Wednesday, 1 August 2012

3 Lessons Paid Search Can Learn From SEO

There’s no denying the synergy between SEO and paid search marketing, and paid search marketers would do well to take away a lesson or two from the world of organic search engine optimization to improve their campaigns.


1.  Keywords! Keywords!

Sherlock Holmes exclaimed, “Data! Data! …I can’t make bricks without clay.” And likewise, keywords are the backbone, heart and soul of all search engine marketing, paid or organic. There’s a whole mess of keywords work and reports done for organic search optimization that paid search marketers can and should utilize.
On the most basic level, marketers can leverage organic search reports to mine for keyword ideas for paid search. Bear in mind not all organic keywords are a good fit, some may be too general and expensive to meet ROI goals, but they are fantastic suggestions to look at.
Natural search reports are also a great suggestion tool for looking at higher funnel general keywords or lower funnel very specific keywords, which are often harder to uncover easily in online keyword suggestion tools.
A more sophisticated tactic is using natural search landing page data to provide ideas for landing page testing and optimization on similar paid keywords. What pages are converting best?
Measuring the holistic view of paid and natural results combined can indicate keyword areas where there is great synergy and fantastic combined performance or areas where perhaps organic is so strong and paid search so expensive and/or weak in performance that paid search keywords are simply not adding value and should be optimized out.


2.  The Importance Of Landing Page Content

High quality, unique website content has long been considered the keystone of good SEO. And no surprise that what is good for a consumer looking at natural search is likewise a good tactic to leverage for paid keyword landing pages.
Deep linking to specific website pages about a product or category of products is often higher-converting than a more general page that might explain more about the website or company, but less actionable on the specific search keywords of the visitor.
Conversely, paid keyword links to a product search results page on a website, or another page of dry or less nicely presented, but very relevant content, may not convert as well as a page with similar relevant content and richer explanatory text or nicer presentation layers surrounding the meat of the page content.
See below for a contrasting example of possible landing page types.

A not too shabby search results page...

But this is a much nicer paid search landing page!
If good pages don’t currently exist, building specific content pages that make sense for paid search linking will also benefit SEO by increasing the unique, high quality page content of a website, so it’s a win for everyone in search!


3.  Quality & Relevance

The third, and arguably most important, lesson from SEO is the overwhelming need to focus on quality and relevance. In keyword selection, ad text copy, landing page URLs, pretty much everything touched in paid search, quality and relevance should be at the forefront of any paid search manager’s thoughts. Just because you can buy a keyword doesn’t mean you should.
A relentless focus on monitoring quality scores is essential, and a willingness to let go of keywords that you may want to own as head terms but are too general to sustain a reasonable quality level.
Likewise, from an overall brand and marketing strategy you may love certain marketing messages, but they may not resonate well in a targeted paid search context and a more direct action or search query based ad text will present a higher quality and relevance choice. Pursuing quality and relevance over style or branding strategy is sometimes necessary, and often a hard sacrifice to make for better paid search results.


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