How To Leverage PPC To Discover High-Converting Keywords For SEO

When starting out with a new search effort or performing a keyword refresh for an existing website, the options for discovering new keywords are limited only by the SEO’s imagination.

From the Google Adwords Keyword Tool, to digging through analytics, to leveraging sites like Soovle that discover ‘suggest’ keywords across multiple search engines, keyword discovery options abound.

Building a pool of potential keywords to optimize for, however, is only half the battle.

keyword research soovle

For those websites driving visitors to a ‘conversion event’ (e-commerce, asset download, form completion, etc.), different keywords will convert at different rates. Not all keywords are created equal and your website might be optimized to convert better for some keywords versus others.

Finding out a keyword converts poorly after spending the effort to work your way up the organic search rankings can be a time consuming and frustrating process, but there is a way to shortcut the process and discover high converting keywords: Paid Search (PPC) data.

With PPC data, you can focus time and resources on driving keywords that convert well up the organic search listings.

Set Up Paid Search Ads To Generate Conversion Rates

By utilizing the full scope of data available in paid search, SEOs can make actionable decisions during the initial stages of building a keyword list.

Those with existing PPC campaigns can extract the information and translate it into SEO opportunities, while those without PPC data can set up test beds for keywords that have the best chance of converting. It is often recommended that ads run for at least four weeks before continuing with the next step.

Once sufficient ad data has been collected, look through Google Adwords to determine the keywords with the highest conversion rate.  You can sort by the ‘Conv. Rate’ column in the Adwords tool to discover the best performers:

adwords analytics


To dive deeper, export your converting keyword list to Excel and segment the keywords into thirds: top-converting keywords, medium-converting keywords, and low-converting keywords.

An SEO roadmap can be generated using this list, where strategic planning and optimization can begin for top-converting keywords followed by middle-converting ones. Once the keyword list has been exhausted, repeat the process to generate a high-performing SEO keyword list.

keyword segmentation


Increase Your Odds By Leveraging PPC

In SEO, deciding which keywords to focus on is one of the first decisions you make, but it is also one of the most important and can genuinely impact your bottom line.

As a medium, PPC offers the ability to gather quick, actionable keyword conversion data that can be leveraged to provide insightful and strategic planning for those in the preliminary stages of SEO development or those looking to refresh their keyword list.

In the end, any insight that increases your odds of conversion can impact your revenue, so consider leveraging PPC as an SEO tool to discover high-performing keywords.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: All Things SEO Column | Channel: SEO | How To | How To: SEO | Intermediate


About The Author: is Director of Research at Conductor, Inc, an SEO technology company in New York, authoring insightful research on trends in the natural search industry.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn


Get all the top search stories emailed daily!  


Other ways to share:

Read before commenting! We welcome constructive comments and allow any that meet our common sense criteria. This means being respectful and polite to others. It means providing helpful information that contributes to a story or discussion. It means leaving links only that substantially add further to a discussion. Comments using foul language, being disrespectful to others or otherwise violating what we believe are common sense standards of discussion will be deleted. Comments may also be removed if they are posted from anonymous accounts. You can read more about our comments policy here.
  • Thaht Guy

    Maybe if you’re working with a nice disposable budget, but any small time business or new website generally can’t afford to just test out keywords through PPC while paying $0.05 to $9 per click. Especially if they don’t have the infrastructure set up to do anything with those clicks to make money while testing. Sounds great for those clients that want to just throw money at SEO/PPC without worrying about the ROI.

    A better use would be to guide an already existing PPC campaign eventually to 100% SEO and drop PPC from the budget. Find the converting keywords, then do the SEO for them, and phase out PPC. I have yet to find a client with a PPC campaign who is actually making money from it. They all want help “improving” it. That’s easy, stop doing it and do something that works.

  • rahul rastogi

    awesomely explained.. looking forward to pimp my PPC campaign accordingly..


Get Our News, Everywhere!

Daily Email:

Follow Search Engine Land on Twitter @sengineland Like Search Engine Land on Facebook Follow Search Engine Land on Google+ Get the Search Engine Land Feed Connect with Search Engine Land on LinkedIn Check out our Tumblr! See us on Pinterest


Click to watch SMX conference video

Join us at one of our SMX or MarTech events:

United States


Australia & China

Learn more about: SMX | MarTech

Free Daily Search News Recap!

SearchCap is a once-per-day newsletter update - sign up below and get the news delivered to you!



Search Engine Land Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

Get Your Copy
Read The Full SEO Guide