Article

Daniel Howard
Daniel Howard 9 January 2015

The SEO - SEM Conflict

Before you plan your SEO campaign, stop! Have you spoken to your SEM counterpart?

Before you plan your SEO campaign, stop. Have you spoken to your SEM counterpart (or, if it’s yourself, put your other hat on?)

Two of the more traditional tools in an online marketers toolbox are Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM – or PPC, depending on your payment method). Whilst the premise for these remains visibility on the top of search rankings, the methods, timeframes and cost implications for either are very different – however, they shouldn’t be used as separate tools.

Of course, the history between SEO and SEM hasn’t always been idyllic – in many structures, separate budgets often result in internal competition and therefore conflict. However – what if the teams worked closer together?

With a new product launch, many organisations don’t have a wealth of data – with this in mind, SEM is a great way to run quick, low risk feeder campaign. A/B testing can be ran on these ad groups in order to test the variety of changes that can be made. One that I’m running at the moment is the same ad copy, but with different keywords. After this cycle, I’ll be running the different copy on the same keywords, to see if a congruent attitude has an effect on ROI.

Of course, SEMs don’t have to keep giving their data away. They can also work with the organic search teams to develop content marketing plans around seasonal trends and more specific long tail keywords/phrases. Of course, we all know that the best way to increase downloads is through highly targeted campaigns that our SEM teams can run with tailored keywords.

Seasonal trends are also a great way for SEO and SEM teams to work together. For a previous client (a sports club), paid campaigns on social platforms provided major social events that are fundraisers coincided with massive spikes in traffic – as shown below – blue would be total traffic and orange the referral traffic generated by social media ad campaigns.

SEO - SEM Conflict


With the key events in October (player recruitment), February (major televised event) and April (start of the season), these dates repeat themselves year on year. Recognising this pattern allowed a small budget to impact the events in a greater way, increasing exposure and generating higher interest in the club.

So what can we take away from this? Even though your SEO team may have distinctly different goals and objectives than your SEM teams, and your social teams may have less impact on traffic than currently exists, all three teams working in harmony should provide spectacular results.

This aspect is now central to all campaign planning – and ad spend is not strictly limited to search platforms – the overlap between each team is becoming greyer and greyer, and a ‘generalist’ department (online marketing?) is becoming more prevalent in in-house teams.

 

This post first appeared here.

 

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