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SEO vs. PPC: Don't Play Favorites. Play Together!

by Andrew Miller   |   Aug 20, 2020

SEO vs. PPC...the debate rages on! Or does it? I thought the issue was settled years ago (spoiler, you need both!) but apparently some people are still arguing that one is inherently better than the other. And once your teams grow to include SEO and PPC experts, getting them to collaborate and communicate effectively is an entirely new challenge.

I wrote about these topics recently in guest posts with our partners at Unbounce and CXL. You'll find summaries and links to the original articles below.

Who wins in a grudge match between PPC and SEO?

In my experience, nobody wins! In fact, you'll get better results when you combine the channels and customize your strategies based on your business goals and your unique needs.

As I wrote on Unbounce's blog, there are several areas that you need to consider when allocating budgets and resources between paid and organic channels:

  • Understanding the differences between SEO and PPC
  • How to measure the success of an SEO strategy vs. a PPC campaign
  • Putting your strengths to work while compensating for your weaknesses
  • Integrating your PPC and SEO strategies for massive wins

Now you won't take the bait the next time somebody asks you if they should choose SEO or PPC. Read the post to see why the only correct answer is SEO and PPC.

Now that we have settled that, let's move on to...

Getting your SEO and PPC teams to work better together

It can be a challenge to get two teams to integrate their strategies, workflows, and communication. This is true for in-house teams and especially relevant if you are managing multiple agencies with different incentives.

I wrote on the CXL blog about the importance of integration across teams and the questions you need to ask, as a marketer, to get alignment. When SEO and PPC teams work well together, you'll get more efficient communications and play the role of air traffic controller rather than carrier pigeon. You can also set clear expectations to ensure agency partners strategize effectively with a high degree of accountability and without a self-preservation bias.

Here are the six questions to help you combine the strengths of both disciplines to help you achieve more than either could on their own:

  1. Are SEO and PPC teams communicating effectively and sharing insights?
  2. Are we able to create incremental gains across channels?
  3. Do we have a single source of truth for conversion and performance data?
  4. Are we properly valuing each channel? Or is one team taking too much credit?
  5. Are test plans shared across teams to minimize variables?
  6. Is reporting integrated or presented in channel-specific silos?

Our approach to each of these questions are laid out in the full post and I encourage you to read it there.

What's next?

Our SEO and PPC teams are constantly refining their approach and working together to find better ways of organizing our strategies and communicating results. Asking these questions is a great way to start the conversations and improve your search engine marketing performance!

portrait of Andrew Miller

Andrew Miller

Andrew is a data-driven marketer, speaker, and problem solver. He co-founded Workshop Digital in 2015 and as the VP of Strategy he devotes his time to developing new tools and strategies to help Workshop Digital’s teams and clients achieve their goals. Andrew regularly speaks to marketing and professional audiences with an authentic, passionate message to raise their collective marketing intelligence.

Andrew collects hobbies and devotes his time to his family, competing in triathlons, amateur gardening, and mentoring Richmond youth as a member of the Junior Achievement of Central Virginia board of directors.