This post marks the fourth of a 6 part series on sharing insights across marketing channels focusing on the benefit of combining paid digital media with other channels in your marketing plan. Check out Part 1: Social, Part 2: Offline & Online, Part 3: Email & Paid Campaigns.
For awhile, and even still, I encounter situations with a tug-of-war between PPC and SEO. Sometimes this is due to two different agencies who wanted both pieces of the pie being forced to work together. But other times, it just seems like an odd competition. The shame of it is, when these two factions are warring instead of working together, so many juicy, data-delicious opportunities fall by the wayside! (Not to mention the client’s overall potential success can get a big, fat roadblock inserted right in the path.)
Want to partner with your SEO brethren but aren’t sure how to build a bridge? Here are 6 ways you can learn from each other:
Understanding the performance of each, relative to one another
There’s this nifty report in AdWords that I see so many accounts completely bypass. If you link your Webmaster Tools account and your AdWords tools account, you can access a report under the Dimensions tab called Paid vs. Organic.
This report will show you the performance of your paid stuff, then your SEO stuff, and finally a section where it shows performance when you appeared in both places.
While this is interesting in and of itself, this data can help you be a little more strategic in what you do/don’t bid on. You can export this data, and filter for instances where only one or the other was shown. Doing this will show you the times where either paid or organic did better, allowing you to make some more insightful choices about where to spend your click money. (I have a presentation here that goes into this a little more.) If you’re consistently losing on the PPC side for a keyword, but it’s doing great for organic, then you might want to consider not bothering with it on the paid side. Which leads me to…
Leveraging paid in competitive SEO environments
There are some perfect keywords that a site will never rank for. Part of the problem IS because they’re perfect, which means tons of folks are searching on them! This is where PPC can be a great supplemental tool, because you can prioritize and bid on those keywords so you are still visible for the user. In some cases, you may even find out it’s not the performer you thought it would be, and you just paid to save yourself months’ worth of SEO effort and time.
If you see success with certain keywords, these are also a little goldmine for your SEO partner. There’s some reassurance there that mobilizing their resources around certain keyword themes is more likely to pay off financially for the client.
Knowing what your SEO partner is trying to target also gives you the opportunity to help their efforts by bidding on those keywords in the meantime. Since rankings can take months, you can start to collect some data on user behavior and the ROI of those keywords while your friends in SEO work their magic on the organic side of the house for a few months.
Dynamic search learnings
If you run or test a dynamic search campaign in AdWords, you don’t pick your keywords. Google automatically shows your ad based on the search context and what they believe is relevant to your website. You can, however, still pull a search query report to see what you’re getting matched to. This can also be immensely helpful to your SEO partner, because it gives some insight on how Google matches you currently, which could help guide their efforts in where to focus.
Power-packing Google Shopping
Google Shopping, like dynamic search, doesn’t rely on a keyword list to match you to search queries. It goes contextually by your product feed. Also like dynamic search, you can view the user queries that are triggering your products to show. Having your product feed aces on the content side is half the battle in a successful and profitable Shopping Campaign, and partnering with SEO usually gets this done in a pretty expeditious manner. Since most times they’re already working on optimized content for e-commerce providers, understanding how your current feed is getting matched and what the competitive landscape looks like can be great information for both sides of the fence. There’s some great information on optimizing Shopping feeds and how Google reads your feed here.
Landing page knowledge
Can you imagine spending 6 months to a year optimizing a site, only to have the pages ranking well be the ones that suck at conversion? (I can’t imagine working 6 months to a year on anything search-related, which is why I do PPC and never touch SEO. Let’s be honest, here.) PPC is a great way to do some on-the-fly testing of page elements and conversion rate impact, so once pages start getting organic traffic, you can help ensure they have all the successful makings of a page that will drive leads and sales.
Strategic ad placement
Knowing the back links and citations your SEO partner is getting for your client can be a nifty way to help focus some display buying dollars. Check out the sites in the Google Display Planner and see if you can buy banner space on them – this is particularly true if the client is quoted in the article! What better way to drive brand awareness than having them back linked, referred to, all topped off with a visual ad that portrays their branding? That’s tough to beat.
Obviously, there’s a whole lot to be gained with PPC and SEO work together! What other ways have you successfully (or even unsuccessfully) tried to partner with our friends in SEO?