A guide to PPC (Pay Per Click) and SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

A guide to PPC (Pay Per Click) and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Before we start, hands up, who thought they were one and the same? Don’t worry, ...
Author: Nathan Pope
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A guide to PPC (Pay Per Click) and SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Before we start, hands up, who thought they were one and the same? Don’t worry, if your hand is up then you’re not alone and this guide will help you understand the practical differences between PPC and SEO, and how they both can be used to good effect as part of your marketing mix. If your hand is down, you will still find this a useful reference tool, and affirmation that if you’re focused on PPC and SEO, you’re definitely taking the right approach. The fundamental differences When you run a query on any search engine, you are presented with a number of responses at the top, along the right, and down the middle. Every time you click on those ads at the top and to the side, it will cost the organization that placed them, hence the name Pay Per Click. How much it costs them will be entirely dependent on:

• The competitiveness of the search terms, or keywords, in question • How much they manually set as a budgeted limit The search results running down the middle are the organically listed ads, and where sites appear is defined largely by the quality of a website. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) forms a crucial role here. In essence, if you want to guarantee where your website listing is placed then PPC offers you a way to do this, but it will cost you. If you want to show on page one organically, then a focused SEO approach will be required.


PPC or


What research suggests A research piece published by the UK’s web analytics company Enquisite found that for every one click on a paid search result, the organic results generate 8.5 clicks. That's a large disparity and is likely attributed to searchers gradually learning the difference between organic and sponsored results, as well as recognizing that organic results are typically the more respected source. But turn that around; based on action/conversion tracking, paid search clicks convert, on average, at 1.5X the rate of organic clicks, which may come as no surprise, since that ad text and landing page is often optimized by the advertiser (well, it will be if they want to generate real results).

For every one click on a paid search result, organic results generate 8.5 clicks Source: Enquisite




PPC Pay per click advertising is a great way to get visitors when you need traffic now. But it’s risky; with poor management, you can spend a fortune without driving any quality results.



Your goal is to drive the Click Through Rate (CTR) up to 1% and beyond, as this is typically a good indicator of the quality of the audience that are clicking on the ads.


It is worked out by dividing the number of impressions, which relates to the number of times your ads were shown in a search, by the numbers of times they were clicked.

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Low CTRs are often an indicator that some part of your message is not resonating with your audience, or that it is being displayed to an inappropriate group.

PPC strategy


Build, monitor, optimize, maintain, monitor, optimize, and so on. The secret to a winning PPC strategy is to constantly assess performance so you can improve as necessary.



Market research Understanding the behaviour of your target audience in advance could mean the difference between a high or low CTR, so make sure you do your homework. Is your audience primarily mobile users, what are the search engines they tend to use, are there any cultural factors you need to bear in mind? Take on the persona of your audience and build your campaign to suit.






Keyword research Gain an understanding of how competitive the marketplace is for the key search terms that you want to target. The more general the terms you target, the more competitive they will be and therefore, the more each clicked ad will cost you. Think niche: industry, technology, geography, as this is likely to cost you less money and attract the right audience.

Create bid strategy Unless your marketing budget is significant, your budget per day is going to be limited. Consider limiting your cost per click bid amount to enable your ads to sit at around position three. This will cost you less and has proven to attract better quality clicks – people rarely buy based on the first option open to them, and will often evaluate others before making a choice. This is where your ad needs to leave a lasting impression.

ROI measurements Back to daily evaluation: Monitor your CTRs and make the necessary changes to keep any disparity between impressions and clicks to a minimum. Use search engine analytics or any other tools at your disposal to follow the behaviour of new visitors to your site that have arrived by clicking on your ads. This is a great exercise in maintaining landing page content. For example, if you’re driving lots of new visitors but the bounce rates of people coming are extremely high, think about adjusting the page to make the Call To Action more compelling.


Monitor your CTRs and make the necessary changes to keep any disparity between impressions and clicks to a minimum.

Optimization At this point, you’re going to want to revisit your campaign and evaluate what’s working well, and what’s not working quite as well, and address as needed. The great thing about PPC campaigns is that they can be tweaked and amended at any point, to your heart’s content. If one of your ad groups as a whole is driving a low CTR, change the message in your ad; change the offer that the ad is built around; try and tie what you’re saying in the ad to the audience you’re targeting.

Points to success Start small, begin niche, and build from there. Extreme granularity means you can see results and optimize on a much finer basis, squeezing every last drop of performance out of a campaign. Familiarity and relevance are going to be two of your main tools in making your PPC campaigns work, with your unique offer being another. Consider these whenever you’re crafting your ads, the more relevant your messages are to your target audience, the more likely it will be that they click. A perfectly structured campaign will improve performance in terms of the number of website visitors, and the number of new leads.

PPC remarketing Remarketing is as it says, a method to continue marketing to your website’s visitors in a bid to maintain top-of-mind awareness. How it works: someone clicks on one of your PPC ads, they land on your website, at which point a cookie is placed on their IP address. If you’re lucky, your website visitor will engage with your site in some way, but even if they don’t, once they move away and begin browsing other websites within the search engines display ad network, they will be presented with your visual ads that the search engine will present. You can define what the ad looks like and how many times ads are displayed.


The great thing about PPC campaigns is that they can be tweaked and amended at any point, to your heart’s content.

Setting up remarketing There are a number of strategies that you can adopt when establishing your remarketing campaign: Non-converters – a user has demonstrated their interest in your website by visiting various pages and browsing certain products, but they haven’t yet converted into a customer. You can target such users by segmenting those with long session durations or a high number of pages visited. Cross-selling – if a user is looking for something in particular and purchased a solution from your website, but no support to go with it, you can target that user with remarketing ads to cross-sell your extended range. Time decay – a user may not always be swayed by the first ad that they see and may need a further incentive to revisit your site. Time decay ads enable you to display one ad within a certain time period and then display another within a specified timeframe. The second ad may switch to a stronger promotion or call-to-action.

