Monday, April 7, 2008

Combining PPC and SEO to Completely Dominate a Niche

Alright. So recently I was examining a niche that I previously succeeded in, and decided “Why not? I’ll throw up an adwords campaign in the same niche”. Well people, that solidified the belief that PPC and SEO need to be done together, as I’ll explain in this entry. It’s pretty amazing to me how many companies will do only PPC, or ONLY seo, and not both.

How Much Traffic Really gets Driven to the Search Engine Results?
Right now CTR hovers around 20-35% on an ad I’m running in niche X that I’m also ranking for. My position is 1.5. So given that, we can assume that the upper position (#1) probably drives 30-35% of searches for that keyword to my landing page. #2 probably drives 20-25% of searches. Assuming 10% for the other placements, we’re sitting at only 20% of the actual searches for that keyword ever have people click the search results(assuming they only click one result). As a result, it seems like getting high search engine placement for that keyword is not very profitable. However, this is not the case….

So Why is That Ranking Worth it?
If we control 1 top ranked PPC ad, and 1 top ranked search engine position, we can control the entire mood of the niche. We can give people their first impression of the products, and use both things to control their thought process.

What are you Getting at XMCP?

Example 1: The Scam Approach
Let’s say we have an anti-snoring medication site. On it, we have review pages for 10 different products. We rank highly for each product name. Let’s say amongst these are My Snoring Solution(a real product with Advaliant), Snore-Be-Gone, and Nasal Noise Stopper. We also rank for the term cure snoring. Ok. Now let’s say those products have a fair amount of search traffic(My Snoring Solution is one of those “As Seen on TV” offers, so it for instance would get a lot).
We set our adwords campaign around those keywords, and promote ourselves as a “Review” site, preventing against scams. This type of ad(in my somewhat limited adwords experience, and the experiences of others who have been doing it longer) seems to get a very high CTR on it’s own. Hopefully they’re not set as copyrighted terms.
With properly phrased creatives, it should begin our goal. Casting doubt on the niche competitors. Our goal is to be seen as the authoritative source, while the others appear to be potential scammers/less trustworthy.
Note: Directly calling other products a scam is generally against the advertisers TOS, so be sure to either promote just as a review site, or include a question mark in anything involving the word scam, so it’s not a declaration.
Ok, so now that our AdWords campaign has cast a layer of initial doubt, it’s time to use the rankings to drive the point home. For our page that ranks for “cure snoring”, let’s try a title of Which Snoring Cure Works? and a meta description that says “A Lot of Products to Cure Snoring are Scams. Read our reviews and figure out which cures work”
For the product names we rank for(so long as you’re within the TOS for the advertiser) try the basic title “Is _PRODUCT_ a Scam?” or (if that’s already your adwords title) “Reviews of _PRODUCT_”.
What is Achieved Here?
With those being the first 2 things the user sees when they search for the niche, suddenly a haze of distrust is put over the entire niche.
We have effectively changed the entire way the niche is perceived by the consumer. So long as nobody else picks up on it, we are established as the authority. The light in the dark.
While the traffic may not convert as well if they decide your landing page/reviews are not trustworthy(which should be your goal), it should make your competitors appear even less trustworthy. Following the declaration that there is apparently a lot of scamming going on within the niche, the readers are going to definitely want to read a review or two of any product before they buy. Ideally, everyone else’s adwords CTR tanks, and your clicks get cheaper. Plus you get more traffic to your ranked reviewsite of the product.
Example 2: The Brand-Trust Approach

For this example, let’s say we rank for “cheap web hosts”, and own a hosting company. Since we cannot even infer our competitors are scams or inferior without fear of repercussion, we’re going to instead try and make ourselves seem trustworthy via nicer methods.
If you want to play nice with this method, conduct a survey on your current customers. Get a list of commonly used hosts in your niche, and ask them which of the list(with your own brand included, of course) provided the best value for them. They’re your customers, so in theory you should come out on top.
Set the AdWords campaign to go to a landing page with quotes from this survey. Title may just be your company name or “Cheap Web Hosts”(yay for adwords bolding), and creative may be “98% of customers say _company_ Provides the Best Value“.
Use your ranking description to point out something else that’s a big seller. A coupon, how cheap the server prices are, etc. The title should obviously contain the company name, since you’re using the adwords ad to pump up it’s credibility.
Since the 2 statements appear to come from different sources, they seem more trustworthy. Where the ad itself gets rid of the fear that they may get a crap server, the search engine page is left in a position where it can say what the people w/ that search are truly going after. “Cheap” web hosting. All angles are covered, and seemingly corroborated.
There’s a lot of expansion someone can do on these ideas (getting the PPC ad to compliment the SEO ranking). I shared a few basic examples, because I’m still formulating thoughts on some more complicated ones, and want them to still be useful when I finish these thoughts.
Don’t take my ad copy and think it will work as-is I’m still grasping the ropes of adwords, and this is just a trick I picked up on that worked. I’m sure you guys can think of better copy than what I mentioned.

Done properly, this should increase both adwords and search engine traffic to your site.

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