Why Content Marketing and Pay-Per-Click Can Work Together

Published on August 23, 2017

Sometimes, when it comes to digital marketing, businesses and brands adopt the mindset that there’s only one right option for reaching, engaging, and retaining customers.

With this mentality in place, businesses tend to prioritize one digital marketing channel, at the expense of all others. They’ll put all of their emphasis on social media marketing, say, and forego having a responsive and well-designed landing page. They’ll create branded content that focuses on search engine optimization (SEO), but completely neglect to repackage and distribute this content via an email newsletter.

Often, we see thinking like this applied to search pages. For some brands (and even among some of us in the digital marketing industry), there is an insistence on keeping a clear and separate division between two camps.

SEO and Pay-Per-Click

On the one side, we have organic SEO content, the sort of targeted, high quality multimedia content that answers search questions and allows your brand to rank highly on search engine results pages (SERPs) on Google or Bing. On the other, there is paid search engine marketing (SEM, sometimes also abbreviated as PPC, for “pay per click”, a subset of SEM), which, put most simply, is the process through which brands bid on certain keywords and pay to have their links appear at the top of specific SERPs.

It’s easy to see why marketers tend to put these two digital marketing methods in competition with each other. At the end of the day, they are two different approaches to dominating one relatively limited, already crowded space. But it doesn’t have to be war!

In fact, we’re here to preach that there is a different way – a middle ground, combining the strategic use of SEM tactics with a comprehensive SEO strategy. Here’s why using SEM and SEO together will score the biggest benefits – in the form of engagement, retention, and conversions – for your business:

Cover All of Your SERP Bases

One crucial element undergirding the conflict between SEO and SEM is the belief that both methods are fighting for the same real estate; heck, we may have said as much ourselves a few paragraphs ago! But, while accurate in many ways, this viewpoint is also a little off.

While both are attempting to secure a viewer’s attention, SEO and SEM are, in reality, doing so on different playing fields within the SERP. PPC ads are the only way of securing a spot in the sponsored part of the SERP, on the top and sides of the page. Meanwhile, no amount of money in the world is ever going to ensure that your content ranks organically if you don’t also take the time to ensure that it’s fully SEO optimized.

With a comprehensive search strategy in place – one that allows for both SEO content creation and PPC search ads – your brand has a leg up over the competition, as you will be able to dominate all aspects of the SERP at once. The more users see your brand listed, both as a paid promoter and among the organic search rankings, the more they will trust you to actually help them accomplish their goal.

And this is just referring to major keywords! Another advantage of SEO strategy is that you can also target highly specific, smaller bucket keywords - also known as "long tail" searches - that may be a waste of money in terms of buying ads. With a long tail-targeted content campaign in place, however, you'll be able to secure the small amount of traffic that comes through a wide variety of keywords, allowing you to expand your reach and secure even more search traffic overall. 

With all of your bases covered, you’ll gain visibility and earn trust – both of which translate to increased traffic and higher conversions rates.

Ensure a Better User Experience on Each Stage of the Buyer’s Journey

Another misconception about content marketing is that its sole function is gaming search engines for clicks. While some blackhat operators may have few goals beyond getting traffic, it’s important to realize that content serves many, many purposes beyond that.

Well-crafted, informative, engaging content comes in all shapes and sizes, and it can be used for all facets of marketing. Creating content is proven to improve retention and lead to higher conversion rates. It educates your would-be customers, as it also builds trust, establishes your credibility, and encourages visitors to follow through with your brand – whether than means immediately making a purchase, or following through with you via email or on social media.

The point is? Content has a lot of points, and can serve many different functions along each and every step of your buyer’s journey. SEM is an important first step, but it is limited in what it can accomplish if your site isn’t responsive and visually appealing; if you don’t provide user-generated reviews and testimonials; or if your written copy is misleading or hard to understand.

In other words? Clicks are one thing; content is everything else. SEM bids and PPC ads are not going to lead to long-term audience growth and conversions if they don’t lead to a site that is supported by accessible, engaging copy and design elements.

With that in mind, our team would love to get you started with the comprehensive digital marketing campaign that’s best suited to your needs! Whether you’re curious about SEO, SEM, social media marketing, email, or even web development, it’s all Geek to us, and we’d be happy to set you down the right path to online success.

Drop us a line today to get the conversation started!