"If we control 1 top ranked PPC ad, and 1 top ranked search engine position, we can control the entire mood of the niche," says XCMP, the elusive search pro behind the Slightly Shady SEO blog. "We can give people their first impression of the products, and use both things to control their thought process."
XCMP serves up two examples (one "white hat" and the other veering toward the
shadier side) of how to combine paid search with a strong organic ranking to own a niche. We'll take the white hat example, which starts with a bit of market research. Launch a simple survey with a
list of well-known brands in your niche--including your own--that asks your customers which brand provided the best value for them. "They're your customers, so in theory you should come out on top,"
Set up a campaign that drives clickers to a landing page featuring quotes about your brand from the survey, complete with an ad title or body copy that hypes a statistic
like "95% of travelers prefer The Naples Agency." Then tweak your organic ranking description to point out a different benefit--like the agency's low prices or excellent customer service, or even a
"Since the 2 statements appear to come from different sources, they seem more trustworthy," XCMP says. The ad promotes customer satisfaction with the travel agency, while the organic description (and the Web site itself) serves up the info that they were really looking for--be it cheap travel or a specific vacation package. "All angles are covered, and seemingly corroborated," XCMP says.