For a number of years I have been evangelizing the benefits of integrating your paid and organic activities.   It does not matter if it is via a single agency or multiple agencies as long as you do have a unified strategy.  The following are 8 key reasons why you should have paid and organic in sync.

1.  Search Results ShelfSpace

This one seems pretty obvious but rarely listed as  reason for jointly managing the search programs.   Forget any sort of paid vs. organic but lets get them both positioned well and take of two of the potential 20 spots on the SERPS shelfspace.  This double listing gives additional branding, double the message and often sways searchers in clicking one or the other listing.  Add in social media listings and you can have a significant part of the SERPs covered.

2. Insights from Unified Reporting

By integrating the results of both paid and natural search in a single report helps you understand the relationship between the two better.  The joint view into the clicks can help understand the needs and interests of the searcher.  Which listing they click can also allow you to determine if there is a synergistic or cannibalistic effect between the two listings.

3.  Cost Reductions

So far 100% of the pilots and clients we have worked with have not had all of their most expensive keywords by cost per clicked represented in the natural search results.  This results in all of the clicks being “rented” and incurring a cost with no chance of getting them for free.   When these are your most expensive keywords even a 10% shift of clicks into the organic results for these words can save significant budget to target words with less budget allocation.

4. Program Management Efficiency

Quite simply, if the client has their entire search program under a single manager or agency they can ensure collaboration and uniform execution.  This can be with a single agency or multiple agencies but under a single owner.  This saves a lot of time and money in terms of communication, project management, results reporting, account management and much more since all this is done at one time.  Many people have indicated they like our application since it allows for rolled up data without the problems of agency IP concerns and extra costs of aggregating it.

5. Landing Page Strategies

Unfortunately, too much effort is applied to paid search landing pages and little applied to organic landing pages.  Too often the SEO team is overly focused on rank and not as focused on conversion of their organic pages.  I actually had a company tell me recently that their organic pages are just for awareness and not for any conversion.  This is a huge mistake.  You can use the data from paid and organic conversions to impact the performance of the other.  A key feature of Opportunity Models is to identify landing pages that are outperforming their counter parts for review and best practices reapplied to the other.    By combining the best of the two approaches, you should end up with the perfect landing page – one that ranks highly, improves your quality score AND most importantly converts.

6. Algorithm Shift Risk Mitigation

With all of the changes lately in the algorithms paid search is a great way to hedge against a massive drop in performance.   By monitoring a drop in organic performance in high-value keywords the PPC team can immediately fill the gap until the SEO is adjusted to regain the original performance.

7. Relevance Cannibalization

The effect of owning PPC terms where natural results already rank highly differs completely according to the brand, site, product, ranking position, competition and many other factors. When paid and natural are in the same place, these effects can be understood and accounted for.    We are seeing some interesting results interaction with different offers based on searcher intent as to which listing the searcher clicks.  Paid ads tend to be offer related and organic listings are awareness related.  By reviewing which the searcher clicks and the objective of each listing/page we can better understand the interests of the searcher.   A big challenge for large companies is the organic listing is pretty consistent yet the paid listings may be spread across multiple offers from different business units.  This may cause confusion for the searcher.

8. Misspelled Keywords

Often, the organization is focused on ranking well for high-demand keywords and get the branded variations by default.  Since it is rare that you will have misspellings on the site unless they are really close to the brand name you may not rank for them.   For one recent client, there were nearly 12,000 brand name misspellings that were driving traffic to the site.  Many of these were captured very inexpensively via paid search.

There are a few others best practices and reasons for integrating paid and natural search but for now lets focus on these 8.   All of these are key attributes in our new Opportunity Miner feature.  What do you think? How do you view the relationship between paid and natural search?