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How to Use Keywords to Combine the Power of SEO and Google Ads [Case Study]

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How to Earn Topical Authority in 2022 and Beyond

The author’s views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.

Spongebob and Patrick. Batman and Robin. Tom and Jerry.

These iconic dynamic duos simply wouldn’t be the same by themselves, and you can think of SEO and PPC in the same way.

You may be thinking, “But, I always thought I needed to spend my money on one or the other!”

Well, friend, I’m here to let you in on a little secret: These two, when paired together, provide you with a digital marketing double whammy. A marketing strategy based only on SEO or PPC is truly “putting your eggs in one basket”. Any business that doesn’t diversify the way they get customers isn’t realizing its full potential.

Both SEO and PPC are used for a common goal — search engine marketing (SEM) — and neither would survive without targeted keywords. Since both strategies have user intent and search demand in mind, you can:

  • Create an organic and paid strategy that surpasses your competitors and uses an optimized budget.

  • Maximize efficient content production that can be used both for SEO and PPC.

  • Expand brand SERP awareness by ranking both organic and paid.

  • Inform SEO campaign with PPC data and vice-versa (SEOs have deep insights on search intent, while Paid traffic specialists understand how keywords convert).

  • Achieve both short-term and long-term business goals.

When approached correctly, using SEO and PPC together can unlock significant opportunities for your brand, so let’s dig in!

A brief overview of SEO and PPC

Let’s take a quick look at the similarities and differences of these powerful strategies so you can better integrate both into your SEM strategies:

Main differences

Time to achieve goal

PPC provides more of a jump start, while SEO is similar to finding your life partner. SEO takes longer and is structure-based, whereas PPC is quick, focusing mainly on landing pages and click-through rates.

One important thing to mention here is that, even though PPC is faster in the beginning, it costs more in the long run. While advertising requires constant payments to sustain, SEO brings in returns long after content has been published, even if you simply just let it sit (though of course some sharing and promo always helps).

The best case scenario is to balance them both: use PPC to power up the engine, but let SEO be the fuel that consistently keeps the engine running.

Skills needed for task

You may think, “SEO is free”, and although it might be if you do it on your own, there’s still a lot of blood, sweat, and tears that go into a successful SEO strategy. SEO skills typically include:

  • Content writing

  • Ability to use a CMS

  • SEO tools know-how

  • Keyword research

  • SERP analysis

Think research, writing, design, editing, publishing, and promotion. Of course, if you hire an SEO strategist, it fast-forwards your plan because they’ve developed proven processes.

On the flip side, PPC requires skills such as:

There’s a lot more to it than that, but those cover the majority of the overarching skills.

Calculating ROI

PPC ROI can be found by observing the CTR and conversion rate in comparison with number of sales. The goal should be that you get more sales than you pay in ad spend and campaign management. With tools like Google Data Studio that integrate with your CRM, it’s possible to automate PPC ROI calculation.

SEO ROI can be found by using a similar formula:

Gain from investment – cost of investment / cost of investment.

Keep in mind, for B2B lead-based businesses, SEO ROI tends to be much more complex than e-commerce. With B2B, you need to track the organic traffic of pages purposed for lead generation, like your contact or inquiry form’s success page, because there is no direct website sale.

Similarities

As mentioned above, both strategies mainly target the SERPs. As a result, the keyword process for both should ALWAYS have user intent in mind and consider search demand.

Long-tail keywords for SEO might look like:

Meanwhile, PPC keywords are separated into four categories:

  1. Phrase match – the ad is shown if there are different words before or after the keyword you’re targeting

  2. Negative match – a word or words you don’t wish to target while running your ad

  3. Broad match – a general phrase or word you’d like to target

  4. Exact match – an exact word/phrase you’d like to target

Organic keywords for SEO are more critical inside the context of a webpage compared to PPC keywords that are more crucial inside the ad copy (though ideally, both should have the keywords in the copy that appears in the SERPs and on the page).

Ultimately, they both share a common goal: to attract relevant users to your website with the goal of turning them into customers.

How PPC and SEO work together to drive business growth through keywords

PPC can instantly unveil important keywords that can be transferred into your SEO strategy. For example, take AS Marketing’s very own client, Kindly, a B2B tech company based in Norway who sells various conversational AI tools for websites. With this project, we first focused on using organic keywords to build SEO content strategy. Then once content was published and started ranking, we regularly checked the same search terms within our Google Ads campaigns. This meant we could see the top keywords that our ads were appearing for in pretty much “real-time”, allowing us to combine this data so that we could create content that worked for both channels.

