Many advertisers use Google AdWords as their major PPC network. However, in addition to using AdWords for getting paid traffic to your site, it can also be used for SEO. Here are some ideas how you can use AdWords for SEO.
1. For Keyword Research
The most valuable use of AdWords for SEO is to research keywords. Keywords are
the basis of any SEO campaign and even if you are an expert in your niche, you should
always research keywords simply because users frequently search for quite unexpected
keywords and keyphrases you as an expert will never think of. Needless to say, what
matters most for high rankings is which keywords your target audience is searching for,
not which keywords you as an expert think are most popular in a particular niche.
In order to find what users are searching for, you need a keyword research tool. It is true
that there are many special (free and paid) keyword research tools but Google AdWords
Keyword Tool is light years ahead of them all. It is simple to use AdWords to research
keywords. You can either enter the URL of your site or put in some seed keywords, the
tool will then automatically generate a whole bunch of suggested keywords. Look at the
results and shortlist all the keywords that seem relevent and have a decent global search
You may want to rank well for ALL the generated keywords, but its best to focus all
your efforts on a selected few. The idea now is to find keywords that are relatively easy
to optimize and yet have a decent search volume. These would be the keywords with
the least compitetion in Google. Go to Google.com and enter each of your short listed
keywords (one at a time). It is best if you search for the exact phrase, so surround your
keyword with double quotes.
Note how many web results there are for each of the phrases. Now that you have
collected the ‘Number of web results’ for each keyword, calculate competition ratio by
divding it’s ‘Global search volume’ by the ‘Number of web results’. The keywords with the
higher ratios are the easier ones to optimize.
You can now start a SEO campaign for your keywords however you’ll see next, it might
be much wiser to start an AdWords campaign instead.
2. To Ensure that the Keywords You Have Picked Convert Well
After you have picked your keywords, you need to verify if these keywords really work
for you – i.e. if they convert properly. No matter how precise you’ve been when picking
your keywords, if you don’t test them in practice, you can never know for sure if they
work well or don’t. You can pick lucrative keywords with high global search volume and
low levels of competition and still end nowhere.
For instance, for this website – webconfs.com we could try optimizing for the
keyword “Search Engine Optimization”. It could take a year or so with a LOT of effort to
reach the first page on Google for “Search Engine Optimization” and still one can never
be sure this will happen.
However, let’s pretend that this happens – We manage to top Google for “Search Engine
Optimization” after a year of hard SEO work. To our greatest disappointment, even
the first place for “Search Engine Optimization” on Google did’nt bring the expected
results because the bounce rate for this particular keyword turned out to be very high.
Since we do not provide SEO Services a lot of people reaching us via “Search Engine
Optimization” may NOT be getting what they’re looking for. Instead, lesser popular
keywords, such as “SEO Tips” or “SEO Guide” might have lower bounce rates and may
actually perform better than “Search Engine Optimization” did for us.
The result is not surprising but the price paid is. If we had launched an AdWords
campaign, it would have saved a lot of trouble. We could have spent $20-50 on AdWords
for “Search Engine Optimization” and it would have taken us a week or less to figure that
the bounce rate for this keyword is very high and it makes no sense to do organic SEO for
it. These $20-50 on AdWords would have spared a year of wasted SEO efforts.
3. For Getting a Better CTR with Your Existing Rankings
In addition to keyword research, AdWords is a valuable tool for getting a better CTR
(Click Thru Rate) with your existing rankings. You might rank well for a given keyword,
get a lot of traffic, and still be unable to monetize this traffic because your CTR is low.
The reasons for this might be various but inadequate title and description could be a very
AdWords can also help you get better CTR with your existing rankings. For instance, if
you run ad AdWords campaign and you are satisfied with the conversion/performance,
you might want to keep changing your ad title and description until you feel you have
reached the maximum CTR for your keywords.
Sure, it might take you a couple of tries till you find the winning combination of a title
and a description and you might even lower your CTR in the process but once you
find this magical combination of a title and description, just copy them as the title and
description for your page in order to maximize your organic search CTR as well.
4. For Geographic Targeting
One more good use of AdWords for SEO is geotargeting. If you bid on traffic from many
geographic locations, you can use Google Analytics to compare how different locations
convert. It is quite natural to have significant discrepancies in the conversions for the
same keyword among the countries.
When you go to Google Analytics and see which countries are converting best, you can
invest more effort in them. For instance, you can create local pages for these countries or
target the geo-specific keywords with exceptionally good conversion rates.
AdWords is a really valuable tool not only for advertisers. It started as a tool for advertisers but its use is not restricted to them alone. For many publishers and SEO experts AdWords is the most valuable tool because even a moderate AdWords campaigncan give you valuable insights and save you a lot of time and money to optimize forwords, which don’t work for you.