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Everyday I’m lucky enough to speak with marketers and business owners from different sized companies, industries and geographies. Time and time again I hear the same question, “How can I improve my SEO and how much money should I spend on PPC?”. It seems as though marketers (when failing generate enough leads) often think that throwing money at PPC & SEO will make the problem go away -- but is this really the right approach? SEO & PPC have a place in demand generation but what is often overlooked is where the prospect will end up -- your website.

According to the SMB Digital Scope Study, 98% of SMBs websites are not optimized for Mobile, 78% don’t have any links to social media and 44% don’t even have their phone number or contact information accessible from their home page. So before you start ploughing money into PPC & SEO it’s best to consider how well your website is optimized to take advantage of new traffic visiting from your campaigns. 

1. Start with a goal

Understanding the goal of the campaign and the actions you want prospects to take is critical to a successful campaign. Simply dumping visitors on your homepage and expecting them to browse around, read all about your company and go to the contact page (to find your number) is wishful thinking. Instead, take the time to understand what it is that the visitor will be interested in, what the process and funnel for the campaign will look like and how you will draw their interest through a call-to-action. Set a campaign goal based on budget, time frame and conversions.

2. Develop a keyword strategy

Knowing which keywords to use can be difficult but there is always a great place to start: competitors websites. Pick your top 2-3 competitors and use the Google Keyword Tool to do some research. Start small, pick 10-20 of the best keywords you can find. As you learn which keywords work (and don't work) you can expand your keyword list. 

If you're working with an agency or consultant, the same principle applies, start simple with only a handful of keywords and overtime you can add and remove keywords based on what works and doesn't work. If you start out too complex you'll never have the time to digest what's really working. 

3. Create landing pages for each call-to-action and keyword group

Generally it will make sense to have different content and calls-to-action for different keywords. Instead of sending visitors to your home page or a generic landing page, take the time to create landing pages for groups of keywords with targeted calls-to-action. 

4. Track the campaign spend & cost per acquisition (CPA)

If you don't track your spend and cost per aquisition from SEO & PPC you're wasting your time and money. It amazes me when I help marketers track their campaigns for the first time just how poorly the campaigns were performing. Take the time to setup analytics and conversion tracking so you can understand which campaigns, keywords and call-to-actions work best. If you don't track you'll never improve. See how campaign tracking works in Autopilot.

5. A/B Test

No matter how brilliant you are at creating landing pages and calls-to-action you should always test each and every landing page. A true A/B test is where you test only one variation on your page at a time. Here at Autopilot we are constantly A/B testing our landing pages. We test variations in the copy and the calls-to-action we offer each visitor. By running these tests we're able to understand what combination of factors makes a visitor to our landing page convert into a lead. This helps us maximize our SEO & PPC dollar as our landing pages are constantly improving. To the uninitiated A/B tests can seem daunting and time consuming, but several tools like Autopilot allow you to do A/B testing on landing pages in a matter of minutes.