As a result of our collaboration, we achieved the following results:

  • 312% organic traffic growth globally and 10X organic growth in Sweden, one of their key markets

  • 5X increase in keywords ranked #1-10 in 11 months

  • 107% increase in conversions

For a detailed overview of how this works, here’s our step-by-step guide to leverage this information.

Step 1: Bring the keyword data together

It’s all in the data friends. Seriously, fuse together SEO and PPC data in a spreadsheet, or even better, track ongoing efforts and data in Google Data Studio (for free!)

Here are the top metrics to jot down:

  • Search Volume: how many times a word has been searched on a monthly basis.

  • Competition: what others in your niche are ranking for.

  • Cost Per Click: how much it costs when someone clicks your link.

  • ROI: what is your average return on investment for both PPC and SEO.

  • Organic Impressions: how many times a site is viewed in a search engine result page.

  • Organic Clicks: how many people have seen your site via organic search and clicked on it.

  • Organic CTR: this term goes hand in hand with the one above. Organic click-through rate pertains to the percentage of people that have clicked on your page when they’ve seen it in the search results.

  • Organic Position: when you determine the organic position of a particular keyword, you can see which keywords are being ranked in Google’s top 100 results. This report also helps to gather useful competitor ranking data.

  • Paid CTR: paid click-through rate is the same as the organic click-through rate but for ads. It is the percentage of people that have clicked on your ad after viewing it.

  • Conversions Data: is crucial in order to improve your content and messaging. A conversion is a point at which a recipient performs a certain action. It could be filling out a form or booking a call. Conversion data is commonly tracked in Google Analytics.

When you have everything laid out in front of you, it’s easier to spot patterns and recognize how both SEO and PPC efforts are panning out.

Step 2: Do keyword research

And now for the most important part of this entire process: the stage where you find keywords that can work both for PPC and SEO.

As you go through your keyword research process to find your SEO driven keywords, make sure you utilize Google Ads ‘Search Terms’ report. This part of Google Ads allows you to see search terms that have triggered your ads, making it easy to find “real-time” keywords. It also allows you to see what search terms are trending, so if you notice the same type of keywords keep appearing, it’s probably worthwhile to dig deeper into how you can utilize these keywords into your content strategy. Here’s an example of what to keep your eyes peeled for:

Screenshot of a Google Ads dashboard with red boxes around the Keywords tab, search terms tab, and an arrow pointing to the download button.

Throughout this process, you’ll also want to check items like:

  • Understand each keyword’s customer journey stage: How close to buying are the users? Are they in the MoFu (middle of the funnel) or the ToFu (top of the funnel) stage? Understanding the funnel stage is important, because you wouldn’t want to send someone to a sales landing page if they’re just trying to understand the basics of a new concept.

  • Gather more insights on search intent per each keyword: If PPC and SEO search intent matches, that’s a great case for a dual-purpose page! For instance, we noticed with Kindly that many users were searching for keywords related to their core product, a conversational AI chatbot. With this search intent match in mind, we used previously created SEO landing pages and also drove paid traffic to them in order to increase the amount of conversions and leads generated.

  • Understand how well your content is performing for each query: Is the content good enough for those keywords? Do you need to strengthen examples, incorporate more images, or shorten the article?

  • Create actions to improve SEO and PPC from the same keyword analysis: Which keywords have higher search demands and which have higher competition? Depending on your ad budget and authority ranking, you want to approach SEO and PPC accordingly.

  • Check SERPs for keywords that rank both organically and with paid advertising with similar content: Is it helpful to rank both paid and organically? Should you focus your resources or create content that works for both? The answer here isn’t clear-cut. It depends on your strategy, target audience, competition for the keyword, and general business goals.

Step 3: Create content with the right format

How can we get the most bang for our buck here? By creating landing pages that work for both PPC and SEO with sections like this:

  • Conversion hero header with organic- keyword-optimized H1.

  • Section blocks that cover conversion elements but also answer key audience questions. This will ensure your text is broken up, easy to read, and efficient.

  • People Also Ask ranking opportunities with a FAQ section at the bottom. Target long-tail keywords and craft valuable content to capture the audience that uses People Also Ask when searching.

Infographic with details on how to create landing pages for both PPC and SEO

One important caveat here is that this strategy won’t work for every keyword. This is why understanding search intent and reviewing SERPs is so important, because it’ll reveal where those content opportunities are. For example, if you find that SERPs are filled with blog article results and no ads for a certain keyword, you may consider only creating the blog article.

Going back to our client Kindly, we mentioned that we regularly checked PPC search terms against our SEO keywords and ensured we understood the user intent of every keyword. It became clear that PPC was driving MoFu and BoFu keywords, meaning users were pretty much ready to buy the product. In this scenario, we knew we needed a high converting landing page that was focused singularly for the purpose of PPC.

