Google Ads and Search Engine Opti­mi­sa­tion (SEO) are often han­dled sep­a­rate­ly but, togeth­er, they are a good team.

Find­ing the right key­words is a very impor­tant step for Search Engine Opti­mi­sa­tion. Here, we explain exact­ly how Google Ads can help — and how you can see if your SEO strat­e­gy is suc­cess­ful.

Imag­ine what it would be like if you could esti­mate the suc­cess of a Search Engine Opti­mi­sa­tion (SEO) cam­paign in advance. Imag­ine if you could say that after a one-year SEO strat­e­gy plan has been imple­ment­ed, this will result in a month­ly prof­it of £50,000!

Most deci­sion-mak­ers believe that Search Engine Opti­mi­sa­tion is an uncon­trol­lable process; absolute­ly unpre­dictable and even less plannable. You hear it again and again: “SEO does not work. We’ve tried for years.” That is part­ly true.

Common SEO Mistakes

The rea­sons for SEO fail­ure can be many and var­ied: miss­ing OnPage opti­miza­tion, doubt­ful link build­ing, bad con­tent, or insuf­fi­cient bud­get.

In many cas­es, how­ev­er, the prob­lem is quite dif­fer­ent. At the begin­ning of the project, “only” a clas­si­cal key­word search was made, but real User Data was not col­lect­ed. This prob­lem can be solved by a sim­ple test with Google Ads, Google’s online adver­tis­ing pro­gram that can be used to place text ads in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

Search Engine Opti­mi­sa­tion is not a guess­ing game. You can also check whether the select­ed search terms are the right ones by using paid search ads, but Google Ads cam­paigns are still far too rarely used for SEO.

Common SEO Mistakes

SEO Forecasting With Google Ads

For the suc­cess of an SEO cam­paign, it is com­plete­ly unin­ter­est­ing how many direc­to­ry entries were made, guest con­tri­bu­tions pub­lished, or pages opti­mized. It doesn’t even mat­ter if the web­site receives thou­sands of vis­i­tors through organ­ic search. Rank­ings are also an ego trip, rather than a good indi­ca­tor of a suc­cess­ful cam­paign.

What real­ly mat­ters is how much prof­it the SEO traf­fic gen­er­ates. Google Ads is the per­fect test­ing ground for SEO. The tool makes it pos­si­ble to pre­dict the mon­e­tary val­ue of a suc­cess­ful SEO cam­paign fair­ly accu­rate­ly, even before time and mon­ey have been invest­ed.

A sim­ple test deter­mines the future suc­cess of an SEO cam­paign. What you can do: You do exten­sive Key­word Research and start a Google Ads cam­paign based on these key­words. After a few weeks, you will eval­u­ate the data and know which key­words “work” and which ones you can safe­ly neglect. If you don’t take this step, you will risk poor results even with good rank­ings. The test quick­ly shows you whether or not you will have pos­i­tive results in an SEO cam­paign.

A Practical Example of the Combination of Google Ads and SEO

A fit­ness train­er offers a 12-week pro­gram, which takes place pre­dom­i­nant­ly online. It is not a clas­sic per­son­al train­ing in the gym with equip­ment but adapts to the wish­es of the cus­tomer. In this way, an equip­ment-free train­ing plan can also be cre­at­ed. Which key­words should the web­site be opti­mized for? “Per­son­al Train­er” or “Fit­ness Coach”? One thing is cer­tain: The search terms are all quite com­pet­i­tive, espe­cial­ly in big cities like Lon­don or New York. So it takes a lot of time, mon­ey, and know-how to rank in the search results.

He decides to hire an SEO free­lancer, who will need six to nine months to rank his site at the top of Google search results for these key­words. Now thou­sands of vis­i­tors come to the web­site every month, but pur­chas­es and inquiries are hard­ly gen­er­at­ed. So, you try Con­ver­sion Rate Opti­mi­sa­tion. This increas­es the con­ver­sion rate a lit­tle bit, but the project doesn’t pay off any­way.

Does such a clas­sic SEO blind flight make sense from your point of view? Prob­a­bly not. And how can it be that a com­peti­tor, who only receives 500 vis­i­tors per month on his web­site, makes much more turnover and has a very pos­i­tive Return on Invest­ment (ROI)?

A sim­ple Google Ads cam­paign at the begin­ning could have pre­vent­ed this finan­cial deba­cle. You think you know the inten­tion behind a search but, in real­i­ty, you are com­plete­ly wrong.

