The beautiful union of natural and paid search

An observation that I have come to (both by working on many search campaigns and from reading a hell of a lot of trade press) is that there is a distinct segregation between natural and paid search. By this I mean that natural and paid search marketing solutions tend to be delivered quite separately from each other. While the techniques used to build and optimise natural and paid search campaigns are very different, in my opinion there are two main reasons why the two should work in tandem.

It is massively short sighted to under estimate the power of paid search when run in parallel to natural search. There is a common misconception that paid search should only be utilised until a site achieves high natural rankings and increased exposure in the engines. In fact, the power of dual visibility (paid and natural visibility) in the search listings has been proven to have the 1 + 1 = 3 effect. Research has shown that when visibility is maximised for a particular term on both natural and paid search results are not only positive (to the effect of appearing twice) but there is also an extra lift due to the additional visibility. The results of this combined visibility have proven to drive increased brand awareness and lead generation.

Learning’s from either campaign can and should be communicated to the other. For example, if it is found that a brand term (i.e “Leapfrogg”) generates a significant amount of visitors to the site from natural search, it would be a good idea for the paid campaign to add in brand misspellings. These paid listings would catch those search queries which are misspelt, as natural results would not be optimised to do this.

It is only when a search marketing solution is delivered as a whole that optimum results can hope to be achieved. With clear lines of communication between paid and natural search teams a unique and highly optimised campaign will be born.

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