BrightEdge: Here’s How To Make Paid And Organic Search Work Together

If your company shows up in both the organic and paid search results of a given search term, is that a good thing? Or a waste of money? That’s something that Google itself has been researching, and today, SEO service BrightEdge took a closer look at one advertiser’s approach for balancing search strategies.

Specifically, it released a case study about how hotel marketing agency HeBS Digital used integrated tools from both BrightEdge and Adobe to manage organic and paid search results for Loews Hotels. The strategy supposedly paid off in a 63 percent increase in revenue from online room bookings and 44 percent ROI increase on targeted keywords.

BrightEdge CEO Jim Yu says companies need to look at organic search results and search ads together, because “it’s all one search page.”

Google’s research showed that 89 percent of paid search clicks are “incremental” (meaning that if advertisers stop running search ads, 89 percent of that traffic isn’t replaced by clicks on regular search results), and that even if your company is the very top organic result, that’s still true of 50 percent of paid search clicks — in other words, no matter how good your Google ranking, you still get extra traffic from buying ads.

Yu argues that the situation is a little more nuanced, and that it differs from keyword to keyword. In some cases, the paid and organic search results can reinforce each other, while in others they’re more cannibalistic. Sometimes it makes sense to buy ads on a keyword where you already rank highly, sometimes it doesn’t. The solution? Test things out, “keyword by keyword.”

That’s what HeBS Digital did, and it broke down its strategy into six steps:

  1. Select initial target site and keywords.
  2. Identify the top-ranking SEO keywords.
  3. Reduce your PPC bids on those top keywords.
  4. Move your ad spend to other keywords.
  5. Measure the impact on conversions.
  6. Repeat the process for other websites.