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SEO and PPC: First Impressions

Whether you’re an industry veteran or a recent graduate (like me), jumping into a new field or job can be daunting, especially if it’s focused on the ever-changing internet. I’m Kassidy, Smarter Searches’ newest Marketing Assistant! Graduating two months before the COVID-19 pandemic put a damper on my hopes of putting my degree to use immediately, but I was fortunate to join the team in August of 2021. That being said, my education, like many others, wasn’t focused on the importance of online strategy and techniques so I’ve been consuming all of the knowledge I can to help our clients. 

To start off, let’s break it down into simple terms. Digital marketing is made up of roughly 8 parts (depending on who you ask) including web design, analytics, content creation, blogging, email campaigns, social media, and of course, SEO and PPC. Now let’s dive in.

Search Engine Optimization

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is just that: making sure your website, pages and content are issue-free and rank when users search keywords. But it’s more complicated than pressing a button that says “fix all issues.” The process of ranking is all centered around the goal of proving to Google (the most used search engine) that your site has the most relevant and helpful solutions to queries. Google’s elusive algorithm determines just how useful your content is. Really, my first impressions are going to look like tips and processes because that’s how my brain works, so here we go:

  1. Get creative with keyword research. Find as many long-tail keywords as possible to incorporate into your content and get inside the brain of your consumers.
  2. Make sure you pay attention to your crawl results and fix errors accordingly. Meta description and ALT text for pages and media focused on keyword research will do wonders for you.
  3. Submit your sitemap to Google Search Console after you finish edits from your crawl. Without indexing these new changes, Google won’t know it exists.
  4. No keyword stuffing- Google thinks it’s spammy and so do I. When optimizing content, don’t overload it with keywords.

Pay Per Click 

Now let’s move on to PPC, or Pay Per Click advertising. Google Ads is the primary platform you use for setting up and tracking everything. The framework is simple but requires some intense keyword research. Starting with the account structure, you begin by forming different broad campaigns you want to run. Within those campaigns, you have ad groups which will then be broken down into 10-25 keywords and 2-3 matching ads. The overarching theme is to start broad, then narrow down. The research I keep talking about kicks in when figuring out how much your daily click budget will be and how much you’re willing to bid on certain keywords. With that being said, here are my PPC tips:

  1. Make sure you find the long-tail keywords with an appropriate CPC (cost per click). These terms are going to result in the right consumers coming across your ad and turning into conversions. Just remember that the higher volume a term has doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best word to put in your campaign! Those can often cost a fortune with little or no return on investment.
  2. Don’t set it and forget it. Constantly look back at your budgets to make sure the account isn’t overspending. Setting the spend to automatic is a good idea but if there’s a strict budget on the line, you must check often to ensure you’re spending the right amount. Google can actually spend 10-20% more of your daily budget each day, so you must pay close attention to the actual spend. 
  3. Remember your objective for the campaign. Sometimes increasing impressions is the goal, but other times, conversions are where you want to excel. You may have to change your consideration and bid strategy to accurately hit your goals. 

Hopefully, after reading my thoughts on SEO and PPC you will have a good starting point for diving into more complex topics. I recommend looking through the Smarter Searches Blog to find more answers to all things digital marketing – it’s a goldmine!

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