PPC’s Newest Required Skill: SEO

tumblr_niqo9zV3jV1smcbm7o1_500GASP. Yes, I said it. I’m writing about a hunch here. Do I think you must have SEO skills to be a PPC pro? No. Do I think having a basic understanding of the principles of SEO could potentially be invaluable in the future? An emphatic “Probably!”. Now, I’m not saying we as PPC pros should start obsessing over the next animal-themed update that’s going to impact Google’s secret sauce of an algorithm. But we should understand at least the fundamentals of the job that someone who does obsess over those updates does. Here’s why.

Quality Score Impacts

Let’s start off slow. In AdWords and Bing, a factor in your keyword’s quality score is Landing Page Relevance. This is determined by using a few factors including whether or not your landing page is related to the keyword. Now, as advanced as Google is, it’s unlikely they’re basing these judgments on things not found in the copy of the page or the meta information. So although it might not be extremely impactful, even just understanding the basics of SEO can help you increase QS and landing page relevancy to improve performance.

Targeting Types

Over the last few years, Google and Bing have continued to roll out new advertising options. The first of which was PLA’s, now Shopping Campaigns. These ad types run solely off of product feeds that are usually very closely related (if not identical) to site content. Although campaign structure and bidding strategy can be extremely important to Shopping Campaign success, you *can* run a single product group campaign targeting your entire feed and potentially see some solid results. No major PPC skills required. The bigger impacts on performance here will be the product descriptions and titles. Potentially more like ad writing, but still in a more historically SEO form.

The second, and more recent introduction of SEO-dependent targeting types is Dynamic Search Ads with Google. Where Shopping Campaigns rely on the information found in a product feed, DSA actually relies completely on the information found on your site. In the most recent announcement about the new DSA ads format, Google explicitly says:

“Using Google’s organic web crawling technology, DSA scans your website to determine which search queries to show ads for.”

If that’s not advertising based on SEO, I don’t know what is. You as the advertiser only need to indicate the page, folder, or website you would like Google to automatically advertise for you, write a couple lines of copy (and I mean a couple), set some bids, and you’re off to the races.

For each of these targeting types, there’s a great deal that’s somewhat out of the PPC pro’s hands. But depending on your client’s business or your company’s offerings, it’s going to be up to you to be able to help optimize these campaigns for the best performance. Without having a basic understanding of SEO factors, it’s going to be hard to make suggestions of what to adjust on site or in feed to make your performance increases.

Are all non-SEO skill related campaign types going away? No. And I honestly can never see the major search engines getting rid of search advertising. (Knocks furiously on all the wood.) But that doesn’t mean that they will slow down their introduction of SEO-based targeting options. For better or worse for the advertiser, it makes setting up campaigns that much easier. What do you think? Am I just being crazy or should we all start reading at least a couple SEO related blog posts a month?

Comments (9)

  1. Totally agree. SEO and even social media marketing is critical for PPC. And it’s not just about DSA and Landing Page Quality score (though those are important) – i think it’s mostly about Click Through Rates! Search and Display Ads that get the most clicks usually leverage emotional triggers that compel people to click on them – think of buzzfeed / upworthy click-bait-y titles. SEO (and content marketers) know how to write headlines with crazy-high CTRs, which in turn raises QS, dramatically lowering CPC and increasing impression share. (uh-oh i’m ranting about QS again – oops haha).

  2. Thanks Larry! I agree, all of these skills can be mixed and mingled across each discipline. Each has something to learn (and leverage) from the other for overall success.

  3. I would even go so far as to say that the interaction and dependencies that exist between all forms of on-line marketing including seo, website design, content, social media interactions, email campaigns, etc. require a growing knowledge of them all. Even if your not handling them all you need a decent knowledge in order to work effectively with whoever is handling them. This would even include traditional advertising such as signage, print, TV and graphic work. It all has to work together.

  4. I couldn’t agree with you more, Deborah. We actually wrote a series on that not too long ago (shameless plug). All of these pieces work together in a crazy cool symphony, so if one piece is off, the others will suffer. Knowing how each interacts can help you make suggestions for optimizations as well as troubleshoot if things start to go wonky. Definitely valuable to understand the bigger picture.

  5. I agree. SEO works with all the obvious stuff like links and keywords etc. But also social signals are a big part to play now. If you have a good PPC campaign resulting in good conversions and positive social engagement this will also help the clients SEO campaign too. For me the two and all other parts of the biggest branding jigsaw go hand in hand.

  6. Hello Michelle,
    Good article! SEO is the natural or organic way of gaining traffic and PPC is the paid way. Real benefits can be achieved when you follow seo techniques. Thanks a lot.

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