just the starting point.
What To Do Instead When You Need Quick Results for Great Keywords
Going after the terms and keywords that perfectly describe your product or service is often what takes so long. These are often more competitive (however – if you’re already known and relatively established in the market, it may not be difficult).
In many cases, you’ll get much faster results going after longtail keywords that reflect your customer is earlier on in their sales process (AKA top of the funnel). SEO works incredibly well (and often much faster) if you’re educating your audience and not going after super competitive terms. This requires the willingness to create authoritative, insightful, strategic and persuasive content on your website.
For many customers who need visibility on Page 1 for their perfect terms (sooner rather than later while they’re generating content and getting backlinks), this is where PPC shines.
The One Factor Critical to SEO/PPC: The Hunt
First, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page with a factor critical to Search Marketing: the hunt.
As SEMPO (Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization) perfectly points out, the key to search engine marketing is this: how seriously is your target market hunting:
The concept behind Search Engine Marketing is quite simple: when a consumer or business person searches the Web through either a text box or by clicking through a directory hierarchy, he or she is in “hunt mode.” This psychological state is unique because it signals to the search engine (and to marketers) that the person is looking for information, often of a direct or indirect commercial nature.
As I like to have people think about: How urgent is your prospect’s need? How much pain are they in around it? How sensitive is their timeline? How aware are they that the problem exists and what language do they use around it?
The answers to this help aid the entire team in understanding if SEO/SEM is going to effectively generate ROI, and how quickly it will happen.
For many businesses who KNOW without a doubt that their target market is out there googling and looking for the exact services and products they provide and they need prominent visibility, PPC is a no brainer.
How to Know if PPC will Be Effective For Your Business
Here are 4 factors to think about when considering if, when, and how to effectively add PPC to the mix:
- You’ve got to know your numbers: Can you identify and assign value to the different interactions on a prospect and customer’s conversion path? Unless you’re in ecommerce and the path is clear, you have to be able to break it down so you can understand if a campaign is profitable and how to help it grow.
- Organic SEO vs PPC keyword strategy differences: Organic SEO is perfect for educational, longtail keywords. I have been a fan of employing this tactic for years: catching prospects much earlier on in their search to drive awareness, bring them to your website, educate them, and try and covert them. PPC does NOT work for being super early in your funnel. You’re best to target users exactly when they’re looking and ready to buy. Or, be prepared to spend a lot of money on people who aren’t yet ready to buy and remarket to them.
- Dedicated attention: PPC success comes in small, daily (or weekly) frequent maintenance and tweaking. To really get the best benefit, you need to be in your AdWords account making small moves that add up to big yields. When I started doing PPC, it all started making sense why people would talk about an “SEO Maintenance” plan and wanted a checklist of items. Because with PPC, there is absolutely regular maintenance that needs to be done and that can often be followed with a checklist. Unfortunately, SEO is not a checklist channel.
- Google changes constantly. And I’m not just talking about the organic SEO algorithm. The user interface, features, capabilities, and rules about everything from Google Analytics to Search Console to AdWords to Google My Business is hard to keep up with. If Search is important for you, having a search marketing professional on your team who knows what’s up and whose job is to pay attention will save you time and frustration.
Wrapping Up: Don’t Forget the Obvious
With a good landing page, some money to spend, a solid understanding of your numbers, an audience that’s hunting for what you have to offer, and a PPC savvy person on your team, you can get quick results. And of course, it should be a given—but as I’ve learned in my 8+ years freelancing never assume—that setting expectations, establishing a mutually trustworthy and respectful relationship, and experimenting constantly to refine and improve, are non-negotiable to success.
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Hi Jenny, great read, thanks for the share.
I was wondering, in what situation would you ditch PPC for SEO?
Hi Filiip – thanks for your comment! When you start seeing your profitable keywords ranking well and getting traffic (clicks) and conversions, you can start tapering down your PPC and keep an eye on your metrics. Often that’s the goal of SEO – to reduce dependency and PPC spend by increasing organic.
Thank you for taking the time to reply to my comment Jenny. I appreciate it!
Followed you on twitter by the way 🙂