How PPC and SEO Work Together: Specific Use Cases and Examples for B2B SaaS

How PPC and SEO Work Together: Specific Use Cases and Examples for B2B SaaS

There’s a lot of talk in the digital marketing world about the importance of better collaboration between paid advertising and search engine optimization (SEO) teams, but in the B2B SaaS industry, that talk often fails to turn into action. 

Some CRO’s or Heads of Growth will express their desire for these teams to coordinate more, but often these intentions get lost. Whether the problem is that SEO and PPC team leaders have different points of view on how their work should fit together, or they’re simply busy working on urgent and ever-growing to-do lists, they don’t end up regularly meeting to maintain a shared strategy together.

As a result, they end up with:

  • Two separate strategies that often don’t complement (and in some cases work against) each other
  • Cost inefficiencies from not seeing which channel is most cost-effective for specific keywords
  • Missed opportunities for learning from each other to improve overall results

There are plenty of articles on this topic that describe this phenomenon and the problems that stem from it. So in this blog, we wanted to share specific examples of client insights and decisions that have come as a result of our SEO and PPC teams collaborating on client projects — as a way to demonstrate the tangible benefits of actually implementing this collaboration.

First we’ll revisit some of the common use cases for PPC and SEO working together. Then we’ll share two examples from our work with Structure Studios (view case study), where combined SEO and PPC strategies have yielded positive results.

If you’re a SaaS marketer or founder and you’d like to learn more about how SEO and PPC can work together in your business, schedule a Free SaaS Scale Session to chat with our team.

4 Common Use Cases Where Our SEO and PPC Help Inform Each Other

Of the various ways we leverage collaboration between our PPC and SEO teams, there are 4 use cases that stand out as the ones we use the most:

  1. Testing for customer-content and journey-offer fit
  2. Testing keywords for conversion potential
  3. Leveraging organic website traffic for remarketing
  4. Leveraging PPC ads while building and implementing SEO strategy

Below we’ll take a closer look at each of these use cases and discuss how they work in practice.

1. Testing for Customer-Content and Journey-Offer Fit

In our “pilot” program (during the beginning of client engagements), we do a series of workshops with different stakeholders at our clients’ companies. In particular, we typically kick things off with customer-content fit and journey-offer fit workshops.

  • The customer-content fit workshop is how we start to refine the content on their website to clearly communicate their positioning and reduce friction on the path to prospects booking a trial or demo.
  • The journey-offer fit workshop is how we develop a downloadable resource — a middle of the funnel offer for potential customers — that matches where prospects are in the sales funnel.

Once we’ve made updates to their landing pages and created a resource for mid-funnel prospects, we’ll test them out with PPC campaigns through Google, LinkedIn, and Facebook. And one of the objectives for running Google Ads is to see how prospects respond to the mid-funnel resource.

For example, say we’ve created a calculator for a client whose software forecasts eCommerce upsell opportunities. We would test it out to see how prospects respond to it before setting out to get it ranking in organic results (eg. for the keyword “ecommerce profit calculator”). If it turns out searchers are downloading it, we’ll proceed with optimizing it for organic search results. If they aren’t downloading it, we might look for other keyword opportunities and create something else instead.

2. Testing Keywords for Conversion Potential

A key part of our SEO strategy is to use keyword data from paid ads to see which keywords actually convert to buyers. From there, we can make informed decisions about which keywords to ignore via SEO, and which to go after.

For search terms that show zero conversions, we may choose to deprioritize them in our SEO efforts and focus on going after terms that convert. Or, depending on our content strategy for that client, we might choose to take on some of the terms that aren’t converting through PPC. For example, if they’re higher-funnel keywords that attract the right audience.

There are many different ways this can play out, but looking at paid conversion rates of specific keywords provides valuable insights for optimizing SEO.

3. Leveraging Organic Traffic for Remarketing

The beauty of the remarketing use case is: When you have omnichannel remarketing set up, you get the benefits of SEO and PPC efforts working together without a ton of coordination.