Some examples of high converting keywords were “AI Chatbot for my website”, “AI Chatbots for Lead Generation” and “AI Chatbot for ecommerce”. From this data, we knew we needed to create a landing page that accommodated different types of use cases, so we created a landing page with a dynamic headline that catered to all keywords.

That is just one scenario, and this strategy may not work for everyone, so it’s important to understand what your customer wants and when they want it. Then you can understand when to lean into your PPC or SEO strategy and at which point of the sales funnel.

Step 4: Implement & track your strategy

For aligned SEO and PPC synergy, keep these applications in mind:

  1. Identify new keyword opportunities for both channels. Use the Moz keyword explorer tool to prioritize keywords that matter, outrank your competition, and research keywords that align with your business goals.

  2. Optimize SEO efforts by targeting keywords with higher conversion rates. Keywords that have high search volume AND high conversion rates are the most likely to bring in the big bucks.

  3. Improve PPC efforts by aligning ads with organic search intent. For instance, say you discover a specific keyword with a high conversion rate for your PPC campaign. With this data, you can easily incorporate that keyword into your content marketing strategy to strengthen your SEO efforts.

  4. Reduce costs with PPC in the middle term by targeting favorable opportunities with SEO efforts. As you continue to grow through organic search, it’ll become easier to spot what works from what doesn’t and apply that to your PPC campaigns. For instance, specific copy that resonates with your audience on your website can be repurposed for PPC ad copy.

  5. Boost usage data (page acquisition and interaction etc.) with PPC to gain more data and inform SEO efforts. By increasing traffic to your site through PPC, you can further analyze your SEO strategy and understand which content types are most interesting to your audience, which pages don’t resonate, and which pages are obtaining the most conversions.

  6. Last but not least, actual conversion tracking is important!Event tracking allows us to see the impact from both SEO & PPC efforts. For example with Kindly, we set up tracking not only for the number of leads, but we also tracked micro conversions such as button clicks on the navigation. By doing this, we were able to see the process of the sales funnel and which awareness, consideration and conversion keywords triggered that process. Consequently, we could determine the best URLs for each PPC campaign. With this in mind, you can also optimize your website for all marketing purposes and notice where users drop off.

    Merging your SEO & PPC keywords brings proven results

    By taking the steps above, you can begin to merge your SEO & PPC strategies together and be more in tune with your sales funnel, i.e. generate more leads and sales. By keeping your marketing strategies as best friends, you can achieve great results such as in the images below:

    SEO Results:

    Screenshot of organic traffic and organic keywords over time.

    PPC Results:

    Screenshot showing engagement rates, event counts, and conversion rates.

    Now, let’s crack on to the recap:

    • Quickly discover high converting keywords from PPC and incorporate them into your SEO strategy

    • Create content that converts both via organic and paid channels

    • Improve brand SERP awareness (helloooo organic and paid traffic!)

    • Align and combine your short-term and long-term business goals

    And to extend on what I mentioned previously, ‘knowledge is power’ BUT it isn’t power until put into action.

    Here are your actionable steps to slingshot your business forward by combining SEO and PPC:

    1. Bring the keyword data together

    2. Do your keyword research

    3. Create content with the right format

    4. Implement and track your strategy

    Teamwork makes your dream work!

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3 Smart Bidding Strategies To Help You Get the Most Out of Your Google Ads

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3 Smart Bidding Strategies To Help You Get the Most Out of Your Google Ads

Now that we’ve officially settled into the new year, it’s important to reiterate that among the most effective ways to promote your business are Google Ads. Not only do Google Ads increase your brand visibility, but they also make it easier for you to sell your services and products while generating more traffic to your website.

The thing about Google Ads, though, is that setting up (and running) a Google Ads campaign isn’t easy – in fact, it’s pretty beginner-unfriendly and time-consuming. And yet, statistically speaking, no platform does what Google Ads can do when it comes to audience engagement and outreach. Therefore, it will be beneficial to learn about and adopt some smart bidding strategies that can help you get the most out of your Google Ads.

To that end, let’s check out a few different bidding strategies you can put behind your Google Ads campaigns, how these strategies can maximize the results of your Google Ads, and the biggest benefits of each strategy.

Smart bidding in Google Ads: what does it mean, anyway?

Before we cover the bidding strategies that can get the most out of your Google Ads, let’s define what smart bidding means. Basically, it lets Google Ads optimize your bids for you. That doesn’t mean that Google replaces you when you leverage smart bidding, but it does let you free up time otherwise spent on keeping track of the when, how, and how much when bidding on keywords.

