Should SEO and Google Ads teams sit in separate camps, never the twain shall meet? Or can both specialties help each other out? And if so, what can SEOs learn from Google Ads?
That’s what we're going to be discussing today with a man who's certified in both Google Ads and Google Analytics. He’s one of the top Google Ads and Analytics trainers in Poland. And is head of a 300+ client agency with 16 years of SEO and Google Ads experience. A warm welcome to the In Search SEO podcast, Krzysztof Marzec.
In this episode, Krzysztof shares three things that SEOs can learn from Google Ads, including:
Expected click-through rate
Landing page experience
Krzysztof: Hello, it's super nice to be here and talk to you.
D: Thanks so much for joining us. You can find Krzysztof over at devagroup.pl. So Chris, off shooter SEO and Google Ads teams be sitting together?
K: Yes, for sure. It will grant you an extra amount of insights in both SEO and Google Ads. And the SEO team will have better results listening to the Google Ads team and vice versa. The knowledge you can take from keywords from how Google works, or what Google shows us in certain tools like Google Search Console, or Google Ads panel will impact both campaigns. So it's very, very important to put them in one room and let them speak. Let them work together.
D: Can people working in Google Ads learn more off SEOs or can SEOs learn more off people working in Google Ads?
K: I think both because we can learn a lot of stuff that Google is not telling us directly in SEO, but you can read it in the Google Ads panel and vice versa. Because people from Google Ads don't really know which landing page is great for their keywords. So they try and make some experiments. But we can really easily tell in SEO, which landing page is better, because we see that Google ranks this landing page higher than others, for example.
D: So today, you're sharing three things that SEOs can learn from Google Ads. Starting off with number one, the expected click-through rate.
1. Expected click-through rate
K: Yeah, all three things are elements of quality score. You have to know that Google Ads has a very good diagnostic tool. It's called quality score. It's a part of ranking in ads, but not a direct part. Google says it’s a scale from zero to ten for us to learn if we did a good job or a bad job doing Google Ads. And part of the quality score is the expected click-through rate. So this parameter shows you if you have ads for keywords with a great CTR or not, but they don't look at the position of the ads. You don't need to be the first to have a great expected CTR. Because Google has a database and they look at it for exact keywords, and they check if your CTR is matching your position for this keyword. And they are evaluating this according not to some ranking, but other ads at the exact real-time moment. For example, now, my ad will be much better performing than other ads. But in two weeks' time, I will be lower because I didn't update my ad and my competitors did.
There is great knowledge there. Because you can learn which ads work best because, in Google Ads, we don't write one ad. We put out a lot of headlines, a lot of texts in Google with A/B testing. Then you will learn which ads have the greatest CTR. And then you can use this knowledge in SEO with your titles and descriptions. Of course, Google will overwrite your description and title sometimes, but when you are doing this for a large e-commerce site or you have a lot of landing pages or URLs, you can expect that you will improve your CTR. When you write a description by just adding keywords, we know that doesn't work, but you can catch achieve greater CTRs. This is so important to learn from people in Google Ads. And they will tell you that they use the call to action, they will use USP, a unique selling proposition, and they will use numbers in their ads to get user attention. So we have to use them in meta descriptions and in titles. They will tell you that people are attracted to ads that show emotions are simply different or unique. So if you learn how they are doing better ads, you can do much better titles and descriptions.
D: Great advice there. So target the appropriate emotion for the stage of the buyer journey that you happen to be targeting and try to incorporate that within your title and meta description to improve your click-through rates. That's a great thing that you can learn certainly from paid ads. But we're obviously talking about the expected click-through rate, do you think that expected click-through rate is also part of Google's organic algorithm? And will they actually look at other results and give you potentially a rankings boost if they believe that your click-through rate is going to be higher than competitors?
K: I never found an exact test that will prove this or somebody from Google saying that this is true, but it makes sense. Google Ads is a powerful tool and not using this in organic search would be a great waste. This is something that keeps Google Ads at bay. Because I can pay a lot of money to get an ad for the wrong keyword to spam our users. I won't do it, because Google will ask me to pay more and more because my quality score will be lower. So they're keeping it at bay. It's ordered. If they're not using this tool to get the order in organic results, I don't know why they shouldn't.
I think there is a correlation. We found that improving titles and descriptions give you better results. But this is not an isolated test. This was a part of big projects, SEO audits, and stuff like this. It works. It's like a good strategy, but if it's working exactly like this, I don't know.
D: And the number two thing that SEOs can learn from Google Ads is ad relevance.
2. Ad relevance
K: Yeah, it's super important to understand that Google has two parameters in quality score versus CTR, then relevance. And you have to know that behind every keyword there is an intern. When I'm putting laptop in Google, I'm looking for a gaming laptop, because I like to play games, and other users are looking for different stuff. So when you go to Keyword Planner, and you put in those keywords, you can find other keywords and now you have a cloud of keywords. And SEO tends to use them like, okay, let's use all the keywords because we want to rank higher, but you have to think about a landing page and what you are giving the user. For example, if you are putting the keyword laptop, you'd have to have a landing page with gaming laptops, office laptops, cheap laptops, expensive laptops, etc. to match all intents of all users. And if you don't have this, sometimes you will find it very hard to get great visibility for the landing page for certain keywords. And we see that it's super hard to get a high position for the keyword that is not relevant to our landing page to our description, title, and stuff. And when you learn this in Google Ads, you will see that this is not working. Google is asking us to pay more money. What you can do is upgrade the content. You can also do very important things, and answer all the questions that the user has. When I'm putting in laptop, I will think of which gaming laptop is the best, and which company produces the most reliable laptops. And if you put those answers on the landing pages, you will get a better answer for the intent and for the keyword so you can get more relevant results. And it is very important and we know that it works. Improving content based on data-driven SEO is important, but the user-driven experience is also super important.
