Until you had to stop and think about it for the purpose of getting your business up and running online, you probably thought that Google search results just happen naturally. In reality, it’s a lot more complicated than that. Behind every first page search result there is a team of digital marketing professionals furiously working to gain and maintain ranking.

Search engine marketing (SEM)  is the digital equivalent of trying to get your product on the best shelf space in the supermarket. You want your site to be the top search result for all of the most used keywords that your customers are using to search for your product or industry. This is done through the combination of Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns on Google Adwords and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

PPC Management is done through Google Adwords, and involves bidding on keywords in order to appear as a paid ad at the top of Google’s search ranking. SEO on the other hand is how your site appears in the search result organically, or without paying for it to appear.

The word organic is a little misleading in this case, as it would imply that ranking happens naturally, when really there is often even more efforts going into the strategic implementation of an SEO campaign.

Despite the differences between the two online marketing techniques, they actually complement each other well. Often, businesses will treat PPC and SEO as separate entities, giving them to different marketing agencies or in house specialists to work on individually. Doing so will keep them from reaping the benefits of a collaborative strategy where one campaign can be used to inform the other.

There are several elements that, when shared between PPC and SEO campaigns, can make both stronger and drive the overarching goal of gaining search exposure.

Share keywords

Keywords, or common search terms, are the basis of both PPC and SEO campaigns.

In a PPC campaign, you bid on a keyword and in a short amount of time, you will be able to see how effective that term is at driving conversions. With SEO, you choose keywords to insert into your website in order to improve its search ranking.

This does not have immediate results and data

However, rather than waiting around and hoping for the best, you can test your keywords through a PPC campaign and based on their performance, choose to use them for your SEO campaign.

Going in the other direction, your SEO campaign can often naturally identify long tail keywords, or keywords with smaller search volumes, that you wouldn’t have thought to use in your PPC campaign. You can then use these keywords in your PPC campaigns.

Share data

There is a lot of data you can get from the results of both your PPC and SEO campaigns that can help inform not only your digital strategy, but your overall marketing strategy.

One such way is through using PPC campaigns to A/B test headlines and content that can be used for things like meta data descriptions and content strategy for your SEO campaign.

Instead of waiting for organic traffic to tell you whether or not your blog headings are working, why not just do a test through PPC to check if it will be successful ahead of time?

Share customers

Lastly, the biggest benefit to having your PPC and SEO strategies working together is so that you can target the same customer and drive a sale.

Isn’t that the point after all? PPC and SEO work together for the purpose of remarketing campaigns, where customers who have already visited your site are retargeted with paid ads in order to drive them back to your site to purchase.

Your online marketing strategies should all work together to complement each other, working towards the common goal of driving traffic to your site and induce purchase.

PPC and SEO are two of the most powerful ways to gain traction in appearing on the ever illusive first page of a Google search, meaning the better the two work together, the better off you’ll be.

Founding Editor @Alltopstartups, Contributor @Entrepreneur, Columnist @Inc. Magazine and Curator at Postanly (his free weekly digest of the best life and career improvement posts on the web. Subscribe for free.