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Your First Year of SEO & PPC: How to Scale The Two Services Together

November 13, 2018

Launching SEO and PPC advertising strategies begins with the basics: Google AdWords and local SEO. Over the course of a year, your company can achieve SEO and PPC success by measuring performance and expanding the platforms they use and scaling their efforts to capitalize on success. 

Search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising can work together as part of an overall, comprehensive digital marketing strategy.

In fact, you can use them both to deliver a one-two knockout punch to your competitors in just one year.

In this article, I explain how to do that on a quarter-by-quarter basis.

Quarter 1: Launch PPC Campaigns and Invest in Local SEO

If you are a new website, during the first quarter, invest most of your ad spend in PPC while you build your SEO foundation.

If your company has an older website and has never done SEO, you can get big gains fairly quickly using PPC. 

Start by running ads using Google AdWords. The people you’re trying to reach are using Google, which is why it’s the best place to start your PPC journey.

Research Keywords to Bid On

Use Adwords to find keywords related to your company to discover the terms your target customers use in their searches.

I suggest also using a keyword research tool to identify the best search terms. I recommend a look at SEMRush

Once you’ve identified keywords, it’s time to launch your ad campaigns.

If you’ve never run an AdWords campaign before, check out a guide to make sure you’re taking advantage of all AdWords key features.

You should max out your advertising budget on AdWords during the first quarter. Dedicating a substantial budget to AdWords determines which of your ads and keywords are the most effective.

The more ads you run, the more chances you have to see how people in your market respond to your ads.

Use an analytics platform such as Google Analytics to identify the keywords your target customers search and engage with the most. Then, redirect resources to bidding on successful terms and eliminate the ads that aren’t getting attention.

During this quarter you should also add remarketing to your PPC strategy.

In the context of PPC, remarketing means targeting people who have engaged with your paid search ads and visited your website. These work to remind those visitors about the benefits of your product or service and build brand-name awareness.

Quarter 1 SEO: Local SEO

Your company’s SEO strategy depends on the kind of business you operate.

If you run a local business or service, emphasize local SEO, or optimization techniques designed to target local search results.

Start by ensuring that your Google My Business (GMB) listing is filled out completely. Google My Business listings appear in the “packs” of results that appear for local service providers and businesses on search.

Google My Business Listings_Hardware Store Near Me

If your business location is across the street from a major landmark, for example, be sure to mention that on your website and in your Google My Business profile. In addition, make sure you include target keywords in your business description on your listing so that it gets pulled for those searches.

You also need to optimize pages on your website for local terms.

If you are an e-commerce or news site, however, you should pursue a national SEO strategy from the beginning. That means optimizing your content for keywords that are relevant to people all over the country, not just nearby.

Even with national companies, it’s still important to start with lower volume, niche keywords. Bigger national keywords are incredibly hard to rank for, so targeting those right off the bat may be a bad investment. 

In the first quarter, you should also begin content marketing efforts.

Use your target keywords as topics for long-form articles, infographics, videos, or any other sort of content that you can produce in a quality format. High-quality content ranks well in search engines, which in turn increases organic traffic.

So, to recap, by the end of the first quarter, your goals include: 

  • Launching PPC campaigns using a majority of your ad budget
  • Earning local web traffic or traffic from low-volume national keywords
  • Increasing traffic through high-quality content marketing

Quarter 2 PPC: Expand Ad Platforms

During the second quarter, expand your PPC campaigns to additional platforms.

Enhance your PPC outreach by using Bing Ads. Even though Google commands the vast majority of the search engine market share, there are still plenty of people who use Bing. In fact, Bing ads can be better for certain demographics – Bing users tend to be older and less tech savvy.

The second quarter is also a great time to experiment with paid social media advertising.

Focus your image marketing on Instagram. A good approach to social image marketing is to capture a single benefit of your brand in just one picture and use it in an ad. Take a look at fashion companies for great examples of how to do that.

Take advantage of the granular targeting capabilities of social platforms to reach specific market segments with relevant ads.

Quarter 2 SEO: Add Citations & Continue Content Marketing

For SEO, continue efforts from the first quarter to target the top search terms for local and national audiences.

This is a great time to add more citations for local SEO and earn backlinks from non-competing bloggers.

Continue your content marketing efforts as well. It’s important to consistently produce content if you want to reach the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs).

By the end of the second quarter, you should see more traffic coming to your site as a result of your local SEO and content marketing efforts.

Quarter 3 PPC: Display Ads & Local Campaigns

In the third quarter, expand your advertising by investing in display ads and local campaigns.

Start by running ads on YouTube. YouTube is the second most popular search engine in the world, with more than 1.5 billion users.

Keep in mind that running ads on YouTube doesn’t mean you need to produce video ads. YouTube displays still ads at the bottom of videos. You will, however, need to use creative imagery into your Youtube ads. Plain text ads in front of a YouTube video won’t appeal to too many people.

Speaking of creative imagery, the 3rd quarter is a great time to start running display ads, which you can do using Google Ads.

Invest in high-quality creative resources for your display ads. Outsource the project if you don’t have any in-house expertise.

Also, run PPC ads for a local audience. Local PPC ads capture some of the folks in your market who aren’t finding your listing organically.

Quarter 3 SEO: International Keywords & Analytics Tracking 

On the SEO front, if you haven’t already, it’s time to go national.

In fact, this is a great time to start thinking about going international with your marketing efforts. It’s a global economy, after all.

Finally, check analytics for search terms that earn the most visitors from your content marketing efforts and continue to produce content optimized for those keywords.

By the end of the third quarter, you should be running display ads and advertising on YouTube. You should also have adopted a national, and possibly international, SEO strategy.

Quarter 4 PPC: Optimize & Expand 

The fourth quarter can be summed up in 2 words: optimization and expansion.

Start by optimizing the ads that you’ve been running for the past 9 months. Check your analytics on AdWords, Bing Ads, Facebook, and YouTube to find the ads that are bringing in the most clicks. Increase the budgets for those ads and scale back on underperforming ads.

Also, check to see which ads are getting you the most conversions. You’ll have to check your landing page analytics for that and scale your efforts for those terms. 

In addition, experiment with A/B testing your landing pages during this quarter. Run side-by-side comparisons to determine which pages are most likely to earn new business.

Now is also a great time to consider additional PPC options, such as LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Quora. You might find that a significant part of your target market hangs out in one of those sites.

Quarter 4 SEO: Scale Content Marketing & Update Top Performing Pages

The 4th quarter is the time to really ramp up your content marketing efforts. You should publish multiple pieces of content each week.

In addition, refresh your top-performing pages. That’s especially important if the content is already out of date.

During the fourth quarter, you should also work on earning backlinks. Reach out to people who host popular blogs and ask about guest-posting opportunities.

As a rule of thumb, you want to see revenue or leads increase by 30% to 80% year over year.

By the end of the year, you should have an SEO strategy that involves content marketing and backlink-building.

Get Started With SEO and PPC

SEO and PPC are 2 different sides of the same digital marketing coin. When used together, they can attract more customers, build brand-name awareness, and make a good business great.


About the Author

John Lincoln Headshot

John Lincoln is CEO of Ignite Visibility and a best-selling author. He is a writer for Inc., Entrepreneur, The Huffington Post, and Search Engine Land. As an in-demand public speaker, Lincoln is consistently named one of the top influencers in the digital marketing industry.