Unrightfully, SEO and SEM have been viewed as two separate channels that can get traffic to your website, each from its own end. While search engine optimization is more concentrated on organic results and unpaid search, search engine marketing strategies are focused solely on paid ads. Each of these tactics can, when done right, drive users to your blog or company website, and each of them relies on keywords to get that traffic.
But the thing that separates them is the main reason why they should, in fact, be unified. Because they both bring a certain benefit to the table, a smart marketer will always find a way to utilize both of these channels in the best possible way, and unify their SEO & SEM strategy.
Did you know that 93% of online browsing sessions start on a search engine? Evidently, if you are looking for internet users to visit your website, you should never neglect this giant among digital marketing channels. In fact, the search engine marketing industry alone is worth more than $16 billion dollars. Since we are all well aware that 75% of users never reach the second page of their search, but find the link that they were looking for on the first page of Google instead, investing in paid ads seems a logical decision. Unfortunately, this practice is so common that as much as 80% of internet users don’t pay any attention whatsoever to the paid ads.
On the other hand, a well-executed SEO strategy can bring you leads with a 14,6% close rate. This statistic alone makes SEO one of the most valuable marketing channels in terms of ROI. But optimizing your website for search engines, investing in off-site promotions, gaining links and improving your website continuously for higher ranking in the search can be quite a tedious task. Not to mention time-consuming as well.
So while SEM can make your website instantaneously visible for particular keywords, the truth is that you will get a very low click-through rate out of SEM. People have simply learned to ignore ads, and most of them just scroll down to the “organic” results. The question of whether they’ll find your website ranking on the first page of their search within that section depends on many factors, but is definitely a question that can make or break your search engine strategy.
In conclusion – we have an instant strategy that will make your website evidently present but can get very few leads of suspicious quality on one side, and a long-term strategy that will get you high quality leads, eventually, on the other. Combining the two strategies in order to establish a steady stream of visitors via search engines is an approach that can kick-start your website momentarily in terms of traffic, and improve the quality of your leads.
There are a total of three steps that you need to master in order to achieve this result:
1. Extensive Keyword Research
It is extremely important for you to determine which keywords are performing well for both your SEO and your SEM strategy. Identifying these ambivalent keywords will naturally take you some time and quite a bit of research. Of course, there is nothing more useful than the actual result which should serve as a clear indicator. So keep track of your metrics.
For example: if a certain keyword is performing well in paid search, optimizing content on your website for this exact keyword should be mandatory. Be advised that you cannot compare results from paid traffic with the results that your website is getting through organic traffic. However, when you establish which keywords are driving the most visits, you are also gaining a valuable indicator about what your audience is searching for when they are looking for services or information that you provide.
Another nifty method that is well known to experienced webmasters, is to check the actual analytics of your website. Through your Webmaster Tools, you can easily determine which keywords led to traffic. Consequently, if you find a query that is new to you (a keyword that you never thought of yourself), perhaps investing in PPC for this particular term might bring you additional increase in visits.
2. Maintaining Focus via PCP
One metric that will definitely give you a lot of headache, which is nevertheless extremely valuable for a complete and fruitful SEO & SEM strategy, is your Paid Click Percentage. While you can track this metric via different tools, the simplest way to get your PCP is to match your queries across both SEO and SEM channels (paid and organic results), sum up the total amount of CTR, and after that, you can calculate your PCP as a percentage of that total number. Mastering tracking of this particular KPI should be your priority!
But what is PCP actually telling us? For starters, it helps you to determine the ROI of your campaign. If Paid Click Percentage is extremely high, that is an obvious proof that this keyword is getting you a lot of traffic just because you’re not ranking for this particular keyword organically. Since 80% of the users skip ads and prefer to click through organic results, terms with a high PCP average are the ones that you should focus on. This includes your SEM and your SEO strategy both.
By defining which terms are driving the most revenue, balancing between SEO and SEM will come natural to you. Simply focus on keywords that are not getting you enough traffic via organic searches, but are still gaining visits via paid ads.
3. Striving for Perfection
The good thing about SEO is the fact that you can never optimize your website 100%. Which means that there is always some room for improvements. This is why the last step of your SEO & SEM strategy is to strive for perfection. This means that you will have to monitor your channels continuously to maximize your ROI.
Measure, determine, apply. Those are the three crucial steps of driving search engine traffic. Ideally, your SEO and SEM efforts will constantly complement one another. However, know that comparing organic and paid search results is a daunting task, especially for somewhat smaller teams, so in order to keep focus – you should concentrate on high volume searches and your prime terms that are delivering large click through rates. Evaluate their performance, and keep repeating that process continuously.
With these simple tips, you will be able to improve your SEO & SEM strategies, and bring their implementation to perfection. However, this is easier said than done, so be prepared for some long hours and honest effort if you want amazing results. 🙂