The Insider's Guide: Use Google Ads to Fuel SEO

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes.

Businesses often wrestle with the choice between focusing efforts on SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) or Google Ads (formerly known as AdWords). While both are essential for improving your online visibility, there’s compelling evidence suggesting that investing in Google Ads before a full-blown SEO campaign can significantly boost your keyword strategy. Here’s why:

1. Instant, Actionable Data

Unlike SEO, where results can take weeks or even months to materialise, Google Ads delivers near-instantaneous data on how people search for your business, products, or services. This data includes:

  • Search Volume: How many people are searching for specific keywords.
  • Click-Through Rate (CTR): The percentage of people who see your ad and click on it, signifying interest levels.
  • Conversions: Whether those clicks turn into leads, sales, or desired actions on your site.

Understanding these metrics gives you immediate insight into the keywords generating the most interest and conversions.

2. Testing the Waters

Google Ads lets you experiment with a wide range of keywords without committing significant SEO resources. You can quickly identify:

  • High-Value Keywords: These drive the most relevant traffic and conversions.
  • Competitive Keywords: These might be expensive to target with ads but provide valuable insights into areas worth focusing on organically with SEO.
  • Negative Keywords: These are terms you don’t want to appear for, preventing wasted ad spend.

3. A/B Testing for Optimisation

One of the most powerful features of Google Ads is A/B testing. This allows you to run different ad variations with slight changes in keywords or ad copy. See what works best in driving clicks and conversions, then apply these lessons to your SEO strategy by targeting those keywords in your website’s content and metadata.

4. Targeting Beyond Basic Reach

Even with excellent SEO, some valuable keywords are highly competitive, making it difficult to rank organically. Google Ads ensures you maintain visibility for those terms, filling the gap until your SEO efforts fully kick in.

How to Use Google Ads to Fuel Your SEO

  • Start with a Focused List:

    • Keyword Research Tools: Utilise tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, or Ahrefs to brainstorm potential keywords. These tools provide insights into search volumes, competitiveness, and related terms your audience might be using.
    • Think Like Your Customer: Put yourself in your target audience’s shoes. What would they search to find your products or services? Include both general terms and more specific long-tail keywords.
  • Create Targeted Ad Groups:

    • Organisation is Key: Don’t just dump all your keywords into one big pile. Instead, group them based on themes and user intent. For example, a cafe in Fitzroy might have ad groups for “cafes Fitzroy” and “buy coffee beans” (if they sell bags separately).
    • Specificity Wins: Tightly focused ad groups improve your ad relevance, leading to higher click-through rates and better data.
  • Monitor and Analyse:

    • Metrics That Matter: Track not just clicks, but also impressions (how often your ad is shown), click-through-rate (CTR), and most importantly, conversions.
    • Go Beyond the Surface: Dig into the search terms report within Google Ads, this will show what people actually typed to trigger your ad, uncovering potentially valuable new keywords.
  • Integrate into SEO Strategy:

    • Prioritise Website Content: Focus on incorporating high-performing keywords naturally into your existing website pages’ body text, headings (H1, H2, etc.), and meta descriptions.
    • Content Creation Power-Up: Identify gaps where you could create new blog posts, articles, or product pages addressing keywords with high search volume and purchase intent.
    • Refining for Success: Google Ads helps you see terms that might be too expensive to consistently target with ads. Focus your SEO efforts on these for long-term organic growth.

In Summary

Investing in Google Ads before diving fully into SEO isn’t just about driving immediate traffic; it’s about acquiring actionable data to power a more effective and efficient long-term SEO strategy. By leveraging the insights from Google Ads, you can significantly boost the success of your SEO efforts – saving time and money!

Remember: Google Ads and SEO work best in tandem. Once you’ve identified high-performing keywords, continued SEO efforts will help you maintain organic visibility even as you scale back your ad spend over time.

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