D: That was number two but I've got the feeling that you answered quite a bit of number three because number three is landing page experience.
3. Landing page experience
K: Yeah, it all connects. But when talking about landing page experience, you can do more things. For example, we saw that improving Core Web Vitals, just to get more points is not so relevant, but improving real PageSpeed time loads like when we improved, for example, next-gen images, or we improved coding overall on the website, it worked great. Not only for SEO, for Google Ads, and for conversions, because people tend to stay more. This is super important to focus on the technical side. But also, when you have information about which page has great results in Google organic, you can tell this to your Google Ads team and they also can run dynamic search ads. This is an automatic campaign that will match keywords from Google’s database with landing pages that you provide it. You can provide a whole website or a list of your content or products, and they will match them, and you have the best score there. So you'll know exactly which keyword matches which landing page. And you can use this knowledge to learn how Google works, and how they match, and Google tells you that they will use an index from organic Google to run this campaign. So if you want better results in DSA, Dynamic Search Ads, and also in Shopping ads, you have to improve your index for the first campaign and improve your content and index for the second campaign.
It's super important to know that they will not use certain keywords for your ads because they do not exist. So you have to work together to have better descriptions of your products and stuff like this. And to sum this up, you have one report in Google Ads where you can see the exact variation of keywords. When you use Google Ads, you put a keyword, and it will use a phrase match, exact match, or broad match and you can learn new keywords from there. Learn keywords that are, for example, explaining this intent behind other keywords or giving you the idea to put more content on your site. So when you see it in the same room, or you read the reports, you can learn how to get new keywords in the same landing pages, and it will improve overall relevancy and the user experience for those landing pages.
D: Obviously, nowadays, Google Ads professionals can't just use exact match. It used to be that was probably the best way to go because you could be very definitive about what keyword phrases you're targeting. But now, Google wants to use more AI to help bring in other related keyword phrases. But it still feels to me that Google Ads professionals are probably more specific and have a smaller bucket of keyword phrases that they want to target per page compared with organic search professionals. Would you say that there is a maximum number of ideal keyword phrases that you want to target per page before it gets too broad, and you're trying to attract too many people and target too many keyword phrases on a page?
K: I think now there is no such limit. But of course, when we have more than 10 or 15 keywords in one ad group, we are thinking if we are still relevant. The ad group is made because of ad relevancy. They're called containers for the keywords to write a good ad for all the keywords in an ad group. So when you have this very long pillar page in SEO, it works a little differently because you can link to anchor text, and it's a big article for a user. In Google Ads, we divide these campaigns, we want more landing pages because we have to give users relevant information right away. I think we can both learn from both sides and make something that can be a pillar page, but it should have this little description at the beginning, bullet points, and internal links. We can also use this in Google Ads because we can link to anchor text, or we can make deep links to your website. But there is no limit.
I think we have a bigger issue going on because we want to keep this control. You said about this control in Google Ads. We use exact but the exact is not the same exact from 5-10 years ago. We have a lot more keywords running our ads than we want to and you have to keep a very close eye on this because you will waste money and you will waste potential because if you don't know all the keywords, you are not using them all in SEO. And for Google, they are the same as they mean the same for Google and for the users. So you have to improve and use them on your site, not only the core keyword but also the different keywords. Not the mistakes like a wrong letter but the keywords that Google is putting in the same bucket as Exact match.
And the last issue is Performance Max campaigns. This is a big issue for SEOs and you have to learn about this campaign and know how it works. We see a lot of clients that are saying that they have greater visibility in SEO, and big results in numbers, but the conversions are lower than last year. It is because performance Max campaigns use our brand keywords. So a user is coming back to your site, not through Google organic, but Google CPC. So you have to know that your friend from Google Ads can steal your conversions. And you have to look at the bigger picture. Because if your claim is only looking at the last click, you have some problems ahead. You have to learn about this and say, "Okay, we are getting this conversion also. But we are at the start of the journey, and they are returning users.” They will convert from your ads because you are running ads on your own brand on your own keywords. And you probably even don't know this because you're using a Performance Max campaign.
Pareto Pickle - Answer Questions That Your Competitors Are Ranking On
D: Lots to think about there and not a very nice friend to go about stealing your last clicks. Well, let's finish off with the Pareto Pickle. Pareto says that you can get 80% of your results from 20% of your efforts. What's one SEO activity that you would recommend that provides incredible results for modest levels of effort?
K: I go to a tool. I use Senuto or Semstorm to search for your competition keywords but search with SERP features, like the snippets. Then you can download the list of questions they are ranking on, or questions they are answering. The idea is to search for the questions and to answer those questions on your landing pages. For example, if someone is asking which product is better, you can do a ranking or you can do a comparison. You're putting new content, you're answering the question, you're matching the intent, and you're getting new keywords. And those keywords are very important. And don't be misled by the number of searches. Because Google will tell you that the keyword has only 20-40 Volume searches a month. This is not true, because people are making those questions in many ways. Google is not combining these to one statistic. But you have a lot of variation. So you have like 10-40. But in fact, you will have hundreds or two hundreds of questions similar to this. Just ask it to Google every month. This is a very good strategy to find those questions, answer them, and it will get great results.
D: And of course nowadays with those 200 different ways that people ask the same question, you don't have to write those questions in the same way in your landing page. Google is clever enough to be able to know what question they are trying to serve an answer. I've been your host, David Bain. You can find Krzysztof Marzec over at devagroup.pl. Krzysztof, thanks so much for being on the In Search SEO podcast.
K: Thank you very much.
D: And thank you for listening. Check out all the previous episodes and sign up for a free trial of the Rank Ranger platform over at rankranger.com.