The bidding market is simply too big – and changing too rapidly – for any one person to keep constant tabs on it. There are more than 5.5 billion searches that Google handles every day, and most of those searches are subject to behind-the-scenes auctions that determine which ads display based on certain searches, all in a particular order.

That’s where smart bidding strategies come in: they’re a type of automated bidding strategy to generate more conversions and bring in more money, increasing your profits and cash flow. Smart bidding is your way of letting Google Ads know what your goals are (a greater number of conversions, a goal cost per conversion, more revenue, or a better ROAS), after which Google checks what it’s got on file for your current conversion data and then applies that data to the signals it gets from its auctions.

Types of smart bidding strategies

Now that you know what smart bidding in Google Ads is and why it’s important, let’s cover the best smart bidding strategies you can use to your advantage.

Maximize your conversions

The goal of this strategy is pretty straightforward: maximize your conversions and get the most out of your budget’s allocation toward said conversions. Your conversions, be they a form submission, a customer transaction, or a simple phone call, are something valuable that you want to track and, of course, maximize.

The bottom line here is simply generating the greatest possible number of conversions for your budget. This strategy can potentially become costly, so remember to keep an eye on your cost-per-click and how well your spending is staying inside your budget.

If you want to be extra vigilant about keeping conversion costs in a comfy range, you can define a CPA goal for your maximize conversions strategy (assuming you’ve got this feature available).

Target cost per acquisition

The purpose behind this strategy is to meet or surpass your cost-per-acquisition objective that’s tied to your daily budget. When it comes to this strategy, it’s important to determine what your cost-per-acquisition goal is for the strategy you’re pursuing.

In most cases, your target cost per acquisition goal will be similar to the 30-day average you’ve set for your Google Ads campaign. Even if this isn’t going to be your end-all-be-all CPA goal, you’ll want to use this as a starting point.

You’ll have lots of success by simply leveraging target cost per acquisition on a campaign-by-campaign basis, but you can take this one step further by creating a single tCPA bid strategy that you share between every single one of your campaigns. This makes the most sense when running campaigns with identical CPA objectives. That’s because you’ll be engaging with a bidding strategy that’s fortified with a lot of aggregate data from which Google’s algorithm can draw, subsequently endowing all of your campaigns with some much-needed experience.

Maximize clicks

As its name implies, this strategy centers around ad optimization to gain as many clicks as possible based on your budget. We recommend using the maximize clicks strategy if you’re trying to drive more traffic to your website. The best part? Getting this strategy off the ground is about as easy as it gets.

All you need to do to get started with maximizing clicks is settle on a maximum cost-per-click that you then earmark. Once that’s done, you can decide how much money you want to shell out every time you pay for a bid. You don’t actually even need to specify an amount per bid since Google will modify your bids for you to maximize your clicks automatically.

Picture this: you’ve got a website you’re running and want to drive more traffic to it. You decide to set your maximum bid per click at $2.5. Google looks at your ad, adjusts it to $3, and automatically starts driving more clicks per ad (and more traffic to your site), all without ever going over the budget you set for your Google Ads campaign.

Conclusion

If you’ve been using manual bidding until now, you probably can’t help but admit that you spend way too much time wrangling with it. There are plenty of other things you’d rather be – and should be – spending your time on. Plus, bids change so quickly that trying to keep up with them manually isn’t even worth it anymore.

Thankfully, you’ve now got a better grasp on automated and smart bidding after having read through this article, and you’re aware of some important options you have when it comes to strategies for automated bidding. Now’s a good time to explore even more Google Ads bidding strategies and see which ones make the most sense when it comes to your unique and long-term business objectives. Settle on a strategy and then give it a whirl – you’ll only know whether a strategy is right for you after you’ve tested it time and time again. Good luck!

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Is Twitter Still a Thing for Content Marketers in 2023?

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Is Twitter Still a Thing for Content Marketers in 2023?

The world survived the first three months of Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover.

But what are marketers doing now? Did your brand follow the shift Dennis Shiao made for his personal brand? As he recently shared, he switched his primary platform from Twitter to LinkedIn after the 2022 ownership change. (He still uses Twitter but posts less frequently.)

Are those brands that altered their strategy after the new ownership maintaining that plan? What impact do Twitter’s service changes (think Twitter Blue subscriptions) have?

We took those questions to the marketing community. No big surprise? Most still use Twitter. But from there, their responses vary from doing nothing to moving away from the platform.

Lowest points

At the beginning of the Elon era, more than 500 big-name advertisers stopped buying from the platform. Some (like Amazon and Apple) resumed their buys before the end of 2022. Brand accounts’ organic activity seems similar.

