With more than 80% of Google searches now coming through as (not provided), there's been a dramatic reduction in the amount of keyword data available for organic search over the last few years.
But fortunately all is not lost as we head towards a 100% (not provided) world! There’s actually still a wealth of keyword data still available to most companies in Google Adwords. Using this data to inform your SEO strategy will provide many benefits, and once you’ve nailed down your campaign’s key KPIs, you can use PPC data to help you deliver on these objectives.
The success of any SEO campaign lies mainly with the keywords you choose to target. It can take months to rank on the first page for a particularly competitive keyword, and whilst doing so will see an increase in traffic, if the search term isn’t right for your business not many of your visitors will convert.
As it can take so long to rank for a keyword, it’s crucial that you get your initial research right – or you’ll be back to square one if your first-choices don’t generate enough traffic, conversions or revenue (and a bit out of pocket, too!). In fact, SEO mistakes can be so costly that you could argue it’s better to make some relatively cheap PPC mistakes first – by testing your targeted keywords through paid search.
If you come up with a list of organic search terms, ideally the best thing to do next is find out which of them are worth the time and effort needed in order to rank. Usually, you might use a keyword research tool for some insight or projections on which terms to target. But instead, running a PPC campaign on the terms for a few weeks will give you a fairly accurate estimate of search volume and conversion rate, as well as letting you know which keywords drive the most revenue to your business. This is the best way to get reliable data on how well a keyword will perform for your business, and by using these figures, you can determine what the best value search terms might be, so that you can begin to optimise for them.
And it works the other way, too. If you’ve already been running PPC campaigns and are looking to start SEO activity for the very first time, your Adwords account will be bursting with information on what terms drive traffic, which ones convert, and so on – therefore letting you know what you should be targeting organically, before you touch a single keyword research tool.
PPC can be used to aid your SEO in far more than just a simple keyword planning capacity, but it’s a great place to start when you’re embarking on an organic campaign. As with all types of marketing, it’s unwise to rely simply on one aspect of search marketing to get the job done. SEO will always be more effective over the long-term when combined with PPC and content marketing.