As search marketing has grown, the notion of integrating search and offline initiatives has been a topic of increasing discussion. Yet for most marketers who engage in search, there are ducks to line up first: mainly the integration of their paid and organic search strategies and efforts.
From a process perspective, paid and organic search are two unique beasts that require a different set of resources and skills. Search integration is crucial for providing a clear message to customers and ensuring proper resource allocation.
A dedicated search marketing team is necessary whether search is being managed in-house or outsourced to an agency. Coordination of campaign timing and messaging strategies across both channels is crucial. Results should be compared to determine effectiveness gaps. Keyword performance should be evaluated across both disciplines.
For example, analytics may determine that a certain bucket of keywords is ineffective with paid search, so the focus on those particular topic areas shifts to organic search instead. Strategy and budget integration between the two channels is needed to find the ideal balance of paid and organic search efforts.
Some major companies are beginning to understand the inherent value to this type of approach. Companies like Dell, Sears and Progressive Insurance have focused not just on the immediacy of paid search but also on the ROI potential of combined efforts. These companies use shared real estate on a search results page to create increased exposure. Likewise, they use complementary and divergent messaging tactics to ensure a broad reach and enable the capture of more desired audience segments.
Unfortunately, in many situations this type of blended approach doesn’t occur. One cause for a lack of search cohesiveness is that the skills of the people involved with the two search channels tend to differ. Organic search generally relies more on cooperation with Web development and IT departments while paid search tends to involve marketers and creative experts.
The issue is compounded when different agencies are used for paid and organic search. Or frequently an agency will specialize in one of the two areas and thus doesn’t give proper attention or have adequate knowledge of the other.
For reasons that can’t be explained fully, marketers seem content to employ multiple companies because of these differences. They accept siloed results rather than seeking out and demanding agencies that can be most beneficial to their bottom line.
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