seo and sem
Manuel Virgos Performance Consultant

SEM & SEO synergies: how to combine organic and paid strategies to increase traffic and profitability

SEO and SEM are two particularly relevant traffic acquisition strategies due to their effectiveness. Although they are approached with different tactics and actions, there are certain aspects that, if dealt with in a complementary way, boost the acquisition of the qualified traffic that both strategies aim to achieve.   

What is SEO and SEM?

We understand SEO as those strategies and tactics, both onpage and offpage, that aim to optimise a website so that it appears among the first positions of the organic results when users make a query. By SEM we mean paid advertisements that appear both at the top and bottom of search results within the SERPS.  

We can see that, although different, both share the same objectives: organic and paid want to always appear among the first positions when the user makes a search. 

In addition, over the last few years, Google's interface has been modified in such a way that the space dedicated to ads is increasingly camouflaged and it is more difficult for the user to distinguish an organic result from a paid one. This makes the joint strategy of these two traffic attraction techniques all the more indispensable. 

Keyword research: Search terms and continuous feeding 

A fundamental aspect for the development of these strategies is keyword research. This is keyword research that defines a business or industry and needs to be implemented in both website content and search campaigns to generate a return on investment.  

Within the keyword study, the difficulty of positioning keywords is evaluated based on competitors, domain authority or user experience, among other aspects. In this way, those keywords with a higher level of difficulty for their organic positioning are boosted with SEM campaigns so that the ads appear above the organic results of competitors when the user makes a search. 

The SEO strategy is a medium/long-term strategy and it is at this point where synergies with Google Ads search campaigns are of the utmost importance. The immediacy of the results offered by the campaigns makes it possible to validate keywords and find out which ones can achieve the best performance in terms of clicks, CTR and conversions. In this way, the strategy is optimised to focus on those keywords that offer the highest return on investment.

In addition, the search terms that trigger ads help nurture keyword research and open up new keyword opportunities to improve rankings and business performance.

How to improve cost per click (CPCs) in search campaigns? Optimisation of titles, descriptions and on-page content

The immediacy of search campaign results not only validates the keyword research and strategy being carried out, but also allows for testing of ad titles and descriptions which, when translated into web meta titles and meta descriptions, improves the CTRs (click-through rates) of campaigns.

The aim of search engines is to give the most relevant results for the search that the user is doing. Content is therefore a value that differentiates a business from its competitors.

Content is therefore a value that differentiates a business from its competitors

Having optimised content, in addition to improving organic positioning, helps to achieve better results in search campaigns.

Every time a user makes a query, Google Ads compiles a ranking that considers the quality level of the keywords being bid on and the maximum CPC you are willing to pay.  

Google takes several factors into account when assessing the quality level of keywords: 

  • Relevance of the announcement  
  • Relevance of the landing page 
  • CTR History  
  • User experience on the web

It is therefore important that the keywords that the user is searching for appear in the advertisements and in the content of the landing page, and that the user's query is answered.  

The higher the quality level, the lower the CPC needed to reach the top ranking positions, so that more and higher quality traffic can be achieved with the same budget. 

Good content also allows you to create DSA campaigns or ad groups: dynamic search ad groups where you don't bid on keywords, but tell Google the landing page you want to promote and it launches an ad when the user makes a search related to that page. This type of ad group is used to extend the reach of campaigns and to find new keyword opportunities. 

SEO&SEM to protect the brand and increase visibility

In the fast-changing online environment, where users are becoming less and less loyal to a company, it is essential to protect the brand and increase its visibility for long-term success. In Google Ads it is allowed to bid on the brand name of other companies, so a competitor's ad can appear above the organic result of the brand that the user is searching for, capturing part of their potential customers.  

Defending against these practices it is advisable to run a branded search campaign, since, by having a higher relevance with the ad and the landing page, the ad of a brand that bids on its own brand will be above that of its competitors. 

SEO&SEM pursue a common goal: to capture quality traffic that generates a return for the business

As organic and paid results appear simultaneously in the SERPS, the combination of SEO and SEM strategies serves to occupy more space in the search engine, thus reducing the space available to competitors.  

How to take advantage of SEO and SEM data: Audiences and conversion funnel, compensation strategies, etc. 

Once the strategy has been developed, the numbers will determine what steps to take to optimise your results. 

SEM campaigns allow you to compensate for SEO downgrades or give more visibility to those searches that, although they generate organic impressions, are not getting traffic because the position in the search engine is very low. 

From SEO, optimising the content and structuring the website based on the results allows to improve the ranking of the ads and to give a greater reach and breadth to the DSA campaigns or ad groups with which the search strategy continues to be fed. 

In addition, the entire strategy follows a path in which the user is accompanied throughout the conversion funnel, from the moment they are interested in the product or service, carrying out searches with informative intent, until they are willing to buy the product/service with conversion-focused searches. In this case, the audiences generated by SEO on TOFU and MOFU content pages are used to create search or display remarketing campaigns to increase the number of sales and the conversion rate.  

Competition analysis: SEO and auction comparisons in Ads  

As results are collected, direct SEO and SEM competitors and the strategies they are using to achieve their goals are also located. This analysis, which is carried out with external tools such as SEMrush or Ahrefs (or other internal tools such as those offered by Google itself with the comparative auction reports), helps to find out what competitors are doing, how often they coincide in the results and what position they are in compared to them

This data is used to identify strengths and weaknesses, exploit opportunities and optimise the strategy around them.  

SEO & SEM together to increase the profitability of a digital marketing strategy 

To conclude, we can see that, although there is a tendency to separate organic and paid acquisition strategies, the reality is that both pursue a common goal: to capture quality traffic that generates a return for the business. This is why the collaboration between the two strategies is an advantage that boosts the online positioning of a website in search engines and is essential for brands looking to achieve a higher return on their investment.