7 reports SEO and PPC can use to help each other succeed

Create powerful organic and paid search campaigns with intentional communication and data-sharing between your SEO and PPC teams.

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Is anyone still creating artificial opposition between SEO and PPC (e.g., “We rank first organically, so we don’t need to pay for an ad”)?

How about hiring a PPC- or SEO-only agency or keeping in-house teams in silos?

I know you’re out there. I still encounter these situations more frequently than I’d like to admit.

The truth is, any brand or agency marketer not fully committed to using SEO and PPC to make each other stronger is doing their organization (or client) a disservice. 

It can be as simple as looking at certain metrics and communicating the takeaways to your colleagues.

This article covers seven reports your paid and SEO teams can run – and how your colleagues on the other side can help act on the findings.

Paid reports and what they mean for SEO

1. Top-performing keywords

PPC teams have a list of top keywords that get extra-special love in the form of exact match, single or small keyword ad groups, custom landing pages, etc.

Your SEO team should be updated on that list, including new additions and drop-offs.

No matter how good paid performance is, many people still don’t trust ads (only 38% of people trusted ads on search engines, according to Statista). They will be looking for other relevant listings to click on.

And for many keywords, folks are looking for more awareness-based or educational information that direct-response ads won’t provide as reliably as SEO content.

In other words, top-performing keywords are fertile ground for SEOs to lean in and add incremental value.

The bonus is that folks with conversion intent for the keywords and going through the SEO listing to convert will help burnish SEO’s lower-funnel metrics.

2. Highest-CPC keywords

This one’s a key metric to share with SEO, especially if the costs prohibit PPC scale.

For keywords that are getting too expensive for competitive PPC campaigns, SEO teams can lean in and prioritize driving value in an otherwise inaccessible space.

3. Monthly drops in impression share and search top impression share

This can indicate increased competition for both parties. Increased competition will lead to higher costs on the PPC side.

While it might make it harder for SEO to compete in the short term, it’s an indicator that (for high-priority queries) it’s time to focus on new or optimized pages, content and metadata.

Dig deeper: Your 2023 guide to SEO reporting and tracking


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SEO reports and what they mean for PPC

4. Keyword performance dips

The same principle as above applies here, but in reverse: sharp dips in keyword performance are likely indicative of increased competition. 

This should spark a conversation with the PPC team about whether they should prioritize those keywords in their campaigns.

It is also a signal for both teams to dig in and see who’s competing for that traffic and what kind of messaging they’re using.

5. High-priority keywords

Suppose SEOs are focused on a particular set of keywords. In that case, they’ll likely have valuable audience and behavioral data to share with the PPC team that can help refine messaging, targeting, CTAs and conversion types.

Note: Good SEO teams will be able to identify levels of intent for their priority keywords.

Are the keywords not focused on conversion or direct response but more on engagement and awareness?

PPC folks should consider creating keyword-based custom audiences for channels like GDN and YouTube to cast a wide net with lower costs.

6. Keyword difficulty

SEOs will often study a wishlist of high-priority keywords and find steep levels of competition and ranking difficulty.

This isn’t an indicator that SEOs should throw up their hands and look elsewhere, but it does mean any quick gains will be the provenance of the PPC team.

If the teams are aligned on a growth focus for certain keywords, this is where the PPC team can take a little liberty with budget and CPC caps and open the spigot for engagement. 

7. Top-performing pages and content

Pages and pieces of content ranking well and driving significant traffic have a couple of common factors:

  • There’s a good amount of demand.
  • Google thinks the property is high quality.

For webpages, there may be good learnings from the page that PPC folks can use to optimize their own landing pages.

Successful pieces of content, meanwhile, can be assets for PPC teams to employ for gated content – or even for ungated content that can help build retargeting audiences.

Suppose SEOs are already driving traffic to pages that are getting conversion activity (i.e., blog subscriptions, demo sign-ups, click-throughs to product pages, etc.).

In that case, the PPC team should be all over this data to:

  • Drive their own traffic to those pages.
  • Or pull a short list of messaging elements and value propositions to test in their landing pages or ad copy.

Dig deeper: Using search query reports to optimize PPC campaigns

Intentional communication to unlock growth

The best way to ensure these insights get to the other teams, and to hold teammates accountable for the takeaways, is to set up a cadence of regular meetings and/or reports once you’ve built a framework of analysis.

At a minimum, each team should be aware of: 

  • The other team’s top growth priorities.
  • The other team’s key campaigns.
  • Strategic content and landing page development in the pipeline.

The benefits of this level of communication can be surprising. We’ve had some great brainstorms between teams simply from being introduced to the other team’s initiatives. 

And whether you’re at an agency or in-house, you can combine for some compelling storytelling for clients or your executive team when you understand the broader picture and the interplay between channels.


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.


About the author

Laura Schiele
Contributor
Laura Schiele, Head of Paid Acquisition at Jordan Digital Marketing, has nearly a decade of experience in paid media strategy and execution in both agency and in-house accounts and uses advanced analytics skills to scale growth within efficiency goals across Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, and more. Laura manages a large team of paid media experts remotely from her home in Burlington, VT.

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