This is not the newest “black hat” SEO trick. And in no way am I implying Google Adwords (paid search) is the same or even related to organic content. Even though now you can track results using metrics, Adwords and organic still are different animals.
While there are other ways to get SEO top ranking in Google, this tactic is by far the least understood.
Advertising is advertising. No matter what channel your use, you are paying for impressions and hopefully a few conversions too.
I happen to think, as many of my peers do, that digital advertising using a service such as Adwords yields a far better bang for your buck compared to print or radio advertising—but paid search is still advertising, not some third marketing realm.
With Adwords you pay for keyword ranking. The more you pay, the better you rank. When you stop paying, you stop ranking; your ads disappear and whatever traction you’ve gained goes away—immediately.
Organic content is just that: You publish website content, blog content, post on social media, YouTube, etc. When Google or some other search engine finds your content, it gets ranked.
Simple? Not really. It would be simple if we knew what Google’s ranking algorithm looked like, but we don’t, so we rely on experience, marketing research, and a little guesswork.
Using both Adwords and Organic to Boost Ranking
While it shouldn’t happen, we’ve seen organic ranking increase by using both Adwords and organic in a digital marketing strategy.
The screen shot below was from a client who, at the time we took over their marketing, had done very little organic content marketing but had been running Adwords campaigns. The irony is that the screen shot is not from an Adwords or PPC report, it’s from Hubspot’s organic Keyword Tool.
So how did this company get #1 organic ranking on so many keywords? In this case, the organic results come from executing Adwords campaigns while inadvertently using similar keywords on their website. Is this crazy? To some degree, yes.
How can this work? Simple. Adwords builds website traffic—very much like social media does. Any way you can drive traffic to your website will build ranking. The challenge is: how to do this efficiently and predictably.
1) Launch a Pillar Content Strategy
Pillar content is comprised of one main “killer” blog article linking back to several associated lesser blog articles.
How to do this:
- Start with a main theme that would be of interest to your key prospects (personas).
- Research and choose a keyword associated with your main theme.
- Add associated (child) blog topics and choose keywords for them.
When completed, the entire scheme is called a “topic cluster.”
A topic cluster is simple: It’s a series of posts or pages interlinked together. Thus, when Google crawls one of those posts or pages, the search engine robot can find your other, similar content easily.
A topic cluster should also represent quality content. Google is very interested in delivering quality content because quality is a reflection on the search engine's capability of finding what you're looking for.
If someone searches the Internet and fails to find what they’re looking for, Google looks bad. Google is in the advertising business and their sales ability comes from successful searches.
2) Launch SEO-Focused Adwords Campaigns
I don’t want to go into detail on how to run an Adwords campaign. But I will interject and say this: You’ll save money and get better results by hiring an agency to manage your Adwords campaigns. There are reasons for this.
Adwords runs on keywords. For example, if your company makes potato chips, your keyword list may look something like this:
- Potato chips.
- How potato chips are cooked.
- Lowest calorie potato chips.
- Healthy potato chips.
- Best quality potato chips.
- Where to buy potato chips.
You get the idea.
The main secret to using both Adwords and organic to boost your ranking is to: Loop in one pillar content link to a site page that contains an SEO keyword you want to rank for.
How to example:
- Write a main blog article on “how potato chips are made.” Add other articles to create a topic cluster, linking them together.
- Add a static page to your website on "potato chips manufacturing" using an SEO-rich keyword on that page.
- Add (link) that static page to your pillar content strategy.
- Use the exact keyword from your static page in an Adwords campaign.
Thus, you are buying keyword ranking for the same keyword you are using in your blog and website content.
Sounds crazy and maybe elaborate, but try it for a while and watch your organic keyword ranking grow. Be sure to watch your keyword metrics over time.
Beware that if you only focus on Adwords ranking and not on creating keyword rich organic content, your success will be dependent on the dollars you spend on advertising. In short, you’ll gain results, but with worse ROI than if you created SEO rich organic content as well.
Sorry to cite a cliche, but it's the same old, "you can do something or you can do it well."