A recent survey finds that paid search can often improve your search engine optimization strategy by helping your organization target its attack.
If you’re looking to make a big impact with your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy in 2019, don’t simply focus on the optimization that you can get for free. Instead, consider trying your hand at paid search.
According to recent research from the marketing agency Clutch, it’s increasingly a tactic that smaller organizations are using to stand out. The survey showed that 60 percent of small businesses with SEO strategies relied on paid search—an increase of 15 percent from 2018.
What might be driving the interest in paid search? Simply, added competition: While pay-per-click (PPC) search isn’t cheap, it can help pinpoint search terms that do have the potential to carry water, making the investment a strategic one.
“Collecting data from your PPC efforts informs how you can achieve organic SEO success,” Clutch’s Grayson Kemper stated in a blog post.
Of course, it’s still important to invest in search in the first place, something that slightly more than a third of respondents (36 percent) do in general. But the value perception is increasing—with an additional 38 percent saying they plan to invest in search engine marketing in the coming years.
One thing that might be unexpected is that search engine marketing is actually being driven by social media, rather than being used as an alternative to it. The Clutch survey found that nearly two-thirds of respondents invest in social media marketing to help boost their SEO—despite there being little clear evidence that the two work in tandem.
“This is somewhat surprising. Social media and SEO have a strong correlation, but there is little data to suggest that social media directly impacts search rankings,” Kemper added.
(But one thing that is directly affected—as you’ve probably heard—is whether your site supports mobile. If you’re not supporting responsive design, get on that.)
Other big trends worth keeping an eye on: While content marketing has become a mainstay for many organizations at this point, the creation of high-quality content is becoming more common. And one emerging field is voice search—which means you should dust off your Alexa strategy.