#Organic Search - SEO #Paid Search - PPC #Digital Marketing

How to make SEO and PPC integration work

Whether it’s Google, Yahoo, Bing or Yandex, all search engine result pages (SERPs) showcase just two types of results: paid or organic.  There is one big differentiation between these two types of results: Paid generates results using the biddable approach (PPC), while the ranking of results in organic are earned (SEO).

The skillsets required to excel at SEO and PPC are quite different, which is why the teams tend to operate independently from each other. This is similarly true of the structure on the client side of things, where different people manage each channel. All this has led to a situation where each channel often has separate owners, budgets and KPIs.

But when a user sees the results page, it's not a mixture of paid advertisement and organic listings. For them, it's one search page and that's exactly what search experts should remember when deciding their approach.

Having high calibre specialist teams working on each of the channels is (and always will be) necessary, but a lack of integration will lead to a multitude of issues, for example:

  • PPC money is spent where SEO is already strong and an additional PPC listing adds marginal value (which often is not worth the cost)
  • SEO actions are not focused in areas where PPC is forced to spend excessive amounts when compared to the ROI, but where, over time, SEO can own the space
  • There is inconsistent messaging instead of complementary messaging across paid and organic listings

These common errors point to one conclusion: to achieve the highest ROI possible, SEO & PPC must work together.

How to make SEO & PPC integration work

The first step is to determine a unified view on how both of the channels are performing. This is done by gathering and storing data points from both first- and third-party data sources. Then the data is translated into information and analysed against business objectives, for example raising awareness or driving sales.  It is important to be clear which areas of the consumer journey are covered and which are missing, as this way of looking at search enables the identification of missing content and which pages need to be restructured, optimised or enhanced.

This prior work will allow the search teams to come up with actionable insights from which a data-led action strategy can be devised. This strategy would consist of multiple elements:

  • Rigorous data analysis: Every day more and more data is being generated and becoming available for use. iProspect is constantly looking to introduce new data sources, as well as create new ways to use existing data points that enable smarter decision-making.
  • Flexible budget management: If a client’s business changes, industry changes or new findings reveal that better ROI will be achieved through an alternative investment plan, the engagement has the flexibility to facilitate that.
  • Ongoing testing plan: From bidding strategies and message-testing to Click-Through-Rate (CTR) modelling, exploring every opportunity to meet clients’ business objectives is key. iProspect has a very close relationship with Google and gets early access to search innovations before they are open to the public.
  • Trend spotting: Search doesn't stand still and neither does the way people use it. Staying on top of new trends and identifying opportunities upon which to capitalise are a key part of the strategy.
  • Regular communication: Close contact ensures that whatever iProspect is doing is completely aligned with the direction in which the client wants their business to go.

One final point that needs to be considered is attribution. Because last-click attribution is the most commonly used attribution model and PPC campaigns tend to focus on the bottom of the funnel, attribution is often assigned to PPC. The drawback of this attribution model is that it almost entirely ignores the fact that organic listings (SEO) may have captured the user from more generic terms, or that the customer could have been exposed to content on other sites due to SEO outreach and influencer marketing activities. Without these, many users may not have built a strong enough relationship with the brand and thus wouldn't click on the paid listing and convert. By adjusting the attribution model this fallacy is mitigated.

Why iProspect?

SEO & PPC integration is not an innovation; it's an approach that allows you to improve the metric that matters most: Return On Investment (ROI).

This is achieved by:

  • Channel specialists: Just because the approach is integrated, this does not take away the requirement for each channel to be managed by an experienced team of search specialists
  • Relying on data: Not just opinions when making decisions on overall and channel-specific questions.
  • Considering the effect of any potential change: In either SEO or PPC on the overall search performance
  • Easily detecting any anomalies: By comparing data between the two channels and identifying potential issues with data or performance.
  • Having a long-term approach: With room for flexibility so the team can be more tactical

iProspect's OneSearch is a scientific approach to SEO & PPC integration that brings together data, content, channel excellence and strategy, as well as budget allocation to achieve the best ROI from search as a whole.

To learn more about how iProspect can help you leverage search to its fullest potential, please get in touch.