I love to cook and I love to eat. Whether it’s on the grill or in the kitchen, I love to make and eat good food. One thing I know about cooking is that every ingredient used properly together makes the dish a masterpiece.
The world of online marketing and, by extension, search marketing is like a giant recipe. You’ll hear lots of people making claims that you don’t need paid search if you are investing in SEO or vice versa. Just like ingredients of any good recipe, paid search and organic search work together to create a masterpiece. Let me share with you my favorite recipe for success:
Search Recipe for Success
- Identify the keywords you hope to target. The most important element of any search campaign is choosing the right keywords to spend your time, energy, and money on.
- Create campaign elements. Build landing pages, write content, and create Adwords and adCenter campaigns.
- Create a test plan. Despite the fact that I’ve not seen a scenario where paid search and SEO together didn’t make more sense than either of them alone, I still believe that testing and analyzing is the only way to understand the joint impacts of SEO and paid search together.
- Analyze the impacts. What happened on keywords that you rank #1 for organically that you are also buying in paid search? Are there some terms (such as brand terms) that you are, in fact, cannibalizing organic traffic?
Recently, we ran a test for one of our clients in which we tested a group of keywords that had high rankings in Google. Prior to our test, we measured two weeks (week 1+2) of how paid search and organic search worked together to create a benchmark. The two following weeks (week 3+4), we turned off paid search and measured the impact when only the organic search was driving traffic.
This was followed by two more weeks (week 5+6) of measuring the net impacts of paid and organic search together, and then another two weeks (week 7+8) with paid search turned off. In both scenarios when paid search was turned off, conversions and net profit were both lower than the scenario s where only organic search was available.
After completing the first 4 steps in the recipe for success, it is important to constantly reexamine your findings. Our recipe for success is always up for improvisation, improvement, and reexamination, but we hope that we can stop with the silly discussions about one methodology being the one and only approach to search. Can’t we all just get along already?