Although SEM and SEO are completely different areas of digital marketing, these two terms are often used interchangeably — which is incorrect.
SEO or Search Engine Optimisation refers to optimising your site for higher rankings in the search engine results and free traffic. SEM or Search Engine Marketing refers to paying for clicks and purchasing ads to jump to the top of the SERPs.
Both these fields are different, but there are certain areas that overlap. And there are ways to utilise SEM data, information, and insights for improving the SEO strategy and execution.
In this blog post, we highlight five such ways of using search engine marketing campaigns and data for SEO and vice versa.
1. Identify new keywords with high traffic potential
When you run SEM campaigns, you have the option of targeting keywords with four different keyword match types. These match types are:
- Broad match
- Broad match modified
- Phrase match
- Exact match
Unless you are exclusively using the exact match — which isn’t recommended — you will likely find out new keywords and keyword ideas.
While some of those ideas would be outright bad (you’d add them to negative keywords), you’ll likely find many good keyword ideas. These ideas are found in the search term report — which shows the exact search query that people used to trigger your ad.
Apart from adding those keywords to your campaigns or ad groups, you can also use those new keyword ideas for SEO campaigns and optimising older content.
2. Identifying high-value keywords
During SEM keyword research, you will find some keywords with a very high average cost per click (CPC).
This high avg. CPC generally indicates a high commercial intent of keywords. The CPC is high primarily because many competitors are bidding for these keywords. And the reason they do purchase those keywords is that it works for them.
This data provides you valuable insights and a surefire method to identify keywords that are more likely to increase revenue.
You can create dedicated pieces of content optimising for such keywords and even some money if you manage to rank on top for such costly keywords.
3. Improving the organic CTR
Search engine marketing ads also give valuable data and insights into the click-through rate (CTR). In Google Ads, for example, you see the click-through rate for each ad you run.
With A/B testing different keywords, CTAs, and other elements in the ad, you can not only fine-tune your CTR but also learn more about your audience and what they prefer.
The idea is to learn lessons from those ads with higher CTRs and apply them to meta titles of your blog posts. By improving the meta title tag and meta description, you can easily increase organic CTR and traffic 2-3x.
4. Saving money on brand ads
It is a common practice to run paid ads for branded keywords — especially when you are not ranking at the top for the most important branded keywords.
By diving deep into Google Ads data, you can find out the ad and organic listing CTR when only the ad is shown, when only the organic listing is shown, and when both ad and organic listings are shown.
This report can be found in Google Ads > Pre-Defined Reports (Dimensions) > Paid & Organic.
This can help you come up with the most effective data-driven strategy and decide whether or not you should buy clicks for branded keywords.
5. Perfecting the CTA and improving ROI for SEO campaigns
“Try it for free”, “request a free demo”, or “learn more”. Which one of those CTAs would work well on your web page?
You cannot know until you A/B test all these CTAs. And SEM ads are a great way to bring instant traffic to your web pages and test different ideas.
Once you use the SEM data to perfect your CTA, you have a significant positive impact on your SEO campaigns. Executing an SEO strategy can be costly, and you need a high ROI for proper reporting and sustainability.
By analysing SEM data and A/B test results, you can improve CTAs on your web pages. This will have a significant impact on the number of organic visitors you manage to convert into MQLs and paying customers.
SEM and SEO cover two different areas of the search engine results pages, but there is also a lot of overlap. Smart online marketers and SEOs leverage both SEM data to improve SEO, and vice versa.
Make sure to fully utilise SEM and SEO data to understand what’s going on with your search traffic (free and paid) and revise your online marketing plan accordingly.
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