As long as you have the proper parameters in place, when someone visits your site through organic search, you can remarket to them through social media, YouTube, and the other places they spend time online. This gives you a relatively affordable way to bring back visitors to your site.

4. Leveraging Paid Search Ads While Implementing SEO Campaigns

Lastly, another use case that relates and intertwines with the others is using PPC advertising for important keywords while we work towards achieving organic rankings.

Since SEO typically takes three or more months to begin gaining traction in organic listings, PPC works to provide supplemental traffic while your content is indexed and picking up steam in the SERPs.

Over time, if your content reaches the first page, you might decide to decrease ad spend in favor of letting your organic ranking bring in free traffic.

Now let’s look at some specific examples of how PPC and SEO collaboration has played out in practice at our agency.

Client Examples: A Combined Paid and Organic Report for Structure Studios

Our long time client Structure Studios makes pool and landscape design software for contractors and designers to win more jobs by visualizing their plans for prospective customers.

In the following examples, we’ll look at a Google Ads report that shows relevant SEO and PPC data side by side, and describe how we use it to make these two channels work together.

Both examples are based on a comparison of the search term “landscape design software” that shows performance data for when:

  1. Both the ad and the organic result are shown
  2. Only the ad is shown
  3. Only the organic result is shown

In this first example, we’ll look at how we decided to optimize PPC bids based on organic performance.

Example 1: Bidding Optimizations Based on Organic Performance

Landscape Design Software PPC vs SEO

The date range for the data being displayed is set to the last 6 months.

What you see here is a report from Google Ads where we’ve selected a number of criteria (each with its own column) to compare how this target keyword is performing through paid and organic individually, and also when both listings are present in the results. The first thing we look at is how the click-through rates (CTR) for paid and organic match up with each other in these different scenarios.

When both the organic and ad listings are shown, the ads have a CTR of 6.43% while the organic results have a CTR (known as clicks per query) of 3% — an indicator that PPC is an important contributor to driving traffic for this search term, even though they’re ranking organically within the top three positions on average.

During the same time period, when you look at how clicks match up for when the listings show up on their own, organic outperforms ads at 656 clicks compared to 228 clicks — an indicator that the organic listing is also playing a valuable role.

So one case for using this data might be around PPC budget optimization. Since we know both channels are delivering similar value and that we need to continue investing in both for this term, if we wanted to manage our paid costs, we could decide to set time parameters for our ads. For example, we might choose for our ads to only show during the hours of 9 am-6 pm, and to let organic listings do the work during times outside of that. And because we’ve been able to see that the two channels are performing similarly, we can be confident in our decision that organic will pick up the slack while we save on ad spend during off-hours.

Example 2: Discovering GEO Expansion SEO Opportunities

Landscape Design Software Geo Expansion

In this example, we’re looking at data for the same keyword but in a specific region (New Zealand). This is why the volume of impressions and clicks is significantly lower than the screenshot above (which looked at performance in the US).

The use case here is seeing how PPC is performing in a region where Structure Studios isn’t ranking organically for this primary keyword “landscape design software” — and decide whether or not there are enough searches and traffic potential to warrant tackling it through SEO.

So rather than jumping the gun with SEO and trying to rank in a completely different country, region, or continent, you can validate that there’s enough volume for it to make sense. In this case, with over 1400 impressions and an 8.1% CTR, we’d likely conclude that working on SEO efforts to rank organically for this term in New Zealand would be a worthwhile investment.

Conclusion

There is a long list of potential use cases for SEO and PPC working together, but we’ve found a ton of practical utility in the use cases we’ve discussed throughout this article.

You don’t need a complicated process to do this. You simply need to set a regular meeting between your SEO and PPC teams to go over reports like these, talk through options of how to support each other and how to make adjustments that optimize the performance of both channels.

By coordinating in this way, you can give yourself an edge against your competitors (who likely are not connecting SEO and PPC in this way), and go beyond good intentions to actual implementation.

If you’re a SaaS marketer or founder and you’d like to learn more about how SEO and PPC can work together in your business, schedule a Free SaaS Scale Session to chat with our team.