Using PPC to Enhance your Organic Traffic Strategy
This is the second in a series of stories about building multi-million dollar web sites using a White Hat SEO approach. Today, we are going to focus on the concept of using PPC campaigns to help your launch succeed. As the thrust of this series is to develop sites whose value is based on organic traffic, this article is not specifically about PPC development and management, but on how PPC can help you improve your organic strategy.
Of course, PPC can provide a short term revenue stream, and well managed campaign can net you some cash as well. There are a lot of people out there who are really good at this, and know how to manage massive PPC campaigns.
How PPC helps Organic Site Development
But even if your focus is organic traffic, you can still use PPC as tool in your bag of tricks. It can help you with several types of problems:
- Early stage site design (which will be featured in another article in this series) is tricky business, involving the matching up the content you are able to generate with a site hierarchy (driven by keyword research), and a web site template design (to expose the target keywords). We believe that you need to put your initial site design out there, after doing your keyword and content research, and then test it, and evolve. The fastest way to test it, while you are waiting for organic traffic to build, is to use PPC to bring in some immediate traffic. Use this traffic to tweak your site hierarchy and page templates in the early stages, while it’s still relatively easy to change.
- In addition, if your site is in a new field for you, you probably have little advance data on how to optimize the conversion rates of your pages. PPC can be used to tune your pages to optimize your results. You will need to have good web analytic tools in place to get the most out of this. Be careful though – tuning your pages for conversion rates can lead you to develop pages that do not play well during reviews of your site by people that are considering linking to you. You need to strike a balance between high quality content and revenue. PPC tests can help you figure out how to do that.
- If you are like most webmasters, you have limited content development resources, and you need to prioritize them. Using PPC, you can figure out where visitors most readily convert into revenue, and focus your content development efforts in related areas.
Paying for it
Of course, PPC tests do take money. If you are pursuing a highly competitive market as is the theme of this article series, you need to make money in the process. To do this, you need to use good web analytics and bid management tools.
Good bid management tools, such as Keyword Max and Search Optimizer are worth their weight in gold (OK – since software does not weigh anything, assume I mean the weight of the computer they are running on). We have taken campaigns that were running break even, installed one of these tools, and been at a 30% margin (with no material change in the monthly spend) within 3 months.
This provides some good cash flow, while you are collecting data to drive your organic site development. If you are really good at PPC, you can make some pretty good money at this part of the business.
However, we still view the bigger win as being the build up of organic site traffic and revenue. The margin is much higher. In addition, if you plan to sell your site to the highest bidder some day, they will pay for organically generated revenue, not for the PPC based revenue.
- Site Hierarchy and Keyword Selection
- More on Building Content
- How to get links
- How to monitor results, and what to do about it