PMG Digital Made for Humans

Reimagining How SEM & SEO Work Together

April 14, 2022 | 4 min read

SEM and SEO operate in the same digital realm of the search engine results page but paid and organic search teams often operate in silos, missing opportunities to collaborate and build upon the success of each other’s findings. When brands are able to blend SEM and SEO data, insights, and strategies together, a more robust omnichannel experience emerges, helping to bolster overall brand performance.

While there are countless opportunities for SEM and SEO to better integrate, here are a few approaches that the PMG team has been using to better understand the impact of SEO on SEM performance and vice versa.

Optimizing Legacy Content to Drive Better Paid Search Engagement

Legacy content optimization is standard SEO practice because it helps improve organic search growth through increased rankings on the search results page, but it also serves as a powerful way to drive efficiencies across paid search programs. 

SEO practitioners spend significant time optimizing legacy content on a brand’s website, with a focus on building content for non-brand keywords. Frequently, these pages are also being used for non-brand paid search and Dynamic Search Ad campaigns (DSAs), and make for a great testing ground for collaboration across SEO and SEM. Through our tests, when comparing pages optimized against all other pages, campaigns that used optimized legacy pages saw an improved conversion rate, reduced bounce rate, and a double-digit increase in return on ad spend (ROAS). Hence, by utilizing SEO-supported content, brands can influence engagement metrics to drive efficiency and maximize conversions in paid channels (not just search).

As DSAs continue to gain prominence, it will be increasingly important for brands to invest in highly optimized landing pages that drive efficiencies in competitive generic auctions. 

Expand Non-Brand Coverage with Organic Search Keyword Insights

SEO keyword research is a meticulous process, providing insight into user behavior generally, as well as creating a map of relevant long-tailed keywords that can be used to inform ad copy and keyword coverage in SEM campaigns.

While brand search drives the majority of paid search revenue, investing in non-brand search is essential for driving customer acquisition. This often means having to enter into highly competitive auctions while targeting undecided shoppers, which is challenging to scale efficiently. To combat this, marketers can utilize organic search keyword data and insights to expand non-brand keyword coverage with higher quality scores and increased engagement rates, resulting in greater efficiency that is scalable. 

While brand search drives the majority of paid search revenue, investing in non-brand search is essential for driving customer acquisition.

Paid Search Insights Inform Website Content & Landing Page Strategies

Paid media is held to strict performance KPIs, which means paid search experts are exploring their data constantly to inform strategies for growth. This same data can be extremely valuable for SEO practitioners who are challenged with showing that their recommendations are worthy of the required resources. For example, noticing a shift in consumer behavior toward a certain type of product category in paid search can help make the case for improving the site taxonomy or creating long-form content on certain categories. The paid data should give all stakeholders confidence that these steps will increase visibility for the brand and improve the on-site experience for the consumer, making it easier to approve accelerated content development and technical projects that were previously backlogged.

Final Thoughts
Adopt a Testing Mindset

These are just a few examples of the different ways the SEO and SEM teams at PMG have recently collaborated to drive success for our clients. Because search is an incredibly dynamic space, we’re always looking for new cross-channel testing ideas, whether iterating on the tests we’ve listed above or trying something completely new.

About the Author

Written by Shahista Kassam and Sinead Hultman