In this case, prospec­tive cus­tomers are look­ing for an “Online Work­out Pro­gram”. The key­words “Per­son­al Train­er” and “Fit­ness Coach”, on the oth­er hand, only attract vis­i­tors who are inter­est­ed in a clas­si­cal solu­tion — they are not the tar­get group of the train­er. The users, there­fore, can­not find what they are look­ing for.

The web­site is rank­ing well in the organ­ic search results, but obvi­ous­ly for the “wrong” key­words. So much work for noth­ing.

Would SEO Pay Off?

To run our SEO test, a rough key­word search with the Google Key­word Plan­ner is suf­fi­cient. You must also set up Google Ads con­ver­sion track­ing. Here, you can see exact­ly how much you have spent per key­word and what you end­ed up with. Usu­al­ly, a break-even point (where expen­di­tures and rev­enues are equal) is suf­fi­cient to jus­ti­fy an SEO cam­paign.

Anoth­er advan­tage: A paid search cam­paign allows you to esti­mate the costs per inquiry or sale. In this way, oth­er chan­nels can also be bet­ter eval­u­at­ed.

Real User Data vs. Keyword Research

You’re prob­a­bly think­ing, “Great, so I don’t just have to invest in SEO, but I’m also spend­ing a lot of mon­ey on Ads. Sure­ly I can neglect that. I know exact­ly which key­words are the right ones.”

An SEO cam­paign starts with com­pre­hen­sive key­word research. Many peo­ple only use the Google Key­word Plan­ner and may also look at the com­pe­ti­tion. After all, the com­pe­ti­tion has to know which key­words make the most prof­it, right?

In addi­tion to search queries, the Key­word Plan­ner also pro­vides the month­ly search vol­ume and the costs per click for Search Ads. A key­word with a high click price is usu­al­ly inter­pret­ed as par­tic­u­lar­ly lucra­tive. The log­ic: If a lot is offered, it must be earned accord­ing­ly.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly wrong! There is a good chance that the com­pe­ti­tion will not car­ry out any tests, have no mea­sure­ment con­cept, and work hop­ing for the best. Maybe it is still worth­while, but why not max­i­mize the suc­cess by a small test in advance?

The infor­ma­tion from a Key­word Research Tool can nev­er replace real test data from an AdWords cam­paign.

Why Some SEO Agencies Avoid This Strategy?

Why Some SEO Agencies Avoid This Strategy

SEO agen­cies avoid this method because it could become clear that an invest­ment in SEO is not prof­itable. That’s bad for busi­ness, and there­fore skill­ful­ly ignored.

Note: I do not claim that every agency that avoids this method is dubi­ous.

Anoth­er favorite argu­ment against Search Ads for SEO is that the so-called long tail, the long key­words, are neglect­ed. This is part­ly to be agreed, but rough tests are nec­es­sary in advance to align the cam­paign. Even if the true val­ue of SEO is hid­den in the long tail, the poten­tial can already be checked through short tail key­words.

Using Google Ads to Buy Back Keyword Data

The times were good when Google Ana­lyt­ics still had all the key­word data. Look­ing at the dig­i­tal ana­lyt­ics tool, it was clear which organ­ic key­words gen­er­at­ed how many sales. A dream! Then came “Secure Search”, bet­ter known as “not pro­vid­ed”. Sud­den­ly, the search terms used by web­site vis­i­tors were no longer dis­played in analy­sis tools, but hid­den behind the mean­ing­less “not pro­vid­ed”.

First, a small part of the access key­words was hid­den. Today, we are in most of the nich­es at over 95 per­cent “hid­den key­words”. This makes SEO eval­u­a­tions more com­plex and less infor­ma­tive than before. Of course, you can use the tar­get page to esti­mate which search term was used, but it is sim­ply not the same.

This is anoth­er rea­son why I always rec­om­mend an addi­tion­al Search ad cam­paign to cus­tomers — not just at the begin­ning, but on an ongo­ing basis. With AdWords, it is pos­si­ble to buy back the “hid­den” key­word data. These help SEO from a strate­gic point of view and gen­er­ate addi­tion­al traf­fic.

Conclusion

SEO with­out Google Ads is like fly­ing blind today. You achieve suc­cess only through “Tri­al and Error”. This is not only unpro­fes­sion­al but also a waste of resources. Even if the bud­get is low, Paid Search Ads must be part of an SEO Strat­e­gy. Not nec­es­sar­i­ly as a mar­ket­ing chan­nel, but as a com­pass.

SOURCE: Medi­um