Businesses often have the misconception that Google Ads and SEO are automatically connected and work in concert with one another. This assumption just simply isn’t true. Though both platforms are Google focused, they require completely different set of skills and strategies in order to win.
In this piece, we’ll walk through the difference between Google Ads and SEO and most importantly how they do and don’t work together.
What is Google Ads?
Google Ads is a pay to play platform where businesses and websites bid on keywords for higher visibility on Google search results to display ads. These ads help businesses receive higher visibility as they get to have their site listed on specially designated areas where these ads show. You can think of Google Ads similar to a FastPass at Disneyland. Pay for the service and you get to jump to the front of the line, or in this case allow your website to jump on Google’s sponsored search results if your budget allows. Google AdWords is a pay to play platform so, if you stop paying you will no longer appear and exist through any of their ad results.
What is SEO?
How SEO and AdWords do not work together
I always find it easier to understand a new concept by first explaining what it is not. Having a successful SEO strategy resulting in your site ranking highly on organic search results has no influence on how much you will be paying Google Ads. Having an SEO optimized website does not influence the pricing for your bids just like paying for ads will not improve your website’s organic search results.
Many business owners have this sneaking suspicion that since Google owns both platforms, they must influence each other. However, this is simply not the case.
How SEO and AdWords work together
Despite these two marketing mediums not having a causal relationship, they can still be used effectively together. SEO and AdWords can work together through the implementation of a well planned and successfully executed strategy.
Using Google Ads as a Research Tool for Successful SEO Optimization
Oftentimes, AdWords is actually a great tactic used by businesses to find what potential users may be searching for. This technique can save businesses time by allowing them to scout and figure out what relevant keywords are most likely to garner their success through SEO. Google Ads does not require you to wait for 6 to 8 months to rank for a keyword, rather you can buy ads to test it out. It allows businesses to hone in on their most successfully clicked search keywords and phrases as well as the ability to track conversion rates through your website and business phone number.
On average an SEO campaign targeting the first page in rankings can take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years depending on various factors. It can be quite disappointing and a waste of time and resources to optimize for specific keywords in SEO, waiting months to see results, only to find out the keywords are not bringing your business the relevant traffic and conversions your business needs.
Using Google Ads to Improve Click Through Rates and Conversions
Google Ads provides a medium that provides granular data that SEO just cannot recipricoate. Through Google Ads you can see how many people clicked your ad, how many visited the landing page and if they ended up acting. This provides you a closed experiment where you can track the ultimate effectiveness of the landing page.
These insights can also be used for your SEO when you have pages that are ranking extremely well, but can have their conversion rates improved. By running Google Ads, you can test multiple different landing pages and designs to see which resonates the best. From what you learn in these tests, you can apply it to the doorway pages that are ranking well in your SEO, to maximize their conversion potential.
In addition, you can use what you learn with the Google Ads headlines and descriptions and use them on SEO title tags and meta descriptions to improve click through rates there as well.
Using SEO to identify potential new opportunities for Google Ads
Search engines are too vast and large to truly be in complete 100% control of everything going on. What this means is that as your site continues to grow, optimize and rank, there will be new keywords that your site will begin to rank for. Most of the time the keywords will be irrelevant to your bottom line and can be ignored, however sometimes there are gems that you can find. Sometimes this happens because there are keywords that you are unaware that people are using to locate a service or business like yours. On other occasions, there are keywords that you have begun to rank for that you aren’t actively tracking, but you had at one point considered.
As the site grows with content and gains more visibility, SEO will organically open a window into new areas that you can expand into. Many tools exist like SEMRush, Ahrefs, Moz and Google Search Console which can give you a glimpse into what keywords you are ranking for. Once your site initially begins to rank in new keyword groups, you can use this to expand your Google Ads campaigns.
Oftentimes this can be one of the most rewarding parts of keyword discovery, where organically your search engine marketing begins to uncover new opportunities that you didn’t know existed. The advantage of having SEO power this organic discovery, is that it will help facilitate research without wasting spend with Google Ads when you are unsure about certain keyword groups.
A successful strategy using Google AdWords an SEO
AdWords and SEO do not have a causal relationship where investing in one automatically means you get a leg up in the other. They can, however, work together strategically. By investing in Google AdWords initially for your site you will be able to gather valuable information and statistics that will allow you and your team to build and initiate a relevant and effective SEO approach for your website ensuring that the keywords you are trying to rank for, provide relevant traffic and conversions.
By understanding the benefits and limitations of both Google Ads and SEO you can use this information to create a holistic search engine marketing strategy.