How do you grow startup search traffic fast?
Neil Patel, noted SEO expert, gives the answer in one of his most comprehensive posts: “Adwords, dude!” It’s an obvious answer. But it’s not the only component you need, as Patel explains in the same piece.
Google Adwords and paid search are great tools for getting a company off the ground fast. But they aren’t the only components needed, and they aren’t a replacement for rock-solid SEO and link-building.
Paid search will build traffic fast, but to really capitalize on the long-term traffic that you need to keep your business going, you need a foundation of good organic search. Anything that builds up that organic traffic is going to pay dividends long-term, especially with the move towards voice search.
You need both, and they work together in any sort of digital marketing strategy.
So how do you balance the two?
1) Know the Difference Between a ‘Hammer’ and ‘Scalpel’
Both paid search and organic search can have both wide and narrow applications, but paid search is agile in a way that organic isn’t. If a keyword isn’t working in your paid search program, you can just drop it—no harm, no foul, no fuss.
If you’ve been trying to optimize for a keyword in your organic search, though, you’ve probably invested a fair bit of effort into getting it off the ground. You’ve written content specifically using that keyword, built meta descriptions and URLs around it, maybe even optimized your site taxonomy.
Understanding the role that each plays in your strategy is the first key to using them effectively together. Your paid search is deft and precise, like a scalpel. Your organic is very powerful, but more cumbersome.
2) Use Paid Search to Find Organic Keywords
Yes, paid keywords can be very effective if you apply them to your organic search strategies.
When you run a paid ad that’s doing really well, try using the keywords that you’ve been targeting to rank on the organic search part of the page as well. The more real estate you take up on the page, the more likely it is that your site will get clicked on.
In addition, when you’re all over the search page that your prospect is looking at, it gives you authority that you wouldn’t necessarily have if you only rank once.
Google Adwords has a tremendous amount of data that you can use to sift through your PPC campaigns and find out what’s really working and what isn’t.
You have a direct insight into what customers are looking for that your company can provide—if you’re seeing results with PPC with a keyword that you’re not ranking well in organically, it might be worth investing a little extra effort to get your ranking up.
3) Work With What You Have
Suppose you’re trying to rank for a term that you’re not even close to the front page on. 75 percent of users never even get past the first page, so hardly anyone’s going to see you if you’re focusing on organic right now.
Why not use PPC to reach customers right now? Think of it this way: even if you succeed eventually through SEO best practices and catch up to the top organic results, what’s happening in the meantime?
The traffic you get from paid search, in all likelihood, is traffic you wouldn’t get any other way.
It’s often worth spending a little money to reach customers that you either can’t reach right now or may never reach (depending how competitive the keyword is) with organic search. And you’ll show up even before those hard-earned organic spots that those companies spent so much time optimizing for.
Conversely, some Adwords terms may be too expensive for you to afford right now, but something you can build your rank in organically for regular search. Being patient and not dumping money on subpar PPC returns will let you build traffic.
Work with what you have—go for the bird in the hand if you’re not sure you can reach the two in the bush.
4) Keep PPC and SEO Teams On the Same Page
This might seem like an obvious point, but not everyone stays in close communication.
Your PPC and SEO should be working together to form a seamless marketing strategy. Coordinating efforts between the two, particularly on a seasonal basis, will help you maximize traffic and keep your site at the top of SERPs. Make sure both teams have access to data for both PPC and SEO, and make sure they have access to the right metrics.
Seek Balance In All Things
Paid search and organic search are both important components of your digital marketing strategy. Are you blending the two together, or focusing on one to the detriment of the other?
Make sure you’re optimizing your website traffic, and balance your efforts.