November 22


Why SEM And SEO Work Hand In Hand

By Brian Petersen

November 22, 2020

How to use SEO for improving quality score for your Google ads

Even SEO and SEM are two different strategies; they do have something in common. 

If you know how to put your focus, your content strategy can benefit your SEM (Google Ads) and SEO strategy (Free organic traffic from Google).

A little trip down memory lane – The Wild West of Adwords.

When Google launched its paid advertising Adwords (Now Google Ads), a lot of online marketers came up with a brilliant idea: 

Why not buy ultra-cheap clicks for pennies on the dollar, and send that traffic to an offer that paid well?

If you back then found a keyword with thousands of monthly searches and no AdWords competition, you could buy those clicks for a few cents.

So imagine you found a search phrase like “heated indoor swimming pool,” and this phrase had, let’s say 1000 monthly searches.  

If no one exact you bid on that phrase, you might be able to buy those clicks for 2 cents per click.

So the math would be 1000 clicks x 2 cents = $20.

Then let’s pretend you promoted a payday loan that would earn you $100 per referral. 

Imagine that only 0.2% of those visitors would convert – that would be 2000 x 0.2 = 4 sales of 100$ = $400.

Not bad, every time you invested $20, you made $400 – or a profit of a total of $380!.

A system was born, now just rinse and repeat – find more dirt traffic and send it to an offer.

Google shut down the gold mine.

It didn’t take Google that long to realize that this kind of business model was not beneficial for the users that used the search engine.

If you search for something and click on an ad and land on a completely irrelevant offer, you are not a happy camper!. 

If you experience it several times, you simply stop clicking on the paid ads. Then, Google didn’t make money.

Google came up with a pretty smart solution to end this wild west strategy of the affiliate marketers.

They invented a system called quality score. Google started to monitor the relevance of the keyword you bid on, the ad itself, and the landing page you were sending your users to. 

So if you were bidding for a specific keyword and your ad or your landing page didn’t match. You faced a punishment.

The punishment consisted of a significantly higher price per click and a low ad placement position.

Fast forward to today

Today the quality score is still relevant for you as an advertiser. Your job is to make sure that the users get a relevant ad that matches their search intention.

If they click on your ad, you want to send them to a relevant landing page that once again matches the user intent of the keyword they typed in.

If a user is searching for a dishwasher, they don’t have an interest in landing on a page about vacuum cleaners. 

How SEM and SEO serves the same goal

If you have worked with SEO, you probably have an idea about how to structure your text. The core basic rules are:

  • Use the keyword in your URL
  • Use the keyword in your title and meta description.
  • Use the keyword in the H1.
  • Use the keyword a few times during your text.

Those are the core basic. If you need a more in-depth understanding of creating content for SEO, read this article. 

The good thing is if you just follow the core rules, you have optimized your landing page for Google ads, and that would count as a positive signal for your quality score.

When working with Google Ads, you might be able to squeeze similar keywords into the same ad group without damaging your quality score.

Just always pay attention to your quality score – the higher score, the better Ad placement you get, and your click price lowered.

It is also a profitable business for Google to ensure that both the users and the advertisers are happy.

Being lazy can be expensive.

If you are too lazy optimizing on your quality score it can be expensive

Even it might be tempting to send traffic to a specific landing page. It might be a better strategy to create specific landing pages to specific landing pages – primarily for keywords with a high volume. 

The same goes for branded searches – you can often do better by walking that extra mile and send the users to a specific landing page that matches their user intent, rather than just send them to the front page.

SEO Strategy versus SEM strategy

Optimizing a text for SEO is a bit more work – here, you need to create content that can rank in Google.

That requires that you examine your competitor and craft an article covering everything related to the user intent behind a search.

Usually, you focus on those keywords with enough search volume, so it is worth chasing a page one position in Google´s organic results. 

The perfect balance would be to craft SEO optimized content for your main keywords and send SEM traffic to those pages as well.

The keywords with the low volume you can send to SEM landing pages optimized for those keywords – and you don’t need to put a lot of research into crafting lengthy content. 

Use Google Ads to research before you write your SEO articles.

Sometimes you might not be sure if a keyword is worth chasing. Perhaps you are not sure of the user intent.

Creating SEO content takes a bit more time, so you can use Google Ads to “test the water” before you start writing well-optimized SEO articles.

You can start making a simple SEM landing site optimized for a keyword using the core basic rules mentioned above.

Then run some Google Ads and see how the traffic converts.

If your experiment shows you that you have found a keyword that converts, you can start to chase it by creating an SEO optimized article.


Optimizing content for SEO is good for your quality score if you are running Google Ads. 

You would lower your click prices and improve your Ad’s ranking position in Google. 

There is a good chance that you would even experience that a well-crafted article tends to convert – if a user gets an answer to any question they might have, there is a big chance they end up buying your product or service.

In case you are brand new to all this, don´t stress. I suggest you read my article about how to get started with SEO. 

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