Often, sites view seo and PPC marketing as exclusive marketing techniques. Each marketing method has its advocates. In reality, both have a place in the Internet marketing process. If you intend to pursue a major seo effort, a PPC campaign is a critical early step.
PPC For Testing
Lets say you have a site offering a service or product in the travel market. Youve put together a healthy budget and decided to go for broke. Yep, youre optimizing and trading links in an effort to go after keyword phrases with major traffic and competition. For instance, youve decided to have a go at Europe travel, which has roughly 400,000 searches each month and major competition for high rankings. You spend two years trading links, adding content and so on. Miracle of miracles, you pop on to the first page of search results. You start shopping for your private jet only to realize a very disturbing thing. You are getting thousands of visits, but few sales. After running calculations, you find the site is converting at 1 in 10,000.
Houston, we have a problem.
A PPC campaign should be used to test your site against keyword phrases before you spend the time and money on an seo campaign. The best platforms to use for your campaign are Google Adwords and Overture. Yes, click fraud is a problem, but less so on these platforms.
After opening accounts and laying a credit card down at the PPC alter, you need to give some thought at to how you will test your keywords. Heres a hint. The campaign should be designed to test the keyword phrases, not maximize sales. This may sound like a strange statement, but keep in mind the purpose of the campaign. You are determining whether you have picked appropriate keyword phrases for the seo campaign. So, how does it all go wrong?
With both Overture and Adwords, you have the ability to designate the reach of your keyword phrases. Most pick the broad match option, which is terrible for testing. With broad match, your advertisements are going to appear for your keyword phrase AND variations of the phrase. Since the ad is appearing on a variety of keyword phrases, the results can give you a false impression of the value of the primary keyword phrase.
Going back to our example, we start a Google Adwords campaign for Europe travel and use the default broad match option. After a month, we are happy to find the ads converting at 1 in 70. Having validated the keyword phrase, we set off on the long seo campaign. But are we really sure about the validity of the keyword phrase. Since Google has been known to seriously expand keyword phrases under the broad match option, how do we know that the true keyword phrase isnt European travel? We dont unless we take a few additional steps.
The first step is to limit the PPC advertisements by bypassing the broad match option. Instead, you want to limit the appearance of the ad only to searches for the exact keyword phrase. In Adwords, this is known as the exact phrase match. To designate it, you simply place brackets  around the keyword phrase. Second, you need to track traffic originating from the ads. This can be done using tracking tools on your server or through the tracking options offered by each PPC platform. Regardless of your choice, the resulting data will give a much truer picture of the value of the particular keyword phrases.
Nothing is more aggravating then getting top rankings, but miserable conversions. The only way to beat this problem is to test, test, test. Using PPC campaigns at the outset of an Internet marketing efforts can save you a lot of headaches later on.