At SMX Advanced last week there was a lot of discussion about SEO and SEM best practices. The two topics were divided into separate session tracks; casual conversations with other attendees showed most agencies and in-house departments handled one discipline or the other, but not both. One attendee commented that they always concentrate on SEM rather than SEO because it gives their clients a “quick win.”
While organic optimization efforts take time and often show results over a period of weeks or even months, SEM can boost a site’s visibility immediately. But we believe there’s merit to approaching paid and organic search as complementing rather than competing strategies.
SEO research can establish what keywords already rank and convert well, providing valuable insight into where paid search budgets should be concentrated to fill in the gaps or further capitalize on high-value terms.
Likewise, a site audit for organic search can identify which pages contribute to visitor conversion and uncover areas that need to be adjusted for better performance. Optimizing a site for organic search ensures the content and code are well-focused and eliminates barriers to navigation and conversion. Those same activities ensure paid search visitors as well as organic search visitors move easily through the site. A better landing page experience contributes to better quality scores from Google, which in turn lowers overall costs for Adwords.
And while paid search’s impact ends as soon as campaigns are turned off, insights gained from those campaigns can feed back into a long-term SEO strategy that will deliver results for months or even years to come.