The ongoing argument of whether to promote a website by optimizing organically or by virtue of paid ads is a struggle every online marketer has to balance. Although agreeing that both methods are important rarely are companies prepared to exercise the synergies between the two.
Before we discuss the relationship we should begin with definitions:
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the volume or quality of traffic to a web site from search engines via “natural” or un-paid (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results as opposed to search engine marketing (SEM) which deals with paid inclusion. Typically, the earlier (or higher) a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine. SEO may target different kinds of search, including image search, local search, video search and industry-specific vertical search engines. This gives a web site web presence.
Paid Ads typically refer to the sponsored areas on Search Engine Results Pages (SERP’s) that allow companies to rank for keywords based on bidding on them rather than actually earning them with relevancy.
It’s easy enough to solve ranking problems by throwing money into paid campaigns and some companies choose to promote themselves by investing anywhere from under $10k /mo. to over 1M/mo. buying keywords.
Do you know that if you have a poorly optimized site chances are you can replace 10-50% of the paid traffic with free organic results?
Paid Advertising will get you in front of customers but more and more often customers move past the sponsored section of SERP’s and look at the organic results confident in the natural results.
The synergy between Paid Ads and Organic Optimization is that the more traffic you can get from Organic sources the less traffic you need from Paid Ads and therefore reducing Ad spend.
To begin, a baseline traffic analytics review can tell you how much traffic you are getting from SERP’s and by rolling up information about your paid campaigns you can determine what equity you have in the Organic camp vs. the Paid camp.
Next, review your terms so you can promote current terms and be nimble with maintenance to respond to changes in your site, your industry or search algorithms.
To increase paid results you may want to consider a budget increase, but before throwing money at it review your Paid strategy. Whether it is in house or at an agency meet regularly with your team and don’t forget it’s your budget that is funding the process so it is fiscally responsible to understand exactly how and why the spend strategy is working.
Increasing your Organic results can be done by learning what terms are currently driving traffic to your website by using and identifying gaps of terms that work for you in Paid channels but not in SERP’s. It is very possible that as the world is changing around the site a term that was added to the Paid listings was never added to the content of your website to rank organically.
There are also good reasons to exercise Paid campaigns is that you can use the speed of Paid campaigns to drive new terms recognition while you are waiting for the same terms to be processed through internal change control or for crawlers to index them.