Team Enablement

Paid and Organic Search Practices Shouldn’t Be Housed Together, So Stop Trying to Force It!

Our guest post is , the Head of Organic Search for Deluxe, E-Business.

For as long as I can remember, there’s been a constant push to consolidate paid and organic search practices.  And at a high-level, the logic makes sense.  Both paid and organic search have similar expectations:

  • Driving traffic and conversion from search engine results pages
  • Ensuring efficiencies are met across the keyword spectrum

However, I completely disagree with the notion that organic and paid search should be grouped together as a department.  Now before I start explaining myself, let me just say that I can’t stress enough the importance of paid and organic search working together to maximize ROI.  However, I could make the argument that all departments should be working together in this manner, so in an ideal world, there would be no silos of practice housing.

The reason why I feel strongly about not consolidating paid and organic search is simple: Paid search is advertising and organic search is not.

The reason why I feel strongly about not consolidating paid and organic search is simple—paid search is advertising and organic search isn’t.  Sure, SEO done correctly should result in a positive marketing effect, but so should user-experience and good creative.

Whether you’re on the client or agency side of the business, I believe there is an appropriate structure that can maximize your paid and organic search efficiencies.  SEO should be a stand-alone service that provides strategic direction to all areas of the organization.  And PPC should be combined with other media services (e.g., affiliate, display, retargeting) to ensure that media efforts, budget and spend are synergized.

ppc + seo
Given the organizational model shown above, responsibility for driving traffic and revenue from the organic search channel becomes a shared responsibility across practices areas.  This increases optimization accountability across creative, tech, U/X, I/A, and content strategy thus making each practice a stakeholder in the level of implementation recommended by the SEO team.

However[…] I can’t stress enough the importance of paid and organic search working together to maximize ROI

This means that the DNA of your organization will change in such a way that SEO will naturally be infused within each process and project.  And you shouldn’t hear the dreaded, “I’m sorry we don’t have the budget or time for that.”
Finally, Google and Bing continue to move towards the semantic model.  In the not-too-distant future, organic search will be about informing search engines how your products, services, and information relate to each other and the world.  This is why it’s important that you’re operationalized in a way that future proofs your ability to be agile.
Sure, you will continue to see many agencies and some client-side centers of excellence conform to the popular thought that organic and paid search practices should be consolidated.  However, they will find themselves regularly constrained by lack of budget and buy-in within the enterprise.  Organizations that will succeed will be the ones who take the road less traveled and adopt a model that allows both practices to flourish.

And to all the readers of this article, may you, your business and success live long and prosper.

Please note: All guest posts are the opinion of the author and may not be reflective of the views of Conductor.