The integration of Paid Search and SEO is often an area overlooked, however by operating in silo you can be missing out on valuable traffic and costing you or your client some serious £££. Taking a collaborative approach can do wonders for increasing efficiency whilst also increasing your share of voice in Search.
In the first part of the Total Search blog series, we discuss how aspects of technical SEO can lead to improved performance in Paid Search.
How Does SEO Affect PPC?
SEO influences PPC by optimising the searcher’s journey beyond the click, by improving the landing page experience. To put it very simply, better landing page experiences = better quality scores = cheaper CPCs. Whilst one way to improve this is to make landing pages more relevant through SEO content efforts, this article is going to focus on how Technical SEO can help to amplify Paid Search performance.
Site speed is undeniably at the heart of all successful Technical SEO strategies, particularly with Google’s 2021 Core Web Vitals update. However, what is often forgotten is the impact of this work on other channels. In improving site speed, SEOs aren’t just adhering to Google’s algorithm to protect rankings. They are also providing a better experience for the user, increasing conversions and reducing bounce rates – an experience which is provided to all users regardless of entry channel. For those neglecting Site Speed it’s worth noting that a one second difference in the time it takes for a mobile web page to load can impact conversion by up to 20%.
Improving site speed not only helps to improve conversion and bounce rates for Paid Search, it can also help to reduce CPCs. Merkle improved the loading experience for an FMCG client, shaving 2 seconds off overall avg. load time leading to a +189% increase in conversions. We also monitored the impact of these improvements on CPCs for a control PPC ad group. Mobile speed scores for the URLs within this ad group improved from 6/10 to 9/10 and as a result saw a 62% reduction in CPCs. This saved the client ~£31,000 over 6 months.
Site speed is particularly important and more of a challenge for mobile where users may be out and about with unreliable connection. Over the last few years, mobile usage has grown tremendously with 66% of all website visits in 2020 coming from mobile. Ensuring you have a positive user experience on mobile is, therefore, key to success across many industries. mobile is, therefore, key to success across many industries.
UK: Time Spent Mobile vs. Desktop
PPC can play a vital role on mobile, where smaller screens mean that organic results can be pushed down below the fold. Therefore, ensuring that there is a strong PPC strategy around highly competitive queries can protect traffic to your site. However, beyond this click and beyond site speed, Technical SEOs also work to address mobile usability issues that can arise when a website is too focused on the desktop experience. that can arise when a website is too focused on the desktop experience.
For example, if the content is too small to read or if links are too close together for a user to be able to easily select the correct one, then this can impact the user experience and as a result, conversions. Addressing these issues can improve the performance of those hard-earned clicks from PPC.
Keeping Paid Search in the Loop on Site Structure Changes
A good structure is intrinsic to allowing crawlers to be able to index your webpages. From a user experience perspective, a sensible structure can be very effective in increasing the pages visited. The key to achieving this is having the site structure set so it’s easily navigable for the user.
404 Pages and PPC
When efforts are made to improve the site structure, there will almost always be changes to URL structures. Not only do Technical SEOs need to ensure that all internal links and sitemaps are updated to reflect the new structure, but it is also critical that they inform PPC and other channels. Without communicating changes to the Paid Search team, ads can lead to obsolete 404 pages, causing disapprovals and valuable traffic lost.
301 Redirects and PPC
Even if legacy URLs are being 301 redirected to the new URLs, this still poses an issue for Paid Search. Not only will this impact the loading time as the user is taken through a redirect, it also impacts tracking. When a PPC ad is 301 redirected, it is stripped of its Google Click ID (GCLID). The GCLID is a URL parameter that helps to identify in reporting tools the attributes (such as campaign, ad group) behind the click. When a URL is redirected, the GCLID is removed, and these clicks are not attributed correctly and can be misreported as organic or direct.
Therefore, keeping PPC updated with URL changes will help to avoid lost traffic and reporting discrepancies.
It’s been said again, and again. By working together, PPC and SEO can align efforts and messaging to create a cohesive strategy that dominates target SERPs. In addition to this, the performance of an individual channel can have a significant impact on another.
Through Technical SEO enhancing the user experience, efforts can lead to improved conversion rate and quality score metrics in Paid Search. In addition, by optimising the technical aspects of your site, this can lead to improved ranking on search engines. Which can in turn result in an opportunity to reduce spend on Paid Search and focus on areas where you have poor organic visibility, therefore creating an effective Total Search strategy. The ultimate result - increasing the efficiency of spend for the client.
Interested in finding out more on how taking a collaborative approach can lead to a more effective strategy? Read our second blog in this two-part series to find out how insights within Paid Search can indirectly improve Organic performance.
Get in touch today if you want to find out more on how we can create a connected PPC & SEO strategy for your brand. Or if you want to read more on the topic, check out our Total Search Whitepaper.