What do SEO & SEM have in common?
Besides being a couple of the many weird digital marketing acronyms, they also have the same objective: to attract more traffic to your dealership’s website, and of course, increase leads.
In this article and the beautiful video of Paul, our Organic Search Team Lead, we’re going to explain exactly why you need to have Paid Search and Organic Search working in tandem for a comprehensive marketing strategy.
“Since there are a lot of those acronyms, remind me what SEO & SEM mean again?”
SEO refers to Search Engine Optimization, or at Convertus, we call it Organic Search. Why? Well, everyone likes to be different. But also, our Organic Search solution aims to get your website as close as possible to the top of the organic search results for a certain targeted keyword.
For example, say you’re an FCA store and have the brand new 2019 RAM 1500 and you want to promote this model. Our Organic team will optimize the content on your website, along with other spells and black magic, to ensure that you rank higher for this keyword to drive more quality traffic to your website.
SEM is Search Engine Marketing, or as we call it, Paid Search. For Paid Search, you’re bidding for the ad space at the top and the bottom of the search engine results page (SERP) for particular keywords to increase website traffic (and from there, form leads) or drive phone calls (both from ads and your website itself).
“Hey, I’m an SEO magician and I’m ranking for all the keywords I want to, so why would I need Paid Search too?”
First of all, that’s amazing and we’re not even mad.
But, don’t rule out Paid Search just yet. Have you ever heard of the psychological phenomenon called the ‘Mere-Exposure Effect’? Basically, what it means is that people develop a preference for things simply because they’re familiar with them. So if you’re ranking for the keywords that you’re targeting, and you have paid ads at the top of the search engine too, it only increases the exposure of your dealership to potential car buyers, increasing visibility, familiarity, and perhaps a preference to buy vehicles from you.
Another reason you should run Paid Search along with your SEO wizardry is that Google Ads is scalable and measurable, which means you can directly track your ROI. You can see exactly where your money is going, which campaigns are higher performing and you can increase the budget on those, “…and your leads and profits will increase accordingly” (Wordstream).
Wordstream also reminds us in this blog, that other dealerships will most likely be running Paid Search campaigns and may even be conquesting keywords that are related to your specific dealership to steal your traffic! Are you willing to risk competitors stealing your leads without fighting back?
“I can’t be bothered with all this SEO gibber gabber, I’d rather just pay my way to the top.”
We get it, SEO can be frustrating because it often requires an exercise in patience until Google begins to trust your dealership’s website and improve your rankings. But building credibility and authority, as Search Engine Journal mentions in this article, “will do more for a brand than most, if not all, other digital optimizations”.
Search Engine Land, in this blog here, explains that due to so many new and varied keywords being used daily, that to “maximize scope, you will need strong organic visibility” as you won’t want to pay for every single search query possible.
Another reason why you should invest in SEO is because in the organic results in the SERP, no one can pay to reach the top. Sure, competitors can pay for the ad space at the top of the SERP, but not within the organic results. So, if you have a tight marketing budget and don’t have a huge amount to spend on paid ads (and your SEO game is fierce) then competitors can’t simply bid a higher amount to outrank you in that section of the SERP.
So how do Paid Search and Organic Search work together as a united front?
Some old and intelligent philosopher said: “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” (Aristotle). We can definitely apply that sentiment here. Assuming budgets allows, there’s no argument for only choosing one or the other. Both Organic and Paid search work together synchronistically to achieve the same outcome (more sales opportunities via traffic/leads) but through slightly different means. Having a cohesive and holistic marketing strategy including both will yield many benefits for your dealership. Not convinced yet? Here’s just a few of the ways how, together, Organic and Paid Search can turbo charge your marketing efforts:
- We already mentioned this, but we can’t stress it enough. Having both paid ads and high ranking pages on a SERP increases the total visibility and may create a preference for your dealership amongst vehicle shoppers
- By investing in both strategies, you’re increasing the total traffic to your website
- Data, data, and more data. Moz informs us in their blog, that by running both organic and paid campaigns, you have the data from both to evaluate. You can “optimize your overall strategy” by figuring out which keywords are performing the best in both strategies. You can also use the data (think clicks and conversions) from your paid campaigns to determine which copy is most effective, and you can use that for your organic snippets.
- By using both Paid and Organic, you can target car shoppers at every stage of their buying journey online.
- Don’t forget about retargeting! Once a potential customer shows interest and visits your website organically, you can use paid ads to retarget them and remind them that your dealership is where they need to do business. While your customers are scouring the internet for their new car, they’ll see your ads
- As Paul mentions in the video, if you don’t have a chance of ranking for some of the most competitive keywords, you can bid for them in paid campaigns to increase your reach and visibility
- You can analyze what keywords and copy are effective in your paid campaigns and use that to inform your SEO strategy “…before committing to long-term SEO strategies” (Search Engine Land)
Not sure how to create a cohesive strategy that includes both Organic and Paid Search or how it will specifically help your particular dealership? Reach out, we’d love to review your current strategy with you and see where there’s an opportunity for growth.