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How SEO and PPC can work together

Combining strategies for Paid and Organic can result in better performance for both, but how? There are a few really easy ways to get synergies started in your campaigns.

Despite often being considered “The Dark Side” by the other, SEO and PPC operate on many of the same premises. For example, the keywords users are searching with and the quality of the landing page can influence the performance of campaigns. It isn’t surprising then that the two can be used in tandem to get some incredible results; conversely, if a line of communication isn’t maintained between the two teams there could be some very confusing conundrums.

seo ppc synergy

Here is a breakdown of the benefits of having PPC and SEO teams work together:

1. SEO can utilise the Paid Search team’s keyword data

The Paid Search team will have a lot of current keyword data. That’s real keyword data, not tool guess-timates. Working with B2B businesses especially, there are often much lower keyword volumes coming up during the keyword research phase, if any at all.  At times like these the SEO team can utilise the keyword data from Paid to make optimisation decisions.

Similarly, optimising on page content with PPC data can lead to a lower cost-per-click. This is because Quality Score, a Google metric for deciding an ad’s rank, can be influenced by the relevance of on-page content to the ad.

If you are running both channels and your SEO team isn’t communicating with the PPC side you could be missing out on some excellent opportunities.

2. Some SEO strategies may reduce the effectiveness of PPC

Some preliminary case studies on the effects of Quick Answer (Featured Snippet) acquisition have shown that Paid CTR may drop for terms where there is a quick answer available. So, whether a specific keyword has a Quick Answer or the SEO team has managed to acquire a few of these, do let Paid know as they may see declines.

3. The Paid Search team should be made aware of the importance of URLs in SEO

If the PPC team decides to implement tracking URLs for certain pages, or desire a new page to be created as a landing page, this could be damaging to SEO efforts for two reasons. First, generating duplicate pages for tracking purposes can cause a decrease in organic rankings for both. Duplication needs to be dealt with appropriately on a case-by-case basis.

Second, new pages for similar topics while not being duplicate may still impede search gains. This is because multiple pages should not rank for the same keyword (this is called cannibalisation), which may occur when creating new pages without consulting the organic team. Both teams should communicate any changes they would like to happen to each other.

4. Significant increases in bids should be reported to the SEO team

It is not unheard of for an increase in Paid activity to cause a drop in organic visits. This could set the organic team into a panic as they attempt to explain their campaign’s dropping performance to a client. Of course, the same can occur vice versa so watch any significant ranking increases or quick answer gains.

SEO & PPC: ROI vs visibility

5. Teams should share news with each other

This could be a structural change resulting in a new decision-maker being recruited, or plans that might result in site changes such as a re-branding or new services being added. These possibilities allow the search teams to stay ahead of upcoming changes with their optimisations and account management.

6. SEOs should share any inventory management issues with the PPC team

Certain CMS can cause inventory management issues since they are designed to manage stock, and don’t always consider the implications this might have on digital marketing efforts. Having a page disappear from the index, or an ad-group fall off because of a missing landing page, could have a significant impact on both teams’ campaigns.

7. Both channels are needed for a successful online marketing push

SEO and PPC should operate together because they are both necessary parts of an online campaign. There is no situation where organic rankings will eventually make PPC obsolete, saving the brand in question considerable ad spend.

In tests we conducted cutting ad spend on brand terms always results in a slight loss in CTR. This is because other brands will take up that real estate given the opportunity, often prompting users to competitor sites.  

SEO and PPC should share their knowledge, especially since they both share the same advertising space: the SERP. A lack of communication could lead to sub-par results for both channels. There is a bigger picture than paid or organic KPIs, which are the business KPIs the search campaigns are being built to bolster. If a joint strategy can have channels complementing each other, this will always be the best result for spend.