Media Insights

SEO and SEM: Better, Together.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) work stronger, and more efficiently, when working together.

Together they can answer the question: how can search channels collectively deliver the best customer experience while driving the highest enterprise return?

The goal of SEM is to drive incremental search sales through audience-targeted campaigns. The goal of SEO is to drive incremental traffic and sales to your site from keyword visibility improvements. Since the channels share the same search engine results page, if they are not working together, they may be working against each other. 

Holistic search is more than a traffic-driving tactic; it’s a business strategy that pushes marketers to think beyond the search engine results page to focus on maximizing enterprise return. While a holistic search approach will help increase brand visibility and drive more cost-efficient traffic, the true value of holistic search is the ability to deliver a better consumer experience that provides both short-term and long-term incremental value to the growth of your business. 

Developing a Holistic Search Strategy

Not sure where to start? Here are the three steps we recommend for standing up a holistic search strategy. 

1) Monitor and Analyze

Cross-Channel Key Performance Indicator (KPI) Reporting

The first step in building a holistic search strategy is to build a view of overall search performance, combining the main KPIs for each channel. The aggregated view can reveal holistic KPI growth that won’t be seen on an individual channel basis.

A holistic search strategy is built to drive revenue through the most efficient and incremental channels. For example, maybe paid search budget isn’t truly incremental and organic can cover the SERP alone while still maintaining a constant holistic search revenue line. This would drastically change percent of site revenue from paid search, but the holistic channel view together will show higher growth, higher return, and stronger incrementality.

Cross-Channel Keyword Reporting

Connecting keyword level data from Google Search Console and Google Ads will reveal how channels are performing across different keywords. This will uncover opportunities for specific channel strategies: 

  • Where can we pull back investment because organic is ranking high?
  • Where do we need to invest more in paid to cover low organic rank? 
  • Do we have any keyword gaps that we need to cover? 

Since Paid Search is able to get insights down to the users query level, it can help influence the kind of content in which SEO should focus its efforts on.

2) Build a Site Enhancement and Optimization Plan

Site Enhancements 

For SEM, landing page optimization is essential to work towards increasing your keyword quality score. The increase in quality score will deliver more efficient cost per sessions while increasing site traffic.

For SEO, landing page relevancy signals are the main ranking factor within search algorithms. To rank for a keyword, there needs to be a single unique page that exists for the keyword and that page needs to be well optimized to effectively compete against the site that is currently ranking.

Landing Page Optimization

Landing page optimization can happen in two different ways. Landing page creation, in which new pages are built to fill a specific keyword gap. Or, landing page optimization, where you update current pages to better meet customer language, trends, and expectations. 

3) Using Search Data to Unlock Consumer Trends to Drive Enterprise Value

Consumer Search Trends

Keyword analytic tools can provide visibility into consumer interest curves. This data can illustrate when customers start looking for a product or service, when interest is peaking, and when interest is low. These insights can drive incremental channel growth through product inventory reallocation and more strategic timing of category page launches. 

Managing your search program holistically uncovers new opportunities that not only increase the impact of your search program, but your business overall. If you’re interested in discovering insights about how SEM and SEO can work better together for your brand, request an audit here

Ovative is a digital-first media and measurement firm seeking to transform the measure of marketing success. At Ovative, we help brands move the needle. We are curious. We value your brand. We want to see you succeed. Connect with us to learn more!

Lillian Smith

Senior Analyst, Paid Social

About the Author

Lillian is a Senior Analyst on the Paid Social team at Ovative.

Dale Nitschke

Dale Nitschke

CEO & Founder

About the Author

Dale is the Founder and CEO of Ovative. After years of operating a large omni-channel business and leading a customer data initiative, Dale knew there was an opportunity to create a marketing firm that helped clients become more customer centric and drove better performance outcomes. A gap existed between business consultancies and advertising agencies that modern marketing approaches demand. He also believed that a strong, healthy culture could attract and develop smart, talented team members. In 2009, he formed Ovative to bring media, measurement, and consulting together under one roof to enable an enterprise approach that drives more revenue and grows clients’ customer base.

Prior to founding Ovative in 2009, Dale spent 23 years at Target Corporation where he served as President of and grew the ecommerce business from start-up stage to a $1 billion+ business and established the foundation of Target’s Guest database capabilities. Previously he served as SVP Merchandising at the Department Store Division of Dayton Hudson. Dale has advised retailers and brands globally on business, growth, marketing, and measurement transformation strategies.

Outside of Ovative, Dale is a leader on topics including business strategy, change management, and team leadership. He serves on the board of Allergy Amulet and on the Dean’s Advisory Board of the Wisconsin School of Business at UW-Madison.  He enjoys spending time with his family, up north in northern Wisconsin, playing golf, and cheering on Wisconsin sport teams.

Seth Brand

Senior Manager, Consulting

About the Author

Seth is a Senior Manager on the Consulting team at Ovative.

Amanda McCann

Senior Manager, Consulting

About the Author

Amanda is a Senior Manager on the Consulting team at Ovative, specializing in Retail Media Networks.

Jenny Reinke

Senior Analyst, Measurement Solutions

About the Author

Jenny is a Senior Analyst on the Measurement Solutions team at Ovative.

Annie Zipfel

Executive Vice President, Media

About the Author

Annie is the Executive Vice President of Media at Ovative. She oversees delivery and growth across paid and owned media (digital, traditional, and retail media) and creative services.

Annie has more than 30 years of experience in media, brand management, insights/analytics, marketing, and product. She has also developed large, high-performing teams and built new measurement capabilities. Annie led the marketing team at Andersen Windows & Doors, leading the digital, social, content, customer insights, and creative functions. Prior to that, Annie served in multiple marketing leadership roles at Starbucks, REI, Target, and General Mills, with a keen focus on brand, media, insights, analytics, and measurement.

Annie is an industry leader in brand management, customer insights, e-commerce, social media, and analytics. She enjoys hiking, traveling, cooking, fishing, and spending time with her sweet dog and two sons.

Bonnie Gross

Executive Vice President, Talent Services

About the Author

Bonnie is the Executive Vice President of Talent Services at Ovative. She is responsible for attracting and retaining top talent and creating a culture in which our team thrives personally and professionally. Under Bonnie’s leadership, Ovative has defined an industry leading leadership and development program and transformed our approach to talent recruitment with a focus on diversity, equality and inclusion. Prior to her current role, Bonnie led Ovative’s Client and Business Development team overseeing client satisfaction and new growth opportunities.

Before joining Ovative in 2014, Bonnie spent 13 years at Target Corporate as the VP of digital and Digital Marketing where she led the launch of Cartwheel, an industry-leading social shopping application. Bonnie was the VP of Marketing for Fingerhut for 15 years prior to joining Target.

Leander Cohen

Analyst, Consulting

About the Author

Leander Cohen is an Analyst on the Consulting team at Ovative.

Will Silva

Analyst, Measurement Solutions

About the Author

Will is an Analyst on the Measurement Solutions team at Ovative.

Sarah Chang

Sarah Chang

Analyst, Consulting

About the Author

Sarah Chang is an Analyst on the Consulting team at Ovative.

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