Paid and organ­ic search both rely on search engine results pages to attract clicks and traf­fic to our web­sites. Often we tar­get the same audi­ences with both chan­nels and with­in them find ways to align them. In some orga­ni­za­tions, PPC and SEO are done by the same per­son or peo­ple. In oth­ers, though, there are teams that are siloed and sep­a­rate from each oth­er. Regard­less of how our paid and organ­ic search teams or efforts are struc­tured, we can ben­e­fit from shar­ing spe­cif­ic data, tac­tics, and approach­es across the chan­nels and dis­ci­plines. By shar­ing, we can save efforts, costs, and be smarter in how we opti­mize and man­age cam­paigns.

Here are sev­en spe­cif­ic ways that paid and organ­ic search and work togeth­er for mutu­al ben­e­fit.

1. Keyword Research

This is prob­a­bly the most obvi­ous or first way to col­lab­o­rate that we would all think of.

Both paid and organ­ic search:

  • Rely on key­words.
  • Need ini­tial and ongo­ing research and insights to deter­mine the key­words and top­ics that match up well with what our tar­get audi­ences are search­ing to find our con­tent.

While we may use dif­fer­ent tools to get our key­word research data, there’s no rea­son to keep sets of data for SEO and PPC sep­a­rate. Mul­ti­ple tools and mul­ti­ple mind­sets in the research process can yield the uncov­er­ing of more ideas and terms that might not be thought of or dis­cov­ered by dif­fer­ent tools.

By shar­ing data, and poten­tial­ly going fur­ther in shar­ing research tasks along the way, we can share insights like:

  • Long-tail terms.
  • Top­i­cal group­ings for terms.
  • Ideas that we may not have thought about in a sin­gle chan­nel or siloed mind­set.

Keyword Research

2. PPC Ad Copy & SEO Titles & Meta Descriptions

Paid search text ads are for­mat­ted very sim­i­lar­ly to organ­ic search results in SERPs. This means that we can look at the best per­form­ing ad copy for PPC ads in terms of click-through rate and qual­i­ty score and relate it to SEO titles and meta descrip­tions. The reverse is also true as we can use the SEO titles and meta descrip­tions with the high­est click-through rates to guide key­word use and text for PPC ad copy. By study­ing what works for each chan­nel, we can cut down on some of our test­ings and use what has proven to work on the oth­er chan­nel in the past.

3. Search Term Performance

The best guid­ance and short­cut to opti­mal per­for­mance is by hav­ing his­tor­i­cal data to act on and to help iden­ti­fy areas to lever­age and those to avoid. When SEOs can get search term reports from Google Ads and when PPCs can get Search Con­sole per­for­mance data, a lot of exper­i­ment­ing and mis­takes can be avoid­ed.

While key­word research tools can pro­vide great guid­ance, get­ting actu­al search per­for­mance is even bet­ter. We have to con­sid­er sea­son­al­i­ty, changes in SERPs, and dif­fer­ences in com­peti­tors for paid ver­sus organ­ic search, but again, it is a great start­ing point if you can share or gain this info.

4. Competitor Data

Com­peti­tors are a big fac­tor in rank­ings, ad posi­tions, and costs of invest­ing in both paid and organ­ic search. Under­stand­ing who is pay­ing the most for ad posi­tions and dom­i­nat­ing the SERPs can help SEO. Like­wise, it goes the oth­er way as well. Com­peti­tors aren’t always the same for organ­ic and paid search. Plus, they change over time based on SEO tac­tics and algo­rithm changes. Shar­ing his­tor­i­cal and cur­rent com­peti­tor data can help under­stand the oppor­tu­ni­ty for rank­ings and bids.

Both SEO and PPC can uti­lize insights into who the top com­peti­tors are, how much focus they’re putting into search, and how indi­vid­ual key­words dif­fer in terms of focus. Know­ing where com­peti­tors are spend­ing mon­ey and jock­ey­ing for posi­tion can help set expec­ta­tions on how hard it will be to rank and how much it will cost to adver­tise. Plus, it can show areas that are under­served and where the true low-hang­ing fruit is.

5. Areas of Opportunity for Remarketing

There are a lot of insights to be gained from look­ing at engage­ment, traf­fic, and exit data.

The basic met­rics of how users nav­i­gate web­sites can be impor­tant to share between search chan­nels. Much like the insights gained from paid search, they can be aligned as well from SEO traf­fic data.

For top of the fun­nel con­tent and terms that dri­ve traf­fic from organ­ic search – paid search can be used to fur­ther sup­port mov­ing cus­tomers along their jour­ney or down the fun­nel. This includes the use of remar­ket­ing for vis­its to key pages.

Exam­ples include the use of remar­ket­ing after land­ing traf­fic to the site from organ­ic search on long-tail terms and thought lead­er­ship con­tent. SEO might open the door to the traf­fic, but the paid search can con­tin­ue engag­ing the vis­i­tor so both can work to sup­port each oth­er.

6. SERP Layouts

Search engine results pages can vary great­ly by key­word and even from day-to-day.

Algo­rithm updates and aspects of intent and local­iza­tion can have a big impact on the pres­ence of:

  • Text ads.
  • Shop­ping ads.
  • News.
  • Images.
  • Answer box­es.
  • Map packs.
  • Organ­ic results.
  • And more.

It is crit­i­cal to:

  • Track the ever-chang­ing nature of the SERPs.
  • Mon­i­tor for SERPs that have a lot of ads ver­sus those that have few.
  • Be mind­ful of how this can impact both paid search and organ­ic search per­for­mance

Ads are like­ly war­rant­ed on a page that has a lot of noise between the ads and the organ­ic results. Espe­cial­ly, if you’re a brand and only review/rating sites are ranked on page one after map packs. If you have no shot at Page 1 then an ad is prob­a­bly war­rant­ed.

On the flip side, if you own the SERP and the only ad is yours, there is no oth­er noise, and organ­ic search results come right after the ads, you might be pay­ing for ad traf­fic that you don’t need to.

7. ROAS & ROI Data


One of the hard­est ques­tions pri­or to launch­ing a cam­paign can be pro­ject­ing or pre­dict­ing a return on invest­ment. Whether it is deter­mined by the ROAS ratio or actu­al all-in ROI for PPC or SEO, it is incred­i­bly valu­able to have an idea of what per­for­mance would be like in advance.

If you can uti­lize data from PPC or SEO to pre­dict per­for­mance, then it can help:

  • Set expec­ta­tions for the cam­paign.
  • Save mon­ey that would nor­mal­ly be spent for the first few months to see how key­word and plan­ner tool data will actu­al­ly play out.


Bot­tom line: shar­ing of data and insights is key.

If you’re a solo prac­ti­tion­er who han­dles both SEO and PPC, then these things might be ingrained in your approach. How­ev­er, for all struc­tures and ways of han­dling paid and organ­ic, there’s like­ly some­thing that can be gained that can help with smarter and more informed deci­sions. Work and dol­lars saved are impor­tant as well as being able to scale and do smarter things.

There are many more details beyond these that can help both chan­nels. Work on align­ing strate­gies and dis­ci­plines to lever­age what you’re invest­ing for max­i­mum return.

SOURCE: Search Engine Jour­nal