SEO & SEM: Forever Intertwined

December 6, 2016


In the advertising world, search engine optimization and search engine monetization are usually in two different departments that rarely interact. Sometimes they are forced together by someone from the analytics team or by a client who has a question about the cost of a keyword in paid search vis-à-vis its performance in organic search.


When those two worlds interact in startups, the jobs are often held by people who work in close quarters where they can bounce ideas off of each other … and the web design guy, the content developer, and the business development guy at the same time.


New Campaigns

Regardless of where you sit, the roles of an SEO or an SEM specialist, manager, planner, strategist, and director are forever intertwined. In the ad world, where paid search is often lumped into a media department where planning and negotiating budgets is an integral part of the plan, it can be hard to find a place for organic search – until you start plotting out your keywords.


Traditionally, many agencies place their organic search teams with their analytics teams or their content and strategy teams. When paid and organic search teams get together to strategize, we remind those around that the UX (user experience) designer, creative writers, and design teams also need to be called in when plotting the landing pages – because everything we do is intertwined with the digital world.


But I’m getting ahead of myself. Keyword list … right.


We’re strategizing! Organic search teams look at one angle of the list to see the organic rankings, value of the keywords on the list, see if the spend is truly necessary, and to make additions. When additions are made, the paid search team looks at the paid search value and cost of those keywords. And this is only if we have a new campaign starting.


Current Campaigns

What if a client has questions about an existing campaign and wants to know the value within the keywords they’re paying versus their organic placements and their traffic?


GATHER THE TROOPS! You’re in for another strategy session and this could take a few hours. Sometimes teams are digging for gold within the analytics platforms. This isn’t easy work and it requires both teams to be able to look at whether the keywords purchased were broad match or exact match – what were the exact keywords used to bring in traffic, then convert those keywords into the matched organic keywords, their ranking and traffic. Within organic traffic, which URLs gained traffic through those keywords? In a "not provided” world, the Google Search console and Bing Webmaster tools, plus SEM Rush are your best chances of trying to decode it all, within a margin of error.


Follow me so far?


The Competition

Now comes the fun part … bring in new business and spying on your competition! Without giving away the secret sauce, most of it lies in having a great analytics program that can help you understand the keywords driving traffic to your competitor’s website, then having the experience and knowledge to decode the search intent.


That’s half the battle.


The other half? Your SEM team does the same with the paid search terms that drive traffic to your competitor’s site. They also get to dissect the competitor’s ads, just as you would dissect their metadata and technical issues. Then you come together and compare notes.


Forever Bound – Best Buddies

It doesn’t matter if you work at an agency or at a startup – you’re SEO and SEM are really best buddies when it comes to doing the best possible work for clients or for your website. You’re forever bound by keywords, strategy, and analytics. Your strategic thinking is what makes you inseparable and ninjas at what you do.


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