3 ways to use your SEA knowledge to give your SEO a boost

With ad budgets being reduced right now, many companies are turning more to SEO to boost their business. Here are 3 ways to use your SEA powers to give your SEO a boost.

Ninke Hensbergen

Ninke Hensbergen

Growth Hacker

Google Ad Spend is dropping fast  

Lately we’ve seen ad budgets being reduced and stopped left, right and center. The good news: At least it is finally cheaper to advertise on Google Ads. The bad news: That sadly it isn’t even an option right now for many companies.  

We get it, when revenue goes down, ad budgets are a quick and easy place to cut costs. Suddenly as a SEA Specialist you’ve gone from super busy to twiddling your thumbs wondering what next. How can you ensure you use your knowledge to add value to your company? How can you help your company grow right now? 

Think before you Stop your campaigns 

Yes, stopping campaigns will cut all your costs to zero but it also kills your learnings.  

 

There are many other ways to reduce the costs without doing so, we’d advise you to always consider: 

 

  1. Check if you have a lot of waste in your search term report and add negative keywords. 
  2. Try a different bid strategy to see if this can help your advertising become more cost effective.  
  3.  Audit your account and see if you have added all the needed elements: 
    1. Min. 3 sitelinks. 
    2. 1 responsive search ad in every ad group. 
    3. First and third party audiences on observation on campaign level.  
    4. Check for keywords with a Low Quality score and pause those first.  

 

For more SEA advice feel free to see how we can help you improve your SEA setup.

How can you still create growth with less or no budgets? 

There is an alternative to building your foundation instead, in order to grow further: SEO. Too often we’ve seen SEA and SEO specialists on opposite sides of the playing field. However, we think they should be on the same team. When it comes to SEA and SEO 1 + 1 = 3 if not much more.  

That is why we believe you should be using this time and your expertise to help improve your website’s SEO. As we mentioned in our what is new in growth hacking article, more and more companies are focusing more on SEO and email instead.  

Here are three concrete and actionable ways of how to get started: 

1. Turn your best converting ads into new and improved Title Tags and Meta Descriptions 

Take a look at the Click Through Rate of your SEA landing pages in Google Search Console: 

Which ones are performing below what you could expect for their position? Could you gain more traffic by improving the copy?  

You can check this by going to Search Console -> Performance -> Pages -> Order by CTR: 

 

 

 

You can use the following for benchmarks to give you an idea of what is ‘good’ in terms of CTR vs average position (as that also influences it)

 

Source: Smartinsights 

 

 

Of course, there are other elements that impact your organic CTR (E.g. relevancy, amount of Ads / SERP above, etc) but it is still worthwhile improving your top landing pages based on your learnings. 

So, look at your ads as well as what performs best for the landing pages main organic keywords. Then use this to improve the title tags and meta description. Definitely measure the changes in CTR after a month for the main keywords after updating it. 

2. Optimise your landing pages 

Whether you are a SEA, SEO, or Growth Hacker you know that optimising your landing pages is key. However, with SEA we are often so busy with our campaigns that we forget to take the time to improve our landing pages. No more excuses now!  

If possible, get quantitative and qualitative data to figure out what is and isn’t working, think of: 

  • Analysing event data of the page (if you are event tracking) 
  • Setup user recordings (we use Hotjar) and analysing these 
  • Analysing heatmaps of the page 
  • Running a small poll or exit popup on the page to see what people are missing / why they are not converting.  

 

We love the LIFT model for a quick sanity check of your landing page: 

The LIFT model

Source: Widerfunnel

Every page should speak to these principles. Ideally, you’d A/B test the changes to see what works and what doesn’t but if you don’t have the traffic for that, still improve it based on your insights. 

Do not look just in terms of UX but also in terms of the keywords: 

  1. Does your landing page speak to the intent of that keyword? 
  2. Do you have related keywords (look at search terms vs what is used on the page)? 

Finally, your high converting ads can also be helpful again (go winning ads!), this time in improving your page title and subtitle. So many companies forget to ensure there is pre/post click relevancy for their landing page: does your ad title and landing page title match up? 

3. Rank for those annoyingly expensive yet converting keywords  

You may have keywords that are converting but their costs are just too high or maybe the CPC is evily creeping up as the competition increases over time. You’ve done everything as amazing SEA Specialist to try and get the costs down but even you can’t hack the Google Ads Bidding System.  

Well how about checking their SEO potential? Could you potentially rank for them via SEO? 

Here is a quick and dirty way to check: 

  1. Look at the Authority of the current top results via your SEO tool or via the free MOZ Chrome Extension (this reports domain authority) 
  2. Are they near or in line with yours?
    1. Yes -> Then you have a chance you could rank there. 
    2. No ->  Then the focus should be more on building your Domain Authority via backlinks or find other keywords to start with.  

Ideally, you check the actual ranking in the SEO tool but the MOZ Chrome Extension will already give you a good idea of what the competition in.  

For example, take the keyword “Google Analytics Audit”, if we look there with the MOZ Chrome Extension we see results varying between 27 – 81 in terms of Domain Authority for the first page: 

 

First four organic results 

Here websites with a lower domain authority rank above the highest one from Google Data Studio (Domain Authority: 81), probably because it is not what the user is looking for. If we have a domain authority of 30+ (which we do 😊) we have a chance to rank here if we create strong content. 

To figure out what strong content is needed look at:  

  1. Analyze the content that ranks now 
  • What format is, e.g. video/photos/text  
  • What type of content is, e.g. informative/entertaining  
  1. What related terms appear at the end of the page to see what people are looking for 
  2. How can your content be better than what already exists? E.g. more extensive, quicker, simpler, etc.  

 

Time to get your SEO hat on 

Now we aren’t claiming that because you’ve done SEA you know everything about SEO (sorry!). However, you do have a head start. So definitely use this time not only to implement the above but also to learn more about SEO (check out our list of free growth hacking resources to get started). That being said SEO is still best learned on the go by doing: start testing! Start implementing the above and analyzing the results. 

If you are not sure where to start with SEO in general, we offer a quick scan to give you an actionable list of what to work on. 

Ninke Hensbergen

Ninke Hensbergen

Growth Hacker

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