Sunday Morning SEO: Using PPC to Test Keywords

Like the title of my column implies, I do a lot of SEO work – both for clients and my own sites.  However, I’ve recently started getting into PPC, or pay per click, marketing.  This has been a great education.

One of the things that I’ve learned is the importance of testing.  The fundamental principle in PPC seems to be to test every variable you can think of so your campaign is as efficient as it can be.  PPC is the fastest way to drive targeted traffic to your site.  However, if you’re not constantly testing in order to improve your campaign, you can quickly lose a lot of money.  We as humans are not perfect, so your first ads and keywords will have to tweaked as you gain data from your testing.

Looking to be a more holistic online marketer, I tried to make a connection from PPC to SEO.  Here’s what I came up with.

SEO doesn’t have a cost per visitor like PPC, but to rank for keywords takes time, effort, and resources.  And have you ever ranked for keyword and then been disappointed by the lack of results from the keyword?  You may have used a keyword tool that told you that keyword has a high search volume.  But keyword tools are not 100% accurate.  Also, some keywords can drive a lot of traffic but have poor conversion rates.

PPC can take the guess work out of your initial keyword research.  You can quickly test a keyword by running a PPC campaign targeting the keyword.  If you get good results from the PPC campaign, then it makes sense to devote SEO time for the keyword.  However, if your results are subpar, then you saved all those SEO resources.

Sure, you had to spend a little bit of money for the PPC, but that’s better than wasting all the effort on SEO, which takes more resources than PPC.  And you save a ton of resources if you were targeting a competitive keyword, since those often take months of work to rank for.


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