How to Achieve the Best Results for PPC & SEO


Fundamentally, we at WordStream believe in 10 critically important best practices that are the key for both paid and organic search success:

(Drum roll, please...)

1. Your Keywords are a Valuable, Proprietary Asset

Understanding the search queries that people actually use to find the products & services that are relevant to your business, and the way that you categorize, organize, and prioritize the keyword data represents a crucial piece of competitive intelligence. Building a proprietary, comprehensive, up-to-date and well-researched keyword taxonomy is the foundation of any successful SEO and/or PPC effort.

2. Keyword Research Should be Personalized and Based on Real Data

The problem with a typical keyword suggestion tool is it provides suggestions of keywords that might be relevant to your business, and traffic or opportunity estimates that are probably wrong. True keyword research should be based on real searches and actual outcomes on your website.

3. Keyword Grouping & Organization is Critical to Long-Term PPC & SEO Success

In PPC, this means constructing well-organized, targeted campaigns and ad groups and landing pages. In SEO, it means effectively targeting keywords with on-site content while creating search-friendly navigation.

4. PPC & SEO Should be Continuous & Iterative

Much of the power of search as a marketing vehicle is that there is so much that you can measure and react to. If you aren't committed to PPC & SEO as iterative activities, you're giving back most of the channel's superior ROI.

5. Negative Keyword Discovery & Expansion is Critical to PPC & SEO Success

Unearthing all keywords you shouldn't be bidding on can have a drastic impact on both your overall paid search costs, both by reducing irrelevant clicks, but also by improving your click-through-rates and Quality Scores which, further impacts your overall cost per click and first page bids. And if you're weeding out irrelevant terms from your PPC keywords research, why not have those same terms removed from your SEO keywords research as well?

6. Successful SEO & PPC Requires Connecting Analytics with Action

Your insights need to be actionable and your actions need to be informed by data.

7. PPC efforts can be Used to Inform and Optimize SEO Efforts, & Vice Versa

Valuable insights can be gleaned by analyzing SEO & PPC data side-by-side and/or in aggregate. By better executing PPC, you can better execute SEO, and vice versa.

8. Search Marketers Should Focus Time on Adding Value, not Repetitive, Mindless Tasks

While you can't automate search marketing as a whole, we think that there's a place for SEO tools and PPC software to facilitate of certain tedious and repetitive tasks in search.

9. PPC and SEO Tasks are Unlimited, but Time is Limited, so SEO & PPC Tasks Must be Prioritized

There are an endless number of things you can tweak and optimize. One of the most important skills in search is the ability to identify the series of actions (i.e. a workflow) that will provide the biggest returns.

10. PPC and SEO Efforts Require Coordination & Collaboration

To effectively market through search, it's necessary to create an environment where copywriters, marketers, developers, and anyone else involved in a project is aware not only of search marketing best practices, but also of more specific objectives and targets (e.g: which page should be targeting which keyword?, etc.).


Agree or Disagree?

So that's what we think…your turn. What are your search philosophies? Drop us a line and let us know what you believe in the comments.

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Apr 07, 2009

Let me be the first to welcome your blogospheric banter; thanks for the tweet!

Apr 08, 2009

I think you can google the product you are advertising and copy there keywords. that saves alot of time and money. If they are # 1 for your search term why not copy them. Right,

Tom Demers
Apr 09, 2009

Thanks for the replies!
@Najwa - One great way is to use PPC software...shoot us an Email :)
@anonymous - Yeah that's an OK tactic; but competitive keyword tools make the assumption that what works for your competition must be good for you too. this isn't always the case. Even competing companies have different "sweet spots". Competitive keyword tools also assume that your competition is bidding on the "right" keywords, which is also a big assumption if you consider how poorly managed so many accounts are.

Apr 14, 2009

Exactly. I couldn't agree with you more. Any ideas on how to explain this to a small business owner in a way that will help them put the money towards it today?

May 13, 2009

Hey Larry, Sorry about that subject line, but you really need to delete all of this spam on your post. Don't you have Akismet activated to get rid of it for you? First, I want to thank you for stopping by and posting your comment. Even though I know quite a bit about keyword research for SEO and to find niche markets, PPC has been one of the advertising methods that I have avoided for years. I give everyone that uses it successfully a big "high five"! I tied it about 5 years ago, not knowing what I was doing, and lost my shirt, my pants, and almost $1,000.00 in 3 days. I haven't been back since to try it again. PPC is not for the faint at heart or for those on a budget. It does take money to do the testing as to which keywords and ad campaigns are working for you. Anyone that wants to get into PPC should be sure to do their diligent research and get a PPC/adword education before attempting it. A couple of things that I advise clients to do when conducting their keyword research is to try to think like the person that will be searching for their information. In other words, think of all of the phrases that someone might use in their favorite search engine when lookin for the information you want to sell. Then use multiple keyword research tools for more ideas as to what people are actually looking for.

Orchid Box PPC and SEO Agency
May 26, 2009

In response to the keywords suggestions, no-one has mentioned the long tail which I believe is essential in most PPC campaigns. If you're a shop selling specific products, a good series of ads to the exact product you are selling will no doubt increase your ROI, especially if you have good competitive prices.

Nice post though, will have to check out the rest of the site. Thanks again.

Tom Demers
May 26, 2009

Hi Orchid Box,
We actually just posted a pretty in-depth article about the long tail here:
Thanks for stopping by!

Jun 13, 2009

About point 5: The most important negative keywords are the ones that generate many impressions but never generate a click. Until recently they were impossible to know since there is no way to get the data if you don't get at least 1 click. However a new tool seems to be able to do it. Their interface is horrible but it really works! The URL is:

Tom Demers
Jun 15, 2009

Hi there, Looks interesting, thanks for the link. We actually have our own negative keyword tool, as well, which you might want to check out. Thanks for dropping by!   Tom

Aug 14, 2009

Great list...I would add that keywords need to be mapped to your customer life cycle. For example, the ad copy/messaging and landing pages require a substantially different approach depending on whether a customer is in the research stage, interest/evaluate stage, or buy/decide stage. Be aware that the value and ROI of these keywords will vary substantially. Don't forget to measure the assist value that broad (research stage) keywords have in making the final conversion so you don't underestimate their value and attribute too much to the long-tail keywords (buy/decide stage). As Avinash Kaushik shared in his session at SES SJ 2009, long-tail always convert the best but not putting enough effort into broad can measurably reduce the performance of the long-tail.

Tom Demers
Aug 20, 2009

Hey Kayden,
Yeah that's a great point. So much of the power of bucketing and targeting specific keywords lies in messaging to a specific intent; everything from copy to offer is hugely impacted by the intent revealed by the query.
Thanks for the comment!

Nov 13, 2009


I don't know if WordStream has a significant learning curve but doing SEM/SEO/PPC at a firm certainly has a learning curve.

What do your customers do when they pay someone to use and to learn WordStream only to leave for a new firm?

Does WordStream support them in the "gap periods" and help them find talented replacements? Just wondering.


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