People—and businesses—often have a hard time admitting they were wrong. Showing weakness and apologizing for it is extremely scary. It’s easier to point fingers and blame others instead of saying that you were off base.

Although this is a way to save face, I don’t think it’s a way you can retain respect. It’s important to recognize when a mistake is made, and it’s important to admit it. Without this, you can lose the respect and trust of your colleagues and clients.

So, I have something to tell you … Last year, I wrote a blog post titled “Step Aside, Snake Oil: 3 Reasons PPC Trounces SEO 100% Of The Time,” and it gave people the wrong idea.

The post led readers to think that SEO was an unworthy digital marketing technique that deserved little attention and revere. If you gathered something similar from that blog post, I’m sorry—that information is wrong. To find real success online, you need to be willing to use both approaches. 

A digital marketing plan isn’t complete without PPC and SEO strategies.

Alright, now that’s settled, let’s get to the important stuff … Why on earth do you need PPC and SEO? Well, Google and other search engines have been changing like crazy this year. The latest developments and changes favor companies that treat SEO and PPC as one concept—not separate disciplines.

Below, five reasons PPC and SEO are your brand’s best digital marketing bet are presented. After you finish this article, you’ll have an understanding of how you can maximize your company’s online success by catering to the latest search engine updates and changes.

1) Big 2017 Search Engine Results

Google has spent a lot of time improving their advertising options this year. For example, they’ve introduced above the fold ads that have brought in big revenue for advertisers and their company alike. They also now offer more optimization when it comes to local query advertising.

As you can see, a search for climate control storage in Phoenix brings up several useful storage space solutions. The search snippets are featured because they use the exact keywords “climate control” in their web copy.

Because of this change, advertising agencies and marketing firms are now implementing more long-tail keywords into their copy. Single keywords are still useful, but multiple keywords sets are generally more helpful.

Another area Google is focusing on more heavily is voice search. As customers talk to search engines more, the nature of their inquiries change. Voice searches are often longer and more specific than text searches. Instead of typing “San Diego weather” into a text search, it’s much easier to ask “What is the weather in San Diego today?”

As you can see, companies need to take different perspectives for optimizing their digital marketing under these new circumstances. Every company that can do so successfully will see a big pay off.

2) They Work Better Together

The golden ticket to success is PPC and SEO integration—for now. Who knows, things could change again next year …

Anyway, if you want to own today’s market, you need to develop a rock solid plan that combines SEO and PPC. Before I present two examples that will help you integrate your SEO and PPC strategies, though, I want to highlight the benefits of doing so.

The most obvious benefit is improving your company’s visibility. If your PPC plan is strong, you’ll have a number one ranked search term. If your SEO plan is strong, you’ll be at the top of organic search results. Although both of these rankings are important, imagine if you could have both. Well, I have some good news—you can.

By combining your SEO and PPC efforts, you can ensure your paid advertisement is displayed above the fold, and your organic content is highly ranked. I’ll delve into this idea a bit more in the “PPC Benefits SEO” section below.

Another clear benefit of running PPC and SEO campaigns at the same time is more data. Without the right know-how, though, this data is overwhelming, and it can be difficult to use for insight. To clear things up, you can start with using your SEO data to increase your PPC clickthrough rates. Again, I’ll address this in further detail below—in the “SEO Improves PPC” section.   

3) PPC Benefits SEO

To market successfully, you have to have a clear understanding of your buyer’s journey. With this in mind, you can build out a marketing strategy that caters to your customers at each stage of the sales funnel. More specifically, you can provide them with multiple ways to connect with your company every step of the way.

One of the best ways to influence buyers is through PPC campaigns. Generally, companies start out using broad match keywords so their results will populate on a variety of related searches. After some data is generated for this approach, businesses narrow their keywords to reach buyers that are more likely to purchase their products/services.

Now, this is where this strategy often stops. They figure out what works for PPC, and they don’t take it any further—but they should. If people only took the information they gained from their PPC campaigns and used it to inform their SEO efforts, they could provide their users with more opportunities to connect.

An above the fold advertisement results in a 19 percent clickthrough rate. An above the fold advertisement has a clickthrough rate of 26 percent when it’s followed by an organic listing.

If you want your paid listings to improve, use them in conjunction with SEO. This way, your customers will see more of your content that will hopefully move them down the sales funnel until they’re a paying customer. 

4) SEO Improves PPC

On the flip side of things, your SEO efforts can help your PPC campaigns. One critical component of every good digital marketing campaign is page optimization. Whether we’re talking about an SEO optimized page or a PPC landing page, you should undoubtedly focus on improving every page’s performance.

It’s also a good idea to use your optimized pages to gather information about your customers’ intentions, objectives and wishes. This task is regularly assigned to SEO strategists. After they’ve completed this research, they use the results to improve their pages.

In order for SEO to inform PPC, this knowledge then needs to travel outside of the SEO strategy. The findings can also be used to build out a PPC campaign that’s designed with a customer’s wants and needs in mind. Ultimately, this will help improve user experience and reduce wasted spend.

5) If You Must Choose

By the time you finish reading this post, the combined power of PPC and SEO should be clear. There are countless reasons PPC and SEO should be used in conjunction, but some companies simply aren’t ready to launch SEO and PPC campaigns that can inform one another.

Maybe you’re a new company that doesn’t have the in-house power to tackle both pursuits, or maybe you think you should generate more revenue through SEO efforts before you start a PPC campaign. Whatever your reason, know that your ultimate goal should be to use these methods together, but you can start with just one.

Both techniques will give you results, but you’ll want to start with the technique that will provide instant payoff—which is PPC.

Sure, it will require more of an up-front investment, but the results will be nearly instantaneous. Brands can go from having zero recognition to a dedicated group of customers overnight with the help of a well thought out PPC campaign.

Settling the Score

I feel terrible that it gave people the wrong idea about SEO, so I wanted to set the record straight. PPC is still a brand’s best bet when they must choose between PPC and SEO. However, the ultimate way to find marketing success is to use both of these techniques together.

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