Search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo are commonly the first—and often only—place consumers go to find information. Although most CMOs recognize the importance of paid search and search engine optimization (SEO) for their brands, it’s not uncommon for them to outsource each element separately to specialty firms. However, doing so can negatively impact brand messaging and ROI.
Here are five reasons why marketers should have the same team manage paid search and SEO campaigns:
1. Paid Search Can Hurt Organic Results
Paid-search firms usually create landing pages in order to optimize their campaigns, with the pages frequently included in the search engine’s organic page index. These pages are often derivatives of existing Web pages. This can result in duplicate content that is discovered by search engines, which treat that duplicate content as a signal of diminished quality. Consequently, this can dilute or even harm organic search efforts.
2. Paid Search And SEO Should Have Consistent, Coordinated Messaging
Using the same firm for SEO and paid search efforts will bring a consistent strategy and message to your online marketing efforts. Using multiple vendors increases the chances that messaging will veer off-brand. In search results, for instance, branded ads and organic search result listings should convey the same or complementary messaging.
Imagine you have an organic listing for your high-end product or service that differentiates your offering on value, not price. Now say that listing appears next to a paid-search ad that promotes low pricing. This will confuse your audience and could even turn away potential customers.
3. Competing Firms Have Competing Interests
Using two separate firms for PPC and SEO, each of which are evaluated and incented based on performance, means they are often competing against each other for online marketing success. In fact, it's in their best interest to withhold successful strategies and tactics from the opposing team. While competition can help drive success at times, it is not in your best interest to have your SEO and PPC teams withholding information from one another. Sharing information and ideas about best practices, successful strategies, and, conversely, ineffective or inefficient tactics will enhance both organic and paid results.
Additionally, using two teams raises concerns about responsibility. If a problem with paid search shows up in SEO, then which team is responsible for identifying and fixing that problem? The paid-search team will not be compelled to use resources to solve an organic-search issue caused by the paid-search team if it is not affecting its paid results.
4. Using Competing Firms Is Inherently Inefficient
When SEO and paid search are handled by different agencies, reality says efforts will be duplicated. This includes strategy meetings, keyword research, content creation, and reporting meetings. Your marketing team will be paying for those duplicate hours. With one unified team, there is no reason to worry about going through the same steps twice, which leaves more time and resources that can be distributed to execution.
Furthermore, if both the SEO and PPC team have access to modify your Web site, then often teams will step on each other’s toes and cause a number of problems. This lack of communication between two different teams responsible for updating the same Web site causes management overhead issues, ultimately making the whole process inefficient.
5. A Unified Team Increases Innovation
Having SEO and paid-search efforts working hand-in-hand allows for improved innovation and experimentation. By working together, teams can share and use best practices for both SEO and PPC in order to improve ROI on both sides. When these responsibilities are handled by multiple firms, it is much harder to coordinate cross-channel experiments. This can limit growth.
For example, if your paid-search firm experiments with an improved landing page design and achieves improved results, then how quickly will the successful strategies be integrated into the organic landing pages—if at all? On the other hand, the paid-search team might waste valuable time experimenting with something that has already been disproved by a prior organic-optimization effort.
Without clear lines of communication, teamwork and cooperation, shared goals, and rewards across paid-search and SEO campaigns, marketers can end up with valuable portions of their budgets wasted on inefficiencies and inconsistent messaging. Using the same experienced firm for both organic and paid search will increase ROI, reduce time spent managing efforts, and maintain your business’ consistent branding.