8
2013
Oct

SEO’s Best Friend! – AdWords

Bob Dumouchel

accountant-with-abaccasSEO’s are often highly critical of AdWords which amazes me because of the value AdWords can bring to their challenge. Without AdWords, a business is forced to rely on Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools for data, but both suffer from lack of data. Let’s look at how AdWords can make you a better SEO.

The nature of the data in Analytics is that it tells you about traffic coming into your site not the potential of what it could have been.  AdWords data on the other hand can tell you the potential of the keyword and with that you can make better decisions about your keyword target.  AdWords represents a way to value SEO efforts making better business decisions possible, let’s explore how to do that.

In a broad sense, your AdWords data represents what you think the keywords are worth and how much volume is possible. To get at this data you need to consider:

  • Quality Score
  • Cost Per Click (CPC)
  • Impressions
  • Impression Share

Quality score is a very close cousin to the SEO score and when you have a quality score problem with a keyword it is very likely that you have a related SEO score problem. The cost per click is a real world market valuation of that keyword and its traffic. Impressions give you the volume of searches for that keyword and the impression share allows you to adjust the impressions to the full volume of the keyword.

To bring focus to your SEO efforts start by calculating opportunity value of the keyword. Download your keywords into a spreadsheet and add a column for Opportunity Value. Here is the formula:

=(2-G1)*C1*E1*(10-F1)

Sample Data

 

A

B

C

D

 E

 F

G

H

 

Bid

Clicks

Impressions

CTR

 Avg

CPC

 Quality Score

Impression

Share

Opp Value

1

3.26

1063

37337

2.85%

$2.20

4.0

53.06%

724,191

2

2.51

5197

88304

5.89%

$1.19

5.0

99.43%

528,404

3

3.26

459

13167

3.49%

$2.21

4.0

56.11%

251,224

4

5.01

84

8112

1.04%

$4.01

3.0

94.85%

239,431

5

2.76

156

4220

3.70%

$3.79

2.0

92.75%

137,227

6

0.39

492

15845

3.11%

 $1.02

5.0

45.94%

124,495

7

3.01

1033

17101

6.04%

$1.71

6.0

98.66%

118,538

8

0.33

405

12209

3.32%

$0.99

5.0

30.18%

102,630

9

3.01

547

14232

3.84%

$1.37

5.0

97.89%

99,546

 

This is the formula in Excel format with the data sample trimmed to the data we need. We have excluded the keyword to protect the client’s information. If you leave keyword or other data in the spreadsheet you will need to update the cells in the formula.

This formula takes the impressions (C1) and increases them by the impression share (G1) that was not purchased. In the case of the first line it took 37,337 impressions and increased that by 46.94% (100%-53.06%). This is the estimate total impressions for the keyword which we multiply by the cost per click (E1). Then finally we adjust this by taking 10 which is the maximum quality score minus the keyword’s quality score (F2) giving us a factor of how much it could improve. This gives us the opportunity score and because it is a score the actual value is not important but the relative value is! For the formula to work properly convert percentages to decimals (53.06% = .5306).

This gives us a keyword list in opportunity order so we know what we want to target in our SEO strategy and it does not hurt us to look at this in AdWords. In AdWords this is useful because we can often improve the quality score by isolating these high value keywords into their own ad group allowing us to write a more relevant ad for that keyword.

This process gives us the most valuable keywords for the account based on value and opportunity. This list should be where the SEO starts in creating highly optimized pages of these specific keywords. On the AdWords side of things the new content from the SEO is an opportunity to improve our quality score since the landing page is a part of that score.

The reason we use CPC rather than Bid in this formula is because the bid is what you are willing to pay, but the CPC is what the market is making you pay.

There are lots of things that can go wrong with this calculation and a poorly tuned AdWords account is the source of most of that. If you use the opportunity score to drive your AdWords and SEO optimization efforts you should find ways to improve things on both sides of the SERP (Search Engine Results Page).

The process here is not as simple as this one article but this should help give you focus on both sides. There are many, including myself, that question the accuracy of impression share but it is much better than no data at all.