Big companies tend to do things in big ways and one of the biggest ways you can do search marketing is to have separate landing pages for paid and organic search. On the surface it makes sense. Paid and organic landing pages are designed to do different things. But what if we look below the surface?

Below the surface, we start to see something very different. We start to see something changing over time from the old cozy days when separating landing pages did seem to make sense. Let’s go back to remember why we separated paid and organic landing pages:

  • Separate pages allows separate optimization. Why constrain your paid search landing pages with all the tweaks you must put your organic landing pages through? If you can get some higher conversions out of the paid pages
  • Different internal teams work on paid and organic. In large companies, it’s common for the SEO and PPC people to be completely separate teams–sometimes even in very separate groups, such as the SEO people in IT and the PPC people in marketing. Why force them to work together when they can move faster separately?
  • Different external teams do, too. As organic and paid search have become more specialized, it’s common for search consultancies or agencies to have separate teams, too. Sometimes large companies even give their SEO work to one agency and their PPC work to another. Why make them work together when you can be more flexible separately?

These were all good reasons a few years ago, and they aren’t dumb reasons even now. But we’ve seen changes that point to cooperation being fruitful between paid and organic landing pages.

As the years go by, PPC landing pages are more likely to benefit from some of the same work that SEO landing pages have always required. The rise of Quality Score as a PPC ranking factor means that landing pages that are SEO-optimized are far more likely to already have high PPC quality scores, without the PPC team doing and work at all.

And the benefits go both ways. How many SEO types pore over their landing page conversion rates? Not enough. They are too often happy just looking at rankings and traffic without focusing on ringing the cash register. But PPC people have no such luxury–they obsess over conversion rates, constantly optimizing landing pages and the subsequent buying path to move the needle 0.1%.

So what would happen if you forced the landing pages together? Now, it’s understood that there might be many PPC landing pages for very deep keywords that can’t be squeezed into the regular site navigation and must be ignored for SEO purposes. But what of the rest? Working together might be a challenge, but optimizing at least the top pages together might result in higher organic search conversion rates and higher PPC quality scores, plus a reduction in costs by eliminating duplicate landing pages. Working together won’t be nirvana either, but isn’t it at least worth a try?