PPC Keyword Research For SEO

Sherlock
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Anybody who has done SEO for more than a few weeks knows that creating a PPC campaign is a very fundamental method for doing SEO keyword research. However, not everyone knows how to do this optimally. So, I’m here to give out some pointers:

Send People To The Right Landing Page (Which Might Not Be The Best Landing Page)
Optimal PPC landing pages have few internal links, minimal text, a strong call to action & blatant conversion mechanisms. However, these pages tend not to rank well in the natural SERPS because they tend to be low in the site navigation, lack keyword diversity & don’t draw links. Your PPC campaign will have its best ROI sending people to “typical” PPC Landing Pages (and I do recommend specially designed PPC Landing Pages as a best business practice). However, if you’re testing for SEO, you need to send people to the pages that are part of your site ranking strategy, even if they won’t convert as well. Base your ROI calculations off the circumstances that most closely resemble natural search behavior.

Bid The Proper Match Type
It’s likely that part of your PPC strategy is to both target short-tail terms as well as developing long-tail keyword targets that have high ROI potential. Clearly, you’ll want to run some exact match campaigns for the short-tail terms. However, if you’re looking to expand your keyword base, run your short tail keywords using modified broad match instead of broad match. Anecdotally, I’ve found the % of irrelevancy of modified broad match keywords to be no higher than 2-3% which means you’re not wasting your money. I would avoid broad match at all costs because Google will serve far too large of your queries to keywords that will be outside your range of desired experimentation.

Turn Mobile Off (Or Keep It Separate)
Mobile CTR & Conversion Percentages will be very different on mobile devices than on desktops / tablets. If mobile is part of your strategy, you need to run a parallel mobile test. If it’s not, turn it off entirely. Mixing mobile and non-mobile traffic will skew your results to the point of making them invalid.

Try To Have Your Page Title / Meta Description Mimic Your Ad Text
Similar to the landing page advice, the best PPC ad text that you could write for Optimal CTR & Conversion won’t likely have any similarities with what Google will show in the organic SERP. So, you might consider the following:

• Closely align the title tag of your landing page with the headline of your prospective ad (allowing for the 25 character PPC headline limit). SEO best practices dictates putting both your brand and your targeted keywords in the title tag. Use a branded PPC headline in your test if your brand is the focus of your title tag. If your keyword(s) are the focus of your title tag, use a keyword-focused PPC headline.

• Closely align the meta-description of the landing page with the description lines of the ad. Google might not show your meta-description if it finds more relevant content to show a searcher…however, if you’ve done your targeting correctly, Google will likely show a text snippet that’s closely aligned with it.

In closing, PPC is a wonderful research tool to measure prospective SEO results. But if your testing methodology sucks, you’ll be making strategic SEO decisions based upon faulty conclusions.
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