Investment PPC is an investment of both time and cost, but when done well, you can expect a rapid increase in web traffic and leads. But don’t be fooled into thinking that once you set up your ad groups, adverts, set your bid strategy, and switch it live that your work is done, oh no, it’s just getting started. To maximize the impact of PPC, it’s important, no, it’s essential, that you log on at least once a day to monitor performance and make the necessary adjustments needed to achieve ROI.


PPC is an investment of both time and cost, but when done well, you can expect a rapid increase in web traffic and leads.

SEO What is SEO, exactly? The goal of SEO isn't to cheat the search engines. The purpose of SEO is to: • Create a great, seamless user experience • Communicate to the search engines your intentions so they can recommend your website for relevant searches What search engines are looking for Search engines want to do their job as best as possible by referring users to websites and content that is the most relevant to what the user is looking for. So how is relevancy determined? Content: is determined by the theme that is being given, the text on the page, and the titles and descriptions that are given. Performance: how fast is your site and does it work properly? Authority: does your site have good enough content to link to or do other authoritative sites use your website as a reference or cite the information that's available? User Experience: how does the site look? Is it easy to navigate around? Does it seem safe? Does it have a high bounce rate?



What search engines are NOT looking for Search engine spiders only have a certain amount of data storage, so if you're performing shady tactics or trying to trick them, chances are you're going to hurt yourself in the long run.

What are the MOST EFFECTIVE SEO TACTICS your company uses to achieve objectives?

Items the search engines don't want are:

Quality content creation

Keyword Stuffing: overuse of keywords on your pages

Keyword research/mgmt

Purchased Links: buying links will get you nowhere when it comes to SEO, so be warned. Poor User Experience: make it easy for the user to get around. Too many ads and making it too difficult for people to find content they're looking for will only increase your bounce rate. If you know your bounce rate it will help determine other information about your site. For example, if it's

57% 46%

Frequent website updating


Social media integration


Frequent blogging


80% or higher and you have content on your website, chances are something is wrong. Link building

The dark art of SEO


Local search optimization


No one knows definitively why websites rank where they do, and the search engines are of course not going to tell you, but there are a well-known handful of strategies to adopt that should see you improve ranking. In a survey, by UK company Ascend2 of 442 marketing and sales professionals from around the world, quality content creation was seen as the number one most effective tactic to improving search position. The days of creating a beautifully crafted new website, and then sitting back to enjoy it with the expectation of increasing visitors are gone. Content is king. If you want to win then you must feed your site with content; blogs, new pages, news articles, whitepapers, case studies, and so on. By doing so, you are effectively building up the credibility of your website, which search engines will take as a positive indicator and be more likely to wave your site under the noses of potentially interested searchers.


Mobile search optimization


Top 6 SEO tips 1

Always put the user at the centre of all your SEO efforts. SEO is about providing optimized user


Producing high-quality content is just part of the strategy. Promoting it is the key to success. Heavy

experiences rather than sites built to get around search engine algorithms.

social seeding on platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn, and targeted outreach to influencers and multipliers, helps raise online visibility and thus traffic in the long run. Tools such as Sociabble will help you measure sentiment and the social buzz your activities are generating.


Structured internal linking will help guide your visitors through your website, in a logical progression based on most likely information requirements. Leading visitors through in this way will help improve your chances of driving them to the ‘right’ outcome.


Research keywords to ensure your content and focus is aligned to what your target audience is


Continuous media monitoring for your own brand mentions, competitors' mentions, and relevant

likely to search. Research, prioritize, and monitor.

topic mentions. Based on the results, you can build relationships, generate links, keep up with your competitors, and engage in discussions about subjects important to your business.


Metadata, which sounds more technical than it is, is about ensuring you’re referencing keywords in the back-end of your website that search engines will identify and connect with on page content. It’s also about making sure descriptions (the snippets that are displayed in search engine query panels) are relevant and relate to the content on the page you are referencing.


There are a well known handful of strategies to adopt that should see you improve ranking.

Sociabble Social media has infiltrated every aspect of our personal and professional lives. Social media usage has become so ubiquitous that out of a global population of 7.2 BN, 52% of people are active on social media.

7.2 Billion

Global Population

It has become one of the most powerful B2B marketing tools through which to communicate and build relationships with customers. Why? More than ever before customers are going online to compare solutions and to gather peer recommendations through social media before talking to you. While social media becomes more prevalent as a communication tool, many partners lack the resources or time

3 Billion

Active Internet Users

to source, create and post new content to social networks. Enter Sociabble.

A platform for social engagement This platform makes social media simple for you, by providing tailored content that Microsoft partners can deliver as their own.

2 Billion

Active Social Media accounts

Sociabble provides cloud based, customer-facing social media content for small and mid-market businesses which you can easily republish on Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn as your own. You have complete control over your social media accounts; the content simply comes to you and then you can choose to approve or decline content on a post by post basis. Through this platform you can maximize your social media presence, and leverage it as a highly effective inbound marketing tactic that forms part of your wider communication activities.

3.6 Billion

Unique Mobile Users

The benefits

• Grow your social networks

• Position yourself as a trusted advisor

• More interaction with prospects

• Influence IT decision makers

• Publish fresh end-user content Visit www.msftgosocial.com/register to access an account provided to you at no cost, by Microsoft CanadaGoDigital team. Accounts are limited.


1.7 Billion

Active Mobile Social Accounts

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