Mar 262013

Using Paid Search Data to Guide Content Creation for SEO

Developing creative on-site content has become increasingly important in the world of SEO as a way to provide relevancy signals for Google’s indices. But with sites often composed of thousands of pages, finding intelligent ways of discovering the parts of your site that stand to gain the most from new content has become valuable in allocating time towards the lowest hanging fruit.

Utilizing paid search data can help your SEO program identify which pages to focus on, as well as influence content optimization in keyword selection and internal linking. Here’s how:

Hone in on the landing pages that provide you with the most value

1.  Selecting Pages that Need Content

Analyze paid search performance data by landing page, specifically looking at traffic and conversion rate. High traffic, high conversion rate landing pages without content, that are currently ranking poorly in organic listings, are likely pages that would benefit the most from adding content that could boost organic rankings for relevant queries.

It’s important to focus on both traffic volume and conversion rate in prioritizing which pages to write specialized content for. There are likely some pages that get a lot of traffic but rarely convert, as well as pages that convert at a very high rate but receive very little traffic. Maximizing tangible returns on your content creation will require taking a good look at which pages are most likely to bring you the most conversions for the time spent developing content.

One limitation of this type of analysis arises if your paid search program uses landing pages that are not the same as the canonicals, such as search results pages. In cases such as these, you may have to create mappings of canonical to non-canonical pages in order to use performance as a driver for on page content.

2. Selecting Keywords for Content Optimization

In crafting on page content, it’s important to select priority keywords to target throughout the copy in order to establish relevancy signals for these terms. For the landing pages that you’ve identified for on site content from the above analysis, analyze paid search data for the keywords with the most traffic and highest conversion rates that are going to these landing pages. Identify the top two or three keywords for each, and use verbiage within your content that allows you to incorporate these phrases throughout.

Much like with your landing page analysis, it’s important to look at the conversions on these keywords as well as traffic volume in order to identify the phrases with the highest potential for returns.

3.  Internal Linking Optimizations

Internal linking helps to ensure that every page is being crawled, and it establishes a connection between the anchor text (the clickable text in a hyperlink) and the page being linked to. Internal links are also useful in spreading link equity from one page to additional URLs on the site.

For optimization, look for top performing landing pages that are related to the landing page you’re writing content for, such as brand or subcategory pages. Pulling item audits for the orders that have come in for the identified landing pages can also give insight into popular brands or subcategories of products that might benefit from being internally linked to in the content on the page.

Anchor text for these links should be the same level of specificity as the page you are linking to, and should accurately reflect the products on that page. For example, if you’re linking to, “car exhaust” and similar variations would likely be your ideal anchor text. An example of poor anchor text for this page would be “car parts”, because the page would be a better destination for that anchor text as it is more relevant.


The accuracy and specificity of paid search keyword and landing page performance can provide valuable insights into your SEO program. Utilizing this data will help prioritize content creation and other optimizations to ensure your SEO’s time is being spent as effectively as possible.


7 Responses to "Using Paid Search Data to Guide Content Creation for SEO"
Keith says:
Good post Andy, nice perspective. This is why silos withing marketing orgs can be so detrimental. Rather than segmenting SEM away from Content and SEO working with /links/keywords and code elements, all three can share and compile the same data set, gaining intelligence over time. Especially with Google continuing to hide more (not provided) keywords and referral information, you need to take as much as you can get. There is definitely a synergistic affect when you can provide optimized content that improves quality scores, improves CPA, increases organic rankings, etc.
Thanks, Keith. I totally agree. The more data the better, and utilizing signals from as many sources as possible is sure to help inform online marketing as a whole.
Todd says:
Nice post Andy! Agree with your points here and believe gathering more data on effective keywords from PPC and looking for SEO optimizations for those pages is one of the simplest and yet most beneficial sets of information that can be pulled when utilizing PPC for SEO.
Thanks Todd. Simple and beneficial are definitely the goals.
Stacie Walker says:
Hello Andy, This is an excellent post. Thanks for keeping it simple and straight to the point. Using paid search data is an excellent way to get on the right track when writing content and improving SEO. Paid search data is pretty accurate and should be regularly used by webmasters, bloggers, or anyone creating content online. I look forward to reading future posts by you. To Your Success, Stacie Walker


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