With such stiff competition for high SEO keyword rankings, businesses must be agile to stand out. It isn’t just about looking at SEO in isolation from other marketing elements–it’s best to understand all components that keep the machine working optimally.

To top it off, the digital landscape is constantly evolving (SEO implications included), so you’ll have to devise adaptable, innovative strategies to stay one step ahead. After all, getting closer to the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) is no easy feat.

To give some context, consider that 53.7% of the population completes online searches every day, which means that relying on one or two methods of website optimization simply isn’t enough.

But how can you push the needle or try something new?

This article will show you how to intertwine your SEO strategy with PPC keyword research. While running Google Ads or any other PPC efforts, an opportunity to tweak your SEO strategy may not immediately come to mind.

However, adopting a two-fold approach to SEO and PPC also lets you observe the competitive landscape, make deductions on user intent, and capitalize on opportunities that competitors haven’t yet discovered (or ventured into).

Read on to learn more about:

What’s the Difference Between SEO and PPC Keywords?

SEO and PPC have more than a few common intersections, such as understanding user intent, choosing the right keywords for click traction, bolstering online visibility, and driving website traffic (with hopes of conversion in some way).

To understand the variations in keyword strategies, let’s first explore how SEO and PPC differ in the first place.

As you may know, SEO follows the organic route through inbound marketing tactics such as blogs, videos, and educational social media content (to name a few). SEO isn’t just attainable at the snap of your fingers or the click of a button. It’s a long-haul game made up of consolidated efforts, which usually becomes noticeable after significant time has passed and consistent efforts have been made.

SEO keyword research involves:  

  • Understanding user intent by coming up with different types of inquiries based on the customer journey (e.g., ‘how to’ searches during the consideration phase vs. ‘where to buy’ at the conversion stage)
  • Using specialized keyword tools (such as an SEO Rank Tracker) to see what’s being searched for and what the competition is doing.

On the flip side, the ROI of PPC efforts tends to be more immediate once implemented correctly, such as instant online visibility and higher conversion rates. But it comes at a literal cost and even involves outbidding other advertisers, which requires careful strategizing. Like SEO, choosing the right keywords is crucial to maximizing return on ad spend.

PPC keyword research involves:

  • Understanding user intent (similar to SEO) but focusing more on users with high conversion intent (e.g., those who are using ‘buy now’ or ‘where to buy’ in their search terms) 
  • Looking at the cost for related keywords and phrases
  • Monitoring what’s ranking at the top of paid searches and deciding on the right keywords (i.e., not too much competition, but just enough that assures there’s user intent) 

So as you can see, while they’re similar in some ways, the approaches to choosing the best SEO and PPC keywords are a bit different.

Pro-Tip: A customizable marketing monthly report is an excellent way to track what’s happening with multiple channels. 

Why You Should Explore PPC Keywords to Enhance SEO

Now that you understand the difference between SEO and PPC keywords, here’s why you should use both in tandem. 

Creates Synchronicity Between SEO and PPC Efforts

Even if you’re not directly running (or managing) PPC campaigns, keeping tabs on what’s ranking highly from a paid standpoint spills over to what may work well organically.

For example, noticing a high PPC keyword ranking for ‘coffee beans for espresso’ but a lower search volume may mean there’s an opportunity to become an authority for that phrase organically.

This additional form of keyword research diversifies your marketing strategy and opens new doors to help your brand stand out. Understanding where your competitors inject most of their PPC ad spend will help you identify what’s currently saturated in the advertising arena. 

Shows That You Go The Extra Mile (If You’re a Service Provider)

Say you’re a budding freelancer, entrepreneur, or full-fledged marketing agency. You may be responsible for one piece of your client’s marketing puzzle (e.g., Google Ads services, but not their website optimization or social media strategy).

You’ll demonstrate your value and dedication to looking at the complete picture by evaluating both SEO and PPC efforts. And who knows–maybe your client will be inclined to onboard more of your services in the future. 

How to Find SEO Gold in PPC Keywords 

Let’s explore the following scenarios and how to identify opportunities for extracting SEO gold from PPC keywords. 

High-Converting, High-Cost Keywords

By identifying top converting PPC keywords (particularly non-branded ones), you can craft organic strategies to rank for those keywords and supplement the PPC spend.

For example, say there are many advertisers bidding on the PPC term ‘Buy Oxygenated Water.’ Users that search for this term usually have high conversion intent, which is why retailers are willing to shell out significant ad spend.

Instead of only relying on returns from this PPC effort, take it a step further by using this keyword phrase in your SEO strategy (e.g., in long-form blogs, videos, and other informative content). As a result, your organic content may show up alongside PPC ads with these same keywords.

