The first step in creating an integrated strategy is to identify both the benefits and constraints of each channel and how they each compensate for the other’s constraints:
|Traffic Costs||More Costly: Costs of Media Spends||No costs for Traffic|
|Presence on the page||Top three positions above the organic listings; seven more to the right side of the page||10 listings below the PPC|
|Time Until Effect||Almost immediately||Long Term Strategy: Delayed response time of several months|
|Quantifiable||Completely data driven||Less Predictable: Requires speculation to forecast the effects|
|Sitelinks||Full customisation||It is possible to demote unwanted sitelinks but not to choose which sitelinks appear and in what order|
|Easily Identifiable||Less Trusted: Noterised as ads and easily identifiable||Seen as more relevant|
|Keyword Targeting||Can adjust keywords easily based on performance||Requires site integrated and therefore harder to modify|
|Intrusivity||More Intrusive: Remarketing ads that ‘follow’ you||Designed to provide the best results upon searching|
|Click-Through-Rates||Lower CTR||Higher CTR|
|Scalability||Possible but expensive; reducing ROI||Easily Scalable: Larger sites (household names) typically seen as having more authority|
|Requirements||Initial set up then reduced maintenance time||Ongoing effort required & can be labor intensive|
Pay-Per-Click can be seen as a short term strategy that has higher running costs but less maintainance after initial set up. The cost of media spends can be almost prohibitive when scaling to larger markets or when trying to target vast and indistinguishable audiences. PPC is fully customisable and controllable with a clear pricing mechanism, however, the fact that the ads are easily identifiable does discourages some user from engaging with them due to a lack of trust.
Search-Engine-Optimisation is a long term strategy that requires dedication and work to implement; particularly in relation to linkbuilding. SEO will tend to provide traffic at a lower CPA as it doesn’t incur costs based on traffic volume. The number one organic position will typically have a CTR of 30-50% whereas the No. 1 position for PPC will only receive around 2.5% of clicks
These two SEM channels suit different industries in different ways, however, what is indisputable is that a combined strategy focusing on dominance of the SERP above the page break will greatly increases CTR’s. An effective integrated PPC and SEO strategy can in fact improve the performance of both channels, as can be seen in this study by Google.
The key benefits of an integrated strategy are:
- Increased CTR
- Twice the data to Analyse
- Short term PPC data can help inform a long term SEO strategy
- Organic keywords can be tested in PPC to gauge effectiveness before launching a long term strategy
An integrateged strategy doesn’t stop there; including user experience creates a trinity. PPC and SEO are able to drive traffic, however, it is the user experience that helps convert the traffic once it has arrived. UX is able to greatly improve efficiency of the SEM and increase the viability of the spending by increasing conversion rates and therefore lowering the cost per acquisition.