Oftentimes I’m asked, “Why should I invest in paid media when I already rank in position one for many organic search results?” Well, to answer that simply, investing simultaneously in PPC and SEO can and will result in an incremental rise in your brand’s bottom line.And we have the data to prove it.The main synergy between the two lies in monitoring two factors: advertising spend and rankings.Whether your goal is to lower cost per click (CPC) or increase total traffic, SERP (search engine results page) position can inform how we manage paid search ads.At our agency (ZOG Digital), our teams work without silos and integrate performance data regularly.In analyzing a few accounts further as a sample set, we began to identify a correlation larger than previously understood between ad CTR (click-through rate), organic CTR and cost per click for the keywords.

SEO and paid search need to work together
Optimal online marketing campaigns all come down to the key performance indicators.Once an SEO campaign begins, it can take time to set in and see results.Paid search’s core strength is that it allows for short-term performance with better visibility on specific queries.What bindsthem together is visibility on a SERP — with the right tools, marketers can influence position against competing results.It’s no secret that SEO is more sustainable long-term, but it can take a long time before results are realized.A PPC (pay-per-click) tactic can help to offset limited SEO results at the early stages of an SEO campaign; it also informs keyword and content strategies for organic keyword targeting and content development.With well-informed and properly implemented optimizations, organic positions will rise.

Improve CTR and decrease CPC
At ZOG Digital, we see a clear performance increase when brands employ both PPC and SEO.For example, after evaluating our book of business, we found that accounts implementing both PPC and SEO strategies saw a higher click-through rate for both organic and paid search efforts — as well as lower cost per click in paid search. Specifically, we organized the data by keywords — we have keywords with active search ads, keywords with search optimizations (organic rankings) and keywords with both active tactics.In analyzing this drop in CPC, we found that nearly all paid keywords with an organic presence had a higher Quality Score than paid keywords without an organic presence.This could occur as a result of higher CTRs from greater SERP exposure and/or richer content.It could also result from keyword relevance gained from landing pages optimized for organic search.Regardless of why PPC quality score is higher for overlapping keywords, the justification exists to apply a keyword strategy that incorporates both paid and organic tactics.An incremental increase in CTR and reduced CPCs can certainly be beneficial, but as search marketing practitioners, the natural tendency is to do something with this data and improve performance even further.We’ve found that one of the most effective paid+organic optimizations comes from adjusting bids and ad positions based on organic visibility.This isn’t an optimization practice that can be applied to all overlapping keywords, but with some data filtering and testing, CPC costs can be reduced further.

Monitor SERP competitors closely
But it’s not enough to just monitor and synchronize your work for an account.You have to track your competitors, too.Without direct access to their analytics or ad platforms, you’ll never have a clear picture of what they’re doing, but you can estimate by manually monitoring the SERP with specific insight reports, and by using third-party tools.Within AdWords, you can access the auction insights report.This report allows you to evaluate domains that are currently bidding on specific keywords.It provides a snapshot of your competitive landscape.You can also use the Domain vs.Domain tool within SEMrush to analyze competitors’ search engine presence and backlinks.If you need to use this tool to get more granular, you can map out a SERP footprint to have an analysis on more specific competitors.

Final thoughts

When used together, SEO and PPC move from two channels into one to help achieve clear outcomes:more qualified traffic and budgetaryefficiency. As with any search marketing initiative,regular testing is required, but the results will exceed the effort, and the insights gained will help marketers consider search opportunities in new ways.


Peter Zmijewski is the founder and CEO at KeywordSpy.His expert knowledge on Internet Marketing practices and techniques has earned him the title “Internet Marketing Guru“ He is also an innovator, investor and entrepreneur widely recognized by the top players in the industry.