In November, Emplifi research found a 26% dip in organic posting behavior by U.S. and Canadian brands the week following a significant spike in the negative sentiment of an Elon tweet. But that drop in posting wasn’t a one-time thing.

Kyle Wong, chief strategy officer at Emplifi, shares a longer analysis of well-known fast-food brands. When comparing December 2021 to December 2022 activity, the brands posted 74% less, and December was the least active month of 2022.

Fast-food brands posted 74% less on @Twitter in December 2022 than they did in December 2021, according to @emplifi_io analysis via @AnnGynn @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

When Emplifi analyzed brand accounts across industries (2,330 from U.S. and Canada and 6,991 elsewhere in the world), their weekly Twitter activity also fell to low points in November and December. But by the end of the year, their activity was inching up.

“While the percentage of brands posting weekly is on the rise once again, the number is still lower than the consistent posting seen in earlier months,” Kyle says.

Quiet-quitting Twitter

Lacey Reichwald, marketing manager at Aha Media Group, says the company has been quiet-quitting Twitter for two months, simply monitoring and posting the occasional link. “It seems like the turmoil has settled down, but the overall impact of Twitter for brands has not recovered,” she says.

@ahamediagroup quietly quit @Twitter for two months and saw their follower count go up, says Lacey Reichwald via @AnnGynn @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

She points to their firm’s experience as a potential explanation. Though they haven’t been posting, their follower count has gone up, and many of those new follower accounts don’t seem relevant to their topic or botty. At the same time, Aha Media saw engagement and follows from active accounts in the customer segment drop.

Blue bonus

One change at Twitter has piqued some brands’ interest in the platform, says Dan Gray, CEO of Vendry, a platform for helping companies find agency partners to help them scale.

“Now that getting a blue checkmark is as easy as paying a monthly fee, brands are seeing this as an opportunity to build thought leadership quickly,” he says.

Though it remains to be seen if that strategy is viable in the long term, some companies, particularly those in the SaaS and tech space, are reallocating resources to energize their previously dormant accounts.

Automatic verification for @TwitterBlue subscribers led some brands to renew their interest in the platform, says Dan Gray of Vendry via @AnnGynn @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

These reenergized accounts also are seeing an increase in followers, though Dan says it’s difficult to tell if it’s an effect of the blue checkmark or their renewed emphasis on content. “Engagement is definitely up, and clients and agencies have both noted the algorithm seems to be favoring their content more,” he says.

New horizon

Faizan Fahim, marketing manager at Breeze, is focused on the future. They’re producing videos for small screens as part of their Twitter strategy. “We are guessing soon Elon Musk is going to turn Twitter into TikTok/YouTube to create more buzz,” he says. “We would get the first moving advantage in our niche.”

He’s not the only one who thinks video is Twitter’s next bet. Bradley Thompson, director of marketing at DigiHype Media and marketing professor at Conestoga College, thinks video content will be the next big thing. Until then, text remains king.

“The approach is the same, which is a focus on creating and sharing high-quality content relevant to the industry,” Bradley says. “Until Twitter comes out with drastically new features, then marketing and managing brands on Twitter will remain the same.

James Coulter, digital marketing director at Sole Strategies, says, “Twitter definitely still has a space in the game. The question is can they keep it, or will they be phased out in favor of a more reliable platform.”

Interestingly given the thoughts of Faizan and Bradley, James sees businesses turning to video as they limit their reliance on Twitter and diversify their social media platforms. They are now willing to invest in the resource-intensive format given the exploding popularity of TikTok, Instagram Reels, and other short-form video content.

“We’ve seen a really big push on getting vendors to help curate video content with the help of staff. Requesting so much media requires building a new (social media) infrastructure, but once the expectations and deliverables are in place, it quickly becomes engrained in the weekly workflow,” James says.

What now

“We are waiting to see what happens before making any strong decisions,” says Baruch Labunski, CEO at Rank Secure. But they aren’t sitting idly by. “We’ve moved a lot of our social media efforts to other platforms while some of these things iron themselves out.”

What is your brand doing with Twitter? Are you stepping up, stepping out, or standing still? I’d love to know. Please share in the comments.

Want more content marketing tips, insights, and examples? Subscribe to workday or weekly emails from CMI.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute



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45 Free Content Writing Tools to Love [for Writing, Editing & Content Creation]

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45 Free Content Writing Tools to Love [for Writing, Editing & Content Creation]

Creating content isn’t always a walk in the park. (In fact, it can sometimes feel more like trying to swim against the current.)

While other parts of business and marketing are becoming increasingly automated, content creation is still a very manual job. (more…)

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