James Svodoba Shares the Importance of Merging PPC and SEO

James Svoboda talks about the importance of teams all being accountable to one another. In the past, paid and organic teams were separated but today, they need to work together to be more efficient.


The two were merged to get themselves ahead and avoid conversation breakdown. “There were many commonalities, like the same search pages and keywords we wanted to tackle and compete on. We also had the same audience. There are many commonalities the two teams have that they could benefit from knowing. With the merge, we could analyze cost and share it with the organic team. Both SEO and PPC can now get together and work together,” Svoboda said.

It’s a very opaque way to look at things.

“We had to make a plan of how we would approach Hummingbird and move forward as a team.” There was Hummingbird, Mobilegeddon, Rank Brain, non-secure warnings, and more that would make many changes. “We started to analyze the new search results.” He tells us, the organic was basically aggregators and a lot of top ten lists. Social plays off top ten lists. He mentions how famous BuzzFeed got off of that alone.

He tells us paid ads aren’t as authentic and not as good as the organic rankings. If an organic list featured The Top Ten ___, and the inorganic had a list of 100, which would the visitor want to read? The 10!

He says they created a structure to test messaging and then provide data to the organic team. For abrasion-resistant gloves, the paid side did some research.

Next, he started to test call-to-actions.

“We tested two to four CTAs to see which one would work. We then worked that into the meta descriptions and carried it through to the content.” He said this helped to discover the best CTAs to end content with and to entice readers to click on the content.

Note that organic content is harder to test. A simple way to organically test paid search is to start split-testing content with organic pages and landing pages, by split testing paid ads for the same words. Svoboda’s team took data and provided it to the organic team. This allowed them to see which pages worked best and continue forward with the winning page.

Today you can target age, income, and more.

With demographic data in analytics, you don’t have impression volume where you can see overall demos visiting your website. One of ways we gravitate back to that is to figure out how ages and genders work based on impression shares. That’s where we find our prime audience.

Some of the most useful demographics he tests are household income and parental status.

He reminds us, “We still have our paid data, search console, and combined data of how they work together.”

You can aggregate all of your data to see what you’re getting out of it or you can split down by type. It can be separated by ad shown only, organic shown only, or combined. You can see if organic is performing badly in one keyword and you can investigate it.

He learned that when they had an ad showing and organic showing, they received better results with them working together than if they were separated.

He would aggregate keywords, and identify and analyze common root words. He’d look at volume, clicks, and repetition count. Then, he was able to layer it with a heat map. He was also able to find root terms and put together a list to identify the priority version. When doing this, it’s important to make sure that you’re rating by priority. Do you want volume or conversions?

Some Key Points on SEO & Content:

  • Can provide inspiration to copywriters
  • