It’s no secret that SEO is but one tactic which can be used to drive traffic to your site. Anyone who has managed SEO and paid search campaigns can easily point out the advantages of both. The trick, in larger companies, is to ensure they exist side by side. Too many times these core traffic driving programs are split up and managed by different groups. Because SEO tends to have a technical flavor, and PPC tends to deal in larger volumes of dollars, more often than not SEO resides in the engineering or operations side of the house, while paid search sits firmly in marketing.
Short of going to war with management and getting this changed, how can you create synergies between the groups? How do you use the information one search marketing team gathers to help the other?
Paid helping organic
Paid search lives in a world of intense tracking. Not a single cent is spent without knowing the exact ROI brought back by that penny. Should a campaign slip below a desired limit, it is swiftly sent to the gallows. This intense trackability can provide direct benefits in the world of organic search.
Because paid search lives in a world where each transaction is monitored, landing pages (and more importantly, the language and messaging on the pages) is constantly refined; the organic side can quickly learn what type of content converts. The conversion can vary, but if you have a paid campaign driving traffic to dedicated, refined landing pages, and that traffic is converting, start capturing this data. It tracks back to keywords. Use these keywords to cross reference with your organic lists to see if you are missing areas for exposure. In many cases there will be overlap, the differences in conversion typically being due to where in the “conversion funnel” a user is at the time they search & find you. Regardless, this data holds clues to what some of those users are taking action on. By targeting them in your SEO efforts, alongside your paid campaigns, you effectively increase your exposure footprint.
Organic helping paid
Paid search has evolved to such a level where dedicated landing pages for individual ads are pretty much the defacto state of the union. These pages are highly refined to be laser-focused, using very specific calls to action to elicit the desired purchase or transaction. Too many times companies set aside millions for monthly PPC ad spend, only to be left penniless when it comes time to designing dedicated landing pages. There is a hard cost in terms of time to develop and tweak these pages. In larger companies, the resources to manage these page-level changes don’t often reside in the group spending the money and managing the campaigns, so they need to collaborate cross-group.
In the world of organic search, we live and breathe topical relevance. There’s an opportunity here to blend your organic page content with a dedicated call to action. By integrating the messaging, a single page can do double duty for both organic rankings, and as a landing page.
Both sides of the search equation require pages that are highly relevant and focused on targeted keywords. You can take advantage of this requirement to guide your content development. In other words, you can create economies of scale by developing content that satisfies the needs of both your organic and paid search campaigns. And in this economy, that’s a message that resonates at the C-level. While this focus may not be possible for everyone, nor applicable in every instance, many companies find that it works well. By combining stats and looking through the data from both sides of the coin, you’ll uncover nuggets of value. As with everything search, test, refine, test, refine. By taking a holistic approach that combines your paid and organic search development, you’ll uncover the phrases unique to your site, product or service that resonate not only with those searching for information, but for those seeking to make a transaction happen. Regardless of where a user is in their “conversion funnel,” you’ll have, and be showing, what they want.
If you do have a split search marketing program, this might be the first step in making the case that development efforts should be combined. With today’s budgets shrinking, resources being harder to come by and a general feeling of needing more from less, looking for ways to streamline costs and find efficiencies is what makes heroes.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.