Recognize differences and similarities
First of all, I would like to clarify that when we talk about SEM, we talk about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Search Engine Advertising. When I have an interview, I have been asked about my knowledge of SEM, referring only to the advertising part without knowing that both parts are included within Search Engine Marketing (SEM).
Anyone involved in online marketing will sooner or later come across SEO and SEA. Theoretically, the differences can be quickly explained:
SEO = Search Engine Optimization is divided into content SEO and technical SEO. Content SEO deals with texts that are optimally geared for the search engine and that are fed with important keywords so that the search engine recognizes the relevance between search query and content. Meanwhile, the technical SEO deals with the setup of the website, for example whether the hierarchies are set correctly, the title and description meet certain requirements and, for example, links have been set correctly.
SEA = Search Engine Advertising included the set of actions performed both in creating and optimising ads to appear in the first positions.
The Google principle in practice in four steps
01. Search query
02. Search result
03 Landing page
04. Conversion (purchase, contact request, etc.)
Start with the proper keyword research.
Even if SEO and SEA search for keywords differently, it is essential to regularly exchange the learnings to benefit from each other in the long term. Every search tool is based on different starting situations and thus offers partly different results. If these are brought together, it means maximum success for both channels.
The strategic importance of search queries
This type of keyword is relatively uninteresting in the SEA, as the user would instead be informed rather than intent to buy. Example: “Which shoes to wear with the dress”
Since every competitor is free to advertise on their brand, brand keywords must be given special consideration and play an important role in Google Ads. SEO is almost irrelevant, as the brand name usually already has a good ranking because of the existing URL. Example: “Buy shoes from Zalando”
Transaction keywords are the performance-oriented keywords for which the searcher has a clear intention to buy. These important keywords are very relevant in SEA and SEO and should therefore be exchanged regularly. The main reason for this: They are highly competitive. Example: “Buy shoes online”
Use the right data sources
Every online marketer uses specially developed tools according to his function. Employees in the paid sector rely a lot on the Keyword Planner already integrated into Google Ads. This is, so Google claims, for SEA as well as for SEO
To create a suitable and targeted synergy between SEO and SEA, every online marketing manager should use his tools and let the other teams benefit from his results. It is essential to know that each tool delivers different results, as it is built on different bases.
Only practice shows which result correspond to reality. Tools such as the Google Search Console should also be added to the evaluation to lose relevant information.
Read, analyze and understand search terms
After the campaigns and optimisations are up and running, the next step is analysing and understanding the results. We recommend looking at the Google Search Console and the results from Google Ads. The Search Console offers outstanding real-time data, while Google Ads returns the data that I paid for as a paying user. The following applies here: What is essential in SEA is also relevant in SEO. This rule also applies the other way around.
The power of metadata vs ads
If you think that the keywords are the only synergy between SEA and SEO, you are far from it:
Especially with the synergies between metadata and ad texts, it is crucial to ensure that title and description maintain the same tonality. The tonality promotes the recognition value and contributes significantly to the fact that users become repeat buyers. In this context, the specified domain is also of enormous relevance: While you can hardly influence SEO, you can choose almost arbitrarily with SEA.
The aim behind everything is to find the right beginning and build everything else on it. A communication guide that contains all essential wordings, tonalities and addresses (you or you) can serve as a start. Within the communication guide, the brand image should also be standardised, what the brand stands for and what should be conveyed to the outside world.
Within online marketing, it is then only a question of coordination:
SEO: Which SEA ads are there already?
SEA: Are the SEO snippets maintained?
Once the marketer has answered these two questions, nothing stands in the way of a uniform external appearance.
What is the competition doing?
Who doesn’t know the business books on page 1 that says “Know your competition”. And that’s exactly what online marketing is all about: almost every tool has its own options for taking a closer look at the activities of the competition. In SEO, tools such as Sistrix or Searchmetrics can recognise which keywords, ads, etc. are placed for which domain, mainly examining the SEO factors. Still, the SEA results from competitors’ paid ads also get better from time to time.
But there are also various investigation tools in the SEA, so Google Ads has the option of viewing the auction data to observe the competition. However, this should be treated with caution, as keywords also have different meanings, and for example, the word “costume” can be found year-round in women’s fashion. In contrast, the carnival has a completely different meaning, and accordingly, the auction dates for this keyword in spring probably have meanings.
To make the competition analysis as straightforward as possible and also to be able to take seasonal fluctuations into account, an analysis of various initial situations is necessary. It is advisable, for example, every three months to pull a report of your rankings as well as the rankings of the three main competitors and to list them in a document. This is the only way to be able to make an accurate statement.
The relevance behind SEA and SEO can no longer be denied, and the business administration books have long preached why it is essential to keep an eye on the competition. However, it has not yet been generalized that synergies can be created and that both areas can benefit from them. Nonetheless, we recommend that you collect the steps mentioned, from keyword analyzes to metadata and competitor analysis, and create a long-term strategy with regular updates. Only those who correctly analyze their data and learn to understand them can increase their search results for paid and organic equally successfully.
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