Use it as an opportunity to showcase your product but also provide valuable insights to those who are still seeking more information. By driving organic traffic for these high-intent keywords, you’ll likely increase your website’s clickthrough rate and may even be able to pull back on paid spend when organic traffic takes over.

High Traffic, High-Cost Keywords 

On the other hand, consider those PPC keywords that come at a high cost and drive significant website traffic with some chance of conversion.

It may indicate that users who input that term into a search engine aren’t necessarily looking to perform an action right away. Perhaps they need a bit more context, insight, or guidance (which may be why they’re inclined to click on a website in the first place). 

In this case, it’s an opportunity to infuse that keyword or phrase in your organic content, which could drive relevant traffic without necessarily spending a ton of money on PPC keywords. Adopting this approach positions your brand as an authority while also capitalizing on keywords that drive clicks and impressions. 

Low SEO Keyword Ranking + Low PPC Keyword Ranking

It may seem counterintuitive even to consider a possible zero search volume scenario when searching for SEO gold. Still, it’s definitely worth considering if you’ve got a specific niche or specialized product offering. It’s a potential goldmine depending on your unique situation, particularly for long-tail keywords.

Say you’re a retailer that makes antique pottery from seasonal clay material. Your product typically retails within the thousand-dollar range and appeals to a small (but high-intent, high-paying) niche market.

Because of your specialized skill and the nature of your business, you’re one of, say, five retailers worldwide with this product. As a result, there isn’t a high organic search volume or high PPC keyword competition for ‘antique pottery made from seasonal amazonite clay.’ However, the users that are brand aware and looking for your product typically have high conversion intent (and purchasing power).

In this case, lower SEO and PPC rankings may not be such a bad thing– it’s an opportunity to stand out and dominate a unique niche.

Low SEO Keyword Ranking + High PPC Keyword Ranking

In this scenario, it may mean there’s high competition for some paid keywords, but not much organic information exists to answer or provide context on user inquiries.

Say, for example, your business specializes in manufacturing lightbulbs. There’s a competitive PPC keyword phrase for ‘energy efficient lightbulbs’ but a low organic search volume. In this case, it’s an opportunity to create content that addresses user inquiries and solidifies your brand expertise.

You may uncover opportunities to embed informative keywords in your content, such as ‘how energy efficient lightbulbs work’ or ‘how much you save switching to energy efficient lightbulbs.’

In doing so, over time, you may:

  • Increase your ranking on search engines results pages (SERPs)
  • Boost clickthrough rates and website traffic
  • Become a brand authority in a particular area
  • Increase your conversion rate without exorbitantly spending on PPC ads

Think about it– many users may want their inquiries answered before moving further along the buyer’s journey and may not be inclined to a link that sells to them immediately. You’ll build trust by taking the initiative to answer their concerns and may even outrank those PPC advertisers that don’t take the time to create informative content.

Pro-Tip: Explore different keyword types to diversify your marketing strategy and hone into user intent on a deeper level. 

Is It Worth Pursuing Keywords With High Organic Search Volume?

There’s no clear-cut answer here– it depends. It’s about understanding keyword difficulty and what’s worth pursuing.

For example, a keyword or phrase with a highly saturated search volume may result in your brand being drowned out (especially if the PPC keyword ranking is also high). After all, most of the clicks take place on the first page of results, so going after keywords where you have very little hope of cracking the top 10 may be a wasted effort.

However, you may want to include it if it’s highly relevant to your brand and the SEO search volume isn’t ridiculously high. It’s also an opportunity to refine this keyword or phrase more.

On the flip side, a higher SEO keyword ranking and low PPC keyword ranking may mean there are more information-based searches rather than conversion oriented. In this case, it may be worth brainstorming what other types of keywords or phrases may satisfy those informational inquiries without all the competitive noise. 


When it comes to pursuing those highly coveted top spots on SERPs, it’s an ongoing exercise that requires constant optimization and dedication. Understanding the symbiotic relationship between SEO and PPC keywords will help you to expand your marketing strategy and stay one step ahead.

To get SEO gold from PPC keywords, remember to:

  • Keep user intent at the forefront of your strategy: understand what’s being searched for and why
  • Analyze why there may be low or high PPC rankings for particular keywords or phrases
  • Capitalize on opportunities where there are lower organic search volumes by answering user inquiries or specializing in a niche
  • Diversify your SEO strategy (e.g., using different keyword types) to stay one step ahead

This way, you’ll adopt a holistic approach to SEO and position your brand closer to success.


Paul Stainton is a digital marketing leader with over 20 years of experience creating brand value through digital transformation, SEO, eCommerce strategies, brand strategy, and go-to-market execution. He is currently the Director of Content and SEO at AgencyAnalytics, a client reporting platform built for marketing agencies.