by Colm O’Sullivan | Sep 14, 2017 | SEO
You’ve got mail.
It’s from Google.
Your AdWords account is suspended.
The dreaded “slap” email from Google
It’s often referred to as the “Google Slap”. And chances are you’ve been there. You’ve got the email. You know it can take days or weeks to get your main source of leads turned back on.
The old saying don’t put all your eggs in one basket rings true in acquisition marketing.
If you’ve just received this email from Google, and you don’t have ads running on other platforms (like Facebook, or some of the native ad networks), your lead generation comes to a crashing halt until you manage to get your AdWords account turned back on.
When you promote your products through paid channels, you’re at the mercy of the ad guidelines of those advertising platforms, be that Google, Facebook or some of the native ad networks. The strictness of their guidelines — and their enforcement — varies, but there’s one constant between all ad platforms. Annoying Ad and account disapprovals.
What if I told you there is another channel?
A channel that can bring in leads that we consistently see are three to five times more valuable than PPC names over their lifetime. A channel that can also bring in direct (one step) acquisitions. A channel that is often forgotten. It’s a channel that you already have full access to, and more importantly, it’s a channel that you have full control over.
It’s your website.
Your website is the most powerful digital asset that you own. In fact, when it comes to acquisition marketing, it’s the only channel that you truly own and can control.
When your PPC accounts are shut down, or you’ve had ads disapproved, have you ever had to tone down your content? Sometimes this is for an ad that has been running successfully for weeks, or even months. Have any of your successful campaigns ever bombed after you’ve watered down your ad to be safer and more compliant?
Of course, they have. It’s frustrating. Really frustrating.
We like to push the boundaries
Most of the publications at The Agora are contrarian by nature. The way we talk about topics is not mainstream. We don’t sit on the fence. We often use big claims that are polarising by nature. You’ll love them or hate them. But we won’t die wondering.
Our best & most contrarian content usually pushes Google and Facebook boundaries. Sometimes we push them too far and that leads to us having to rewrite some of our messages to get campaigns back up and running. Watering down our content usually dilutes the effectiveness of our campaigns.
Your website is your platform — The pros of a focused SEO strategy
This is what makes your website so valuable. There is no need to:
- Dilute content.
- Worry about being shut down overnight.
- Worry about an ad left running over the weekend blowing the entire advertising budget.
We can post our best and most contrarian content on our website. It’s the only acquisition channel that we have full control over. Your website isn’t at the mercy of third parties not liking our content. Not understanding the space that we are in.
When optimised correctly, your website is a marketing channel that can bring in valuable prospects and customers to your business. We optimize your website through a process known as SEO, which is an abbreviation for Search Engine Optimization.
Leads are three to five times more valuable using an acquisition channel that you have full control over.
Does this mean that you should stop doing PPC, and focus solely on SEO?
No, certainly not.
PPC results are nearly instant. You can turn on a lead generation campaign today and have hundreds of names within a few hours or days.
PPC campaigns are also scalable. Very scalable. If you see something is working, you can open the floodgates.
Its biggest benefit is that it gives you instant results.
You can build a fully functioning email list, from scratch, within a few months. It’ll cost you a lot of money but it’s doable.
This makes PPC sound like a no-risk channel that’ll exponentially grow your list 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, right?
Well… PPC can be great, but its biggest downfall is the cost and time it takes to recoup that ad spend… and start making your business money.
It can take 6 months, a year, or more for your AdWords and Facebook names to become profitable.
And there’s also the risk of that Slap that can turn things off as quickly as they started.
This is where SEO beats PPC, hands down.
SEO is a long-term investment. There’s no magic wand. No magic switch that you can flick to open the floodgates and bring on thousands of leads overnight.
It takes time to build your website. To get the building blocks for a strong SEO strategy in place.
It takes time to get the right traffic.
It takes time to get a regular supply of quality names.
The big advantage of SEO is once it starts performing, there’s no waiting to make money from the names you’re bringing in. ROI is 100%+ as soon as those names start monetizing.
The hard work you put in during year one of a focused SEO strategy, will still be paying dividends in year three and year four. You should think about the initial costs related to SEO as a capital investment. I’m talking about site structure changes, and technical fixes on your site. It’s a small investment that will bear fruits in the months and years to come.
There’s no advertising costs with SEO. Just the cost of people.
93% of online experiences begin with a search engine. It makes sense for your business to dominate results related to your niche.
PPC vs. SEO: 7 major benefits of doing both
The most obvious benefit of combining SEO and PPC efforts is added exposure on the search engine results pages (SERPs). Businesses are often tempted to reduce PPC efforts once a search term ranks number one. However, it’s important to remember that the top two or three results on most SERPs are PPC ads.
In the example above, the site ranked number 1 in organic search for the term “buying penny stocks”, but also occupied the featured snippet box, and had an ad on the first page. The site is taking up 75% of the screen space, above the fold. Dominating the organic and paid search results will greatly increase traffic, and give the impression that you’re an established presence in a particular market.
Another benefit of having a website that works, and brings in a decent volume of traffic is remarketing. If 100,000 people visit your website & only 5,000 convert, that leaves 95,000 people who were interested enough in your content to click onto your site, but didn’t convert. Maybe it was the right message to the right person… at the wrong time.
You can follow these people around the internet with remarketing. Remarketing, in its most basic form, is showing those 95,000 people who visited your site ads on other platforms like AdWords or Facebook.
- Using PPC Data for SEO Targeting
AdWords allows you to see:
- Which keywords are driving the most clicks.
- Which pages and keywords have better quality score.
- What are the bounce rates, exit rates, and time on page.
These numbers all tell you different things about how your audience reacted to your content. Do “how to” pieces drive more clicks than listicles? Do people leave your latest tutorial without reading the whole thing? That tells you how your content will perform with organic visitors, how strong your headline is, etc. Then you can adjust your content accordingly.
- Using SEO Data for your PPC strategy
SEO data can also inform your PPC strategy. If a report (or other lead magnet) is converting well on your website, and the names acquired through that report are spending, downstream, it allows your PPC team to create a paid campaign around it.
It’s not just your organic data that can assist your PPC strategy. So can your competitors’ data. Just this week, I compiled a list of all the search terms that a competitor is ranking for, and the percentage of traffic each search term is bringing to their site. One of our Account Managers was able to use those keywords to target PPC campaigns to.
- Use Best Performing PPC Ad Copy to Inform Your Organic Content Strategy
What works for PPC often works for SEO. By determining which PPC ads result in the most conversions, you’ll have a good idea how to create title tags, meta descriptions and page content for the pages that you want to rank organically.
The benefit of using PPC ads to test page attributes is the immediacy of the results. You’ll know pretty quickly what works and what doesn’t, while organically testing titles and metas can take weeks, or even months.
- Use Site Search Data to Inform PPC Keywords.
PPC advertising allows you to figure out which keywords your customers use to find your product or service. Enabling site search on your website, and analyzing the terms that are frequently used, can give valuable insight into your customers’ needs and search habits.
Site search tells you what your visitors expect to find on your website. It’s also a great tool to figure out if there are any content gaps that need filling on your site.
- Your website can bring in a steady stream of names when your ad accounts are down
One of the biggest advantages of having a website that is bringing in names at volume, is that it allows you to continue to bring in names if your AdWords or FB accounts are suspended. If your accounts are shut down, it doesn’t mean your whole business has to come to a halt.
Our lists are the lifeblood of our business. It makes sense to make sure the success of our business isn’t in the hands of a third party.
SEO is worth the investment. It’s a long-term strategy with a spectacular ROI.
You already produce amazing content for your e-letter. Structure your website and your content to make that content work twice for your business. Your website can directly affect your bottom line.
P.S. earlier this year, we created a 50+ point mini-SEO audit checklist, which you can download here. If you’re interested in a full SEO audit, we’ll deep dive into your website, and create a roadmap for the long-term success of the site. Reach out, if you’re interested.