When it comes to SEO and PPC, you’ll often hear it’s an either/or choice you must make. Evangelists on both sides argue how their method is the best, when in reality there are many things that make both stronger when used together.

Real estate on search results is constantly changing. Depending on what you enter, it’s now a mix of organic results, paid text ads, product listing ads, local listings, Youtube videos, or more.

Why Make SEO & PPC Worth Together?

If you’re only relying on one channel, chances are there’s traffic being left on the table, especially if you already know which keywords, products, or landing pages convert well for you.

As ad platforms on new and existing channels get more mature, there is also more data at your disposal to make better decisions.

Lately I’ve been doing a few year-end marketing audits for stores looking at the whole gauntlet: order history, email lists, keyword rankings, paid traffic, link profiles, analytics, and much more.

It’s good housekeeping to do this on a quarterly basis to know where you stand and the direction things are going. Here are some high level takeaways you can get from cross referencing data from your PPC and SEO efforts:


1. Get Better Data With Integration

Remember Megazord from the Power Rangers?

(It’s about to get super nerdy.)

He was the combination of the five Dinozord robots:

  • Tyrannosaurus (Red Ranger)
  • Pterodactyl (Pink Ranger)
  • Mastodon (Black Ranger)
  • Triceratops (Blue Ranger)
  • Sabertooth Tiger (Yellow Ranger)

On their own they were pretty badass, but together as Megazord they had a sword, shield, and could even shoot both fists as a projectile.


Megazord - Using PPC and SEO Together

It’s the same concept with your online marketing tools.

Adwords, Webmaster Tools, and Analytics all have their own backend data systems.

Linking them together (along with Youtube) makes your depth of data an incredible beast.

Megazord, power up!

By combining PPC and SEO data, your Megazord is the Paid & Organic Search Report, where you can see how paid text ads are working together with organic search rankings.

To get started, you’ll need to link up Webmaster Tools ASAP because organic search data is only reported once they are integrated.

You won’t see any historical data prior to this, so even if you’re not running PPC now get everything linked up to have this down the line.

In the report, you can get insights on queries where only an ad was shown, both organic/ads, or just organic results.

One catch is that the organic data provided here is not filtered through the same targeting criteria with Adwords, so it’s not a true apples-to-apples comparison.

Nevertheless you should get some good insights compared to not having them linked up at all.


2. Have Clean Site & Campaign Structures

Remember games like Starcraft, Age of Empires, or Clash of Clans where you have to build a base and army?

Chances are if you skipped ahead and didn’t follow proper upgrades (aka “rushing), your base is now a huge mess that you have to spend time unwinding and fixing.

Like this one below, if you play Clash of Clans:

Rushed Clash Of Clans Base - PPC Campaign Structure

It’s quite similar when you start out with PPC.

With no proper structure and organization in mind, things can quickly get messy once you start bidding on dozens (or hundreds/thousands) of keywords.

You want to go in with a game plan on setting up your campaign structure, ad groups, which landing pages to use, and much more.

Budgets, locations, languages, and bid strategies are set at the campaign level so you’ll want a structure that’s efficient, avoids overlap, and allows you to easily manage performance.

Some things to consider:

  • Is location important?
  • How many keywords are you bidding on?
  • Will you only do text ads?
  • PLAs?
  • Youtube Ads?
  • IDDQD?
  • Power Overwhelming?

Your landing page also has a big impact on your Quality Score, which means you’ll want SEO elements like site structure, navigation, categories, and product keywords all optimized too. 

Beyond that, there are conversion elements like copywriting, headlines, call-to-actions, site speed, images, and much more that can be tweaked to help both SEO and PPC efforts.

Putting some thought and discipline into this will save you headaches down the road, especially when it comes to having a team member trying to make sense of campaigns named “Boots 2013” or “Test 1“.


3. Optimize Your SEO With Adwords Data

In most strategy games there’s something called the fog of war.

Unless you explore that space, you won’t know what’s behind it.

A good strategy is to scout ahead to see what your enemy is doing, and build an army to counter the weakness of his base or troops.

Fog Of War - SEO & PPC Working Together

With Google now encrypting all search queries in Analytics, there’s a permanent fog of war over your data that you won’t have access to unless you discover it with Adwords.

It can take months or years to rank for keywords, and if you end up optimizing for ones that don’t generate sales, all that hard work goes down the drain.

Your PPC ad copy can also help your SEO efforts by providing data on the right messaging. You can then use that data to optimize your on-site elements such as title tags and meta descriptions.

PPC is also able to give you first hand data on bounce rate, time on site, and average pageviews of new keyword ideas.

This is something that keyword tools can’t provide no matter how much research you do. 

But remember…ROI is the bottom line, so don’t blow your PPC budget and SEO efforts purely chasing CTR!


4. Create Better Retargeting Lists

Virtually every nightclub in the world segments people from the haves (VIP) and have-nots (normal admission).

For normal admission there is usually a cover charge no matter where you go, in exchange for a crappy fountain drink as a consolation prize.

Often times for VIP you can just get in knowing the right people or having a good male to female ratio in the group.

Waiting In Line

For Adwords you are paying for every click, whereas an organic search rankings yield more ROI over the long term.

That allows you to build a bigger remarketing list as you’re also tagging people from search results. 

As you rank for more keywords, this plays out heavily over the long term. Used along with Customer Emails Lists in Adwords, you can get laser focused on targeting previous customers (Gmail, Youtube, etc.).


5. Increase Visibility For Bestsellers

In The Matrix Revolutions (3rd movie), bad guy Agent Smith has managed to copy himself and take over nearly every human in the Matrix, giving him complete control over the core network.

Neo is the only one that can stop him, and if he fails Smith will destroy everything.

Luckily when it comes to search results, you want to be like Agent Smith and dominate all the real estate.

That means more visibility, impressions, traffic, and ultimately sales to your site.

Screw the Oracle!

Agent Smith - SEO and PPC Visibility

For products that are ranking organically and driving a lot of sales, consider dominating more real estate by creating PPC Ads.

Since landing pages are a big part of PPC, knowing which products already convert will give you a head start.

You can find this data in Analytics by going to Conversions -> E-Commerce -> Product Performance and set the primary dimension to Product SKU.

Then you want to determine your break-even CPC, given current conversion and profit margins.

That way you’ll know the bid levels you can play with, along with simulating some best-case / worst-case scenarios.

Some stores can afford to lose money on the first sale to get the customer in the door (i.e. supplements, subscription, or consumables), so it will depend on your business model and product margins.

Find a monthly number you’re comfortable starting out with and calculate the daily budget from there.

By protecting the downside and focusing on what already converts, you can dive in with much more confidence whether it’s remarketing, Google Shopping, Youtube Ads, or Adwords.

Do you know your average profit per order, lifetime value, and repeat purchase rate?

If not, it’s also time to do an audit on your sales history and customer data.


6. Use Site Search For SEO & PPC Ideas

If there’s a super low hanging fruit for keyword ideas, it’s what people are already searching for on your site.

After all they’ve taken the time to stay, look around for products, and are now trying their luck in the search box to see if you have what they’re looking for.

Site Search For SEO and PPC

For online stores that have hundreds if not thousands of products, your site search data can yield a wealth of information in keyword ideas to target for both SEO and PPC.

On the SEO side, they can help with title, meta description, and content ideas. On the PPC front, this can give you some new keyword ideas to try.


Get Started Today

The first step you should do right now (if you haven’t already) is linking up your Adwords, Webmaster Tools, Analytics, and Youtube.

As online marketing becomes more complicated every year with new tools at your disposal, learning how to make sense of the data and identifying opportunities will give you an edge, while allowing you to get more bang for your dollars.

There are plenty of other ways to utilize both PPC and SEO together that are left out here: Mobile, Google Shopping, Youtube Ads, etc…It’s just too much to include in one post, so we’ll tackle that subject another day.

Are there other ways you utilize both PPC and SEO that’s missing from here?

Happy to hear your ideas in the comments below.

Subscribe to Build My Online Store in your favorite podcast player, or check out the episode list of our eCommerce podcast.

Last week a listener left a comment calling me out on a few things I’ve failed to follow up on and wanted to get my thoughts. You can find the original comment here. Since there were quite a few questions, I decided to answer them in a post here incase some other folks might be wondering the same thing.


“Finally after one year of listening I was able to catch up on all episodes. In the beginning I was really thinking this is a great web show but by now I have some serious doubts that I am going to formulate some questions for you.”

First off, thanks for listening to all the old episodes as it’s been over three years in the making. Hope all is well in Berlin, Germany too (yes, I checked your IP address). My parents just recently moved to Leipzig so will be visiting sometime next year once it warms up.

There are 160+ episodes now across three years so I don’t remember what’s said in every episode. Since you listened to all episodes in a row, chances are your memory is much fresher on everything that happened in a much shorter time frame.

Hope there are a few tips that you have already applied to your store!

Our pre-show updates are generally kept under one minute for each person, so that means we have to cut out stuff that either isn’t that important, didn’t work out, or just isn’t our focus right now. Sure, that might create holes in the narrative here and there, but I think most people are not keeping track and we can live with it. On to the responses:


“Why do you talk about so many “best-practices“ on your show but don’t realize on your website?” What you say: Content Marketing Strategy is a long-term strategy.  What you do: You have only a few articles from May/June and that’s about it.”

Content marketing isn’t only limited to blog posts. It can also be in the form of infographics, videos, pictures, podcasts, presentations, and more. Earlier in the year I experimented with some text content on the blog, but realized that for fashion products it doesn’t really work. It really has to be image or video driven – especially if your product isn’t about fixing a problem, but creating a desire. You can say a fashion magazine like GQ or FHM is text content, but 70% of each edition is still image based.

After seeing no traction for about 2-3 months, I stopped doing text content and started experimenting with Instagram here. It’s still too early to see any results yet, but followers have grown from 100 to 4,000 so far. I tried some different content ideas at the 100-200 follower level but there was no critical mass to see any meaningful results. The goal is to get 10,000 followers in the next few months and see what content is getting the most engagement.

Whether that’s quotes, travel photos, product photos, or comedy – who knows? Likewise, it’s not worth talking about yet since it may or may not work too, so we’ll have to see later on.


“What you say: Alt images text are important for SEO. What you do: Your alt images are “image 1” etc.”

You’re right on this one. I had my images all setup correctly when the store first launched in 2014, but earlier in 2015 I updated some and probably forgot to check the alt tags. Thank you for pointing that out.


“What you say: Generating a e-mail list is essential for your marketing.What you do: There are no pop ups or other serious attends to catch leads on your website.”

After realizing that image-based content was what fashion products needed, I tried a few discount code opt-ins but that didn’t seem to work either. At the core there just wasn’t enough consistent traffic coming to the site to really split test different opt-ins, so I decided to focus on traffic building first by creating a stronger profile on Instagram.

Until the Instagram profile gets bigger, the project is not a priority as I’m focused on BMOS client services which is going quite well. A problem with wallets is that most people don’t need to purchase them on a repeat basis, so you’ll have to churn through a lot of new traffic in order to really grow this.

With one anchor client we’ve been able to increase their email opt-ins from 3.5% to 4.2% which is pretty good. People only care about the results you can get for them and that’s all that really matters. Many of these clients have more mature businesses, so simple tweaks can make a bigger difference.


“Why do talk about what you want to do but never catch up on how it went?”

Sometimes I don’t follow up because it was just an idea that didn’t work out, sounded good in the moment, or wasn’t worth talking about again. We now only record every two weeks and a lot happens in-between then. For each pre-show update we try to keep it under one minute (for each person) so a lot of unimportant stuff is left out on purpose. I do not keep a checklist of everything I say on each episode, nor do I plan to in the future either. Keep in mind you are also listening to old episodes all at once in the past year, so the sense of time and progression isn’t the same as if you started in 2012 and only listened once a week.


“What happened with your crowdfunding campaign? Why are you talking about around 10 episodes, what you are working on but not why you failed?”

I chose not to talk about it for a few months and that was my decision on purpose.

After the campaign failed I didn’t want anything to do with it. I’d been working on it from October 2014 – March 2015 and needed some time away to process what didn’t work and what went wrong. So during that time I really had nothing to say as I was still trying to figure it out myself. Have you done a crowdfunding campaign before? If not, you won’t understand the feeling that comes with publically failing.

It barely hit any traction at around 10% funding and the issue came down to a few things. One, doing product design and marketing as one person isn’t viable, let alone running a podcast at the same time.

Every time I worked on the product, the marketing department stalled and vice versa. The solutions were to either find a co-founder, spend a longer period of time (1-2 years) to really develop both product and marketing, or spend money to outsource one of them before launch. A lot of it was going in with unrealistic expectations on what one person could do in a short six month period of time.

So I tried some Facebook Ads to drive visitors to a landing page to sign up for launch information, but it was a huge gamble. Even if you can get good CPC or CTR rates, you have no idea how good this traffic is until the campaign actually launches. Each email I got was obtained at a cost around $1.50 USD, so building a list of up to 3,000 people would have costed almost $4,500 USD for something that may or may not work.

The other solution is reaching out to fashion blogs and influencers for traffic, but turns out they don’t accept submissions until a campaign is live, in addition to reviewing a product sample in some special cases. Given the product was still in development and I only had three samples, it didn’t make sense to send them out to bloggers as I still needed them for video, photos, and other tasks.

What I should have done was a small production run of 20-30 units, send them to key influencers, family, and peers to have them test it out. Besides getting actual design and user feedback, this gives you more buy-in for them to promote you once it’s actually live and it snowballs from there. Going back to the timeframe issue, six months is not enough time to get this done if you are starting the campaign from scratch.

That’s probably the 80/20 of everything related to that campaign, and since it’s not my focus anymore I don’t see any reason to talk about it from now on.


“How is it going with your shop? The only thing what you have mentioned is that the branding is probably not good.  I think there are more learnings that you can share with us what works and what not for you.”

I share only what I’m comfortable sharing. A few copycats have popped up since I started talking about it in 2014, and some people have even tried to ask me for my supplier’s information because they also want to get into wallets. Since it’s still a new project, I don’t see the benefit in giving everything away that’s working which will result in a copycat or rip-off.

Being under the spotlight on the internet exposes you to this, so we are now more selective with what we share on purpose. Travis has also come under fire lately as someone has tried to negative SEO his website. So right now we only choose to share information that we are comfortable with, unless it’s in a mastermind group where everyone is more transparent since things are off the record.


“Over time you have lost a lot of credibility for me. Don’t get me wrong. I am not a hater and I really like you. Otherwise I would have not raised my concerns in such a way.”

It’s fine, I’m not going to lose any sleep over your feedback.

Hope this helps!

Subscribe to Build My Online Store in your favorite podcast player, or check out the episode list of our eCommerce podcast.

The following is an excerpt from a book called The Truth: An Uncomfortable Book About Relationships by Neil Strauss. It’s got nothing to do with e-commerce, but everything to do with handling challenges in life, relationships, and knowing yourself.

The core concept is that growing up as children, we are often exposed to positive and negative trauma that can determine how we act as adults. Even a small thing such as dad coming home from work angry, over many months and years can leave a scar that you don’t realize until you do the long journey of introspective work.

But diagnosing yourself is like trying to touch your right elbow with your right hand.

This part of the book lays out an overview on how to get started. Enjoy!


In the beginning

You were born. And like all infants, you were completely vulnerable and dependent, with a new developing brain and no understanding of the world.

In a perfect world

Your parents would be perfect. They would be dedicated full-time to taking care of your physical and psychological needs, always making the right decisions, setting the healthiest boundaries, and protecting you from all harm, while preparing you to eventually take care of your needs without them.

But in the real world

No one is perfect. Neither are your parents, nor the people who play a role in your upbringing. Therefore, along the way, some of your developmental needs don’t get met.

And the problem is

When one of your needs doesn’t get met, however big or small, it can leave a wound. These wounds are known as childhood trauma. Each instance or pattern of trauma can create specific core personal issues and relationship challenges – and if these are left untreated, you’re likely to pass your wounds on to the next generation.

Since this trauma occurs early in life, it can affect social, emotional, behavioral, and moral development.

It’s not always overt or intentional…

Most commonly, people think of trauma as coming from hateful perpetrators who are knowingly and willingly abusive. But even parents who think of themselves as loving or well-meaning make mistakes, cross boundaries, or simply do their best with the limited internal resources they have.

And this covert, often unrecognized form of abuse can, through its constant repetition, leave wounds just as deep as those created by a single malicious act.


It can be an emotional scar…

In your earliest years, you’re the center of the universe. Everything revolves around you. so wounds can come from caregivers who are either out of control or completely detachted from their emotions around you.

When mom is always full of anxiety as she’s breastfeeding, dad comes home in a rage every time he has a rough day at work, or step dad is depressed by his money problems during the rare moments he spends with you, you soak up these emotions like a sponge, often erroneously taking the blame or responsibility for them.

Even if a parent falls ill and passes away, it can seem like abandonment or something you made happen if you’re too young to understand death.

It can be physical…

Most people understand that it’s not okay to physically harm or even spank a child. But here’s an example that’s not as obvious: any invasive medical procedure such as circumcision or getting stitches – may register the exact same as physical abuse if you experience it in your first few years of life.

You may even start to distrust your caregivers for bringing you to an unfamiliar place and not keeping you safe.

Often it’s intellectual…

After the first few years of life, you start to separate from your parents. In this period, it’s their job to help you become your own person and confidently stand on your own two feet in the world.

Here, a whole new set of problems can arise – especially when parents try to over-control you, habitually criticize you, or unreasonably expect you to be perfect. Other families adhere to such rigid rules that any manifestation of a child’s individuality is immediately attacked as a threat.

All these can lead to esteem problems in life.

Or it can take over your entire identity…

Within a dysfunctional family system, each child tends to play a different role that helps the family survive and detracts from its real issues. These can include the revered hero, the trouble-making scapegoat, the neglected lost child, the people-pleasing placater, and the mood-lifting mascot.

Later in life, these roles (as well as birth order) can lead to corresponding personality issues, whether it’s the hero’s judgemental perfection, the scapegoat’s explosive anger, the lost child’s low self-esteem, the placater’s denial of personal needs, or the mascot’s impulsive irresponsibility.


But it’s not easy to see your own core issues…

Your oldest beliefs, behaviors, and adaptations have not just been reinforced by decades of habit, but are built deep into the architecture of your brain, which is busy building neural connections at an astounding rate in early life.

As the saying goes – “Cells that fire together, wire together.

So trying to see yourself with any objectivity can be like trying to touch your right elbow with your right hand. But if you can detach yourself from yourself a little bit, you’ll notice that the things you do and think don’t just come out of nowhere.

Here are a few techniques and tools you can use to better understand the way your past can interfere with your happiness, your relationships, and your life today.

You can work backward…

Are you relentlessly driving yourself to succeed and beating yourself up when you fail? Maybe that’s because when you were a teenager, your parents made you feel as if your worth as a human being was dependent upon your grades, touchdowns, or accomplishments.

Are you out of touch with your emotions because stepdad always told you to toughen up when you cried? Do you feel deep down like you don’t matter because you were often ignored growing up? Are you always trying to save or care for others because you were never able to save mom from her depression or addiction?

Are you in complete denial that anything was wrong with your family because dad acted as if he were infallible and must be unquestioningly obeyed, so criticizing him would be like blaspheming God?

You can excuse my language…

Some of you have a big bag of shit you’re carrying around. And every time you encounter a situation in which you can possibly get more shit to put in the bag, you grab it and stuff it inside. You’ll even ignore all the diamonds glittering nearby, because all you can see is the shit.

This shit is known as “the stories you tell yourself.”

Examples include generalizations like “I make bad decisions,” “If people saw the real me, they wouldn’t like me,” or conversely, “No one is good enough for me.” Each of these beliefs can be formed in childhood by, respectively, fault-finding parents, abandoning parents, and parents who put you on a pedestal.

As a result, you can spend much of your life misinterpreting situations and thinking you’ve found more evidence to support these false conclusions formed in childhood.

One way to recognize when you’re stuck in your own story is whenever you feel less than or better than others. You can examine this chart…

Wounded Child

(Emotionally 0-5)

Adapted Adolescent

(Emotionally 6-18)

Functional Adult

(Emotionally Mature)


Extremely Vulnerable

Extremely Needy

Feed Bad / Naughty

Out of Control

Fears Abandonment

Seeks Attention

Idealizes Caretakers

Idealizes Partners




Feels Blameless/Perfect


Fears Suffocation

Seeks Intensity

Disillusioned By Caretakers

Disillusioned By Partners

Esteemed From Within

Healthy Boundaries

Communicates Needs

Honest And Self-Aware

Flexible And Moderate


Lives In Integrity And Harmony

In Reality About Caretakers

In Reality About Parents


Then you ask yourself...

In a given week, do you exhibit any of the wounded child or adolescent behaviors here? If so, you may have either gotten stuck somewhere along the way in your emotional or behavioral development, or certain situations are causing you to revert to those ages.

Any time you overreact to something – by shutting down, losing your temper, sulking, feeling hopeless, freaking out, disassociating, or any of numerous other dysfunctional behaviors – it’s typically because an old wound has been triggered.

And you’re regressing to the childhood or adolescent state that corresponds to that feeling. Note that the wounded child tends to directly internalize the messages that caretakers give; the adopted adolescent tends to react against them.

However, not everyone reacts the same way…

And children are born with different predispositions and resiliency.

So if you remain loyal to people who abuse and mistreat you, that’s called trauma bonding. If you only feel normal if you’re doing something extreme or high-risk, that’s trauma arousal. If you’ve developed intense self-loathing, you’ve got trauma shame.

If you find chemical mental, or technological ways to numb yourself and your feelings, that’s trauma blocking. And it goes on and on. One pattern of trauma; many different possible responses to it.

We’ve only scratched the surface.

But at least you know the model we’re working with here.

It’s not about blaming but understanding…

In summary, we each spend our adult lives running on a unique operating system that took some eighteen years to program and is full of distinct bugs and viruses.

And when we put together all these different theories of attachment, developmental immaturity, post-traumatic stress, and internal family systems, they make up a body of language that allows us to run a virus scan on ourselves and, at any point, to look at our behaviors, our thoughts, and our feelings, and figure out where they come from.

That’s the easy part.


The tough part is to quarantine the virus, and to recognize the false self and restore the true self. Because it isn’t until we start developing an honest, compassionate, and functional relationship with ourselves that we can begin to experience a healthy, loving relationship with others.

Subscribe to Build My Online Store in your favorite podcast player, or check out the episode list of our eCommerce podcast.

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