One of the biggest issues I keep encountering as I demo our Keyword Management Tool is the aversion by many PPC managers to Co-Optimization. Yesterday I posted this new post on “Realizing Paid and Organic Search Strategies” and suggested that there are specific cost reductions that can be had when you can transfer expensive PPC clicks into your organic pages rather than paying for them in via PPC.

And today I was looking at two new pilot projects for large tech companies and found they they are prime for Co-Optimization. Co-Optimization is simply activities that maximize the collaborative performance of paid and organic search. It is not paid vs. organic but how do we combine them for even greater results. For all of the naysayers to this concept most are shocked when they realize they don’t even know what is happening when they have top ranking organic with top paid search listings. That is your first step – understand what happens in this situation.

How do your Expensive PPC Keyword Perform in SEO?

One of my top recommendations from my Advanced Keyword Modeling session at SES New York was to go back and take your top 20 most expensive keywords by Cost Per Click and just see how you are ranking and performing for those words.

I have had a number a people tell me that they have done this and were shocked by what they found.

Of the 23 people who have done this analysis only 1 had more than half of their keywords ranking on page 1 for their most expensive keywords. This clearly shows the communications disconnect between paid and organic search.

I have always used simple math to try to get people to understand this. A typical search results page for a popular phrase has 10 organic listings and 10 paid listings. IF you only have paid listing then the minimum potential click rate is 5% (10 paid + 10 organic = 20 options for click – clicking 1 of 20 options is 5%. Meaning if you also have an organic you have a 2 in 20 chance of being clicked so 10%.

Here are some of the responses I have received for why people don’t do this analysis:

“It just seems to hard and I don’t have enough time as it is”

“Research shows that there is an 89% increase in clicks when you add paid search to your program but we don’t know if we get that level of clicks”

“Our Paid Listings are for Conversion and Organic are for awareness”

“We can’t do this type of analysis since our paid and organic agencies won’t work together”

“We can’t share the paid data with the organic agency since it is our IP and we don’t want them to reverse engineer our proprietary bid strategies”

“We don’t have a conversion option on our organic pages so we need paid to get people to convert”

“$35 and $50 CPC’s are acceptable to us since we can’t change our organic pages to add conversion options”

Now… that we have the excuses out of the way – lets look at reality. The following are two real examples from large companies that gave these types of excuses only to be shocked when they actually saw the data

In this fist case, out of their top 20 keywords by CPC cost, with costs ranging from $43.76 to $27.79 (yes that is per click) and only 1 of the words is in the top 5 positions 4 of 20 on the first page. What was interesting is that some of these words were not on the SEO teams priority list. A second thing to note, is that many of these words don’t have a lot of search demand and yet they are managed on broad match.

While I thought this first case was bad was even more surprised when we loaded the data from another company in a similar industry. They were even worse if that is possible:

Their keywords ranged from a high of $123.96 to $46.81 for a single CLICK. Wow…. I don’t even think the ambulance chasers spend that much to rope people into class action lawsuits. Only 2 of the 20 have a first page listing with 15 of the words not even being in the top 50 positions.

These both are examples of a key problem when paid and organic are not looked at holistically. Again, I am not saying paid is bad but lets go for the 1+1 = 3 multiplier and at least work to get some organic representation.

Co-Op Baby Steps

Start small with just the simple understanding of what is happening for keywords. Do you have paid and organic at the same time and where don’t we have them both. When you do are the collaborating or cannibalizing each other?