Feb 26, 2019

How to use your Google Ads data to improve SEO

By Supermetrics

Google AdsPerformance Marketing AnalyticsSEO Analytics

[ Updated Mar 7, 2023 ]

6-MINUTE READ · By Misty Faucheux

In the land of digital marketing, SEO and SEM are typically handled by two different departments – or at least two different specialists. While designed to work in tandem, oftentimes, these two areas don’t realize that SEO affects SEM and vice versa. Both teams live in their vacuums and silos never sharing data.

Yet, Google Ads can provide valuable information to SEO professionals, just like SEM specialists can leverage SEO to improve ads and keyword strategies. So, how can you start leveraging Ads data to improve your organic search? It all starts with pulling data from Ads.

What Google Ads SEM data can you use for SEO?

Search terms report

Many SEO specialists have never even seen the Google Ads platform (or dealt with its new, frustrating setup – my humble opinion) so they don’t know where to begin pulling data. Perhaps, the best place to start is with the Search Terms report.

Use Google search reports to Improve SEO

The Search Terms report can be found in the Keywords section of every campaign. This report provides the actual search terms that someone used when your ad was triggered. What makes this report so valuable is that it provides the ACTUAL terms that were used. While many of these will seem irrelevant – which often means that they needed to be added to negative keyword lists to stop ads from being shown – others are interesting twists on your existing keywords.

While you wouldn’t want to add all of these, there are some that stick out. When you see terms consistently being used, and you’re getting quality clicks and conversions, campaign managers will often enhance their campaigns with them. And, usually, that’s where it ends.

But SEO specialists could also review these search terms reports and see if they can use them for keyword strings or even brand new keywords. Since you know that these are the search queries that people are using, they could also be very effective for organic results.

If you think in terms of SEO, this is similar to the search query reports that you see in Search Console. While we often pull keywords from here, if Google Ads campaigns are being run, you should also think about adding search terms into the mix as well.

Audience insights

While the Search Terms report can provide information on what search queries people are using to cause your ad to be shown, the Audience Insights report provides you with expanded information about your audience. Accessed in the Audience Manager, you must have remarketing set up to use this report – which you should probably be doing anyway – as well as audience lists.

Once your lists have been firing for a few weeks, you’ll be able to start getting information on your visitor’s search history and what categories that they fall into as far as audiences go.

Use audience insights to improve SEO

In-Market Audiences shows insights on people who are more than likely to buy very soon. With every audience, there’s an index number. The higher the index, the more likely that this audience will match the buying intent of the people on your list. In this particular case, the company does carpet installation, which has a high index.

Affinity Audiences are typically people who are not ready to buy. They’re usually higher up in the funnel. So, the topics might be more related to someone who’s consuming content and doing research as opposed to someone who is looking for an exact product. These may seem quite out of range for SEO, but you can still glean some insights into your audience and what they’re interested in online.

Affinity audiences to improve SEO

The main purpose of this list for advertising is to expand targeting and increase bidding. For SEO professionals, however, they can use the categories to find new keywords. For example, in the In-Market insights, we see that carpet installation is a key topic. So, not only should you create content around this keyword, you should also add it to your website.

While the Affinity Audiences might seem a bit out of left field, you may still be able to use some of the information for SEO purposes. For example, you know that one of your top audiences is interested in Home Décor and Green Living. You could create content around these topics. Let’s go back to the carpet installation client. For example, if this client sells “green” carpeting, a marketer could create a series of posts around the benefits of environmentally friendly carpet and similar topics.

How PPC and SEO can work together

For the average company, an SEO professional probably isn’t going to have access to Google Ads, but that’s OK. All you need is the reports. If you can’t get into the dashboard, simply ask whoever can to send you monthly Search Terms and Audience Insights reports.

Plus, these two roles are really two sides of the same coin. You should be working together on a regular basis to make each other’s activities more effective – really that’s true of all digital marketing efforts. Online marketing works best when there’s a cohesive, integrated strategy, and everyone is working closely together towards a set of goals.

If you do run into antagonism from the PPC side, then simply ask for automated reports on a monthly basis. The point is this: you need those reports. You need to see what you can leverage to make your content and SEO campaigns more effective.

What you should be doing right now

Now that you have the data, it’s time to do some experimentation. You should start by testing your best-performing search terms as well as some from your audience insights. Create batches of content or pages around these terms or themes, and monitor traffic, page views, bounces, etc. Compare this to your existing traffic. That being said, however, we all know how SEO works. So, give it time. Let this run for maybe eight-plus weeks.

You should also use the data to come up with new ideas. Think about your audiences, and brainstorm potential topics in which they might be interested. Try out a few, and see what happens. New content can’t hurt you, and it might actually start drawing more of your intended audience to your site.

About Misty Faucheux


Misty Faucheux is an Integrated Online Marketing Specialist at Faucheux Enterprises and a guest writer for Supermetrics. She is a digital marketer, specializing in SEO, SEM, content marketing/writing and social ads. Misty helps companies develop a cohesive online marketing strategy that directly addresses their overall business goals and objectives. You can find her on TwitterLinkedInInstagram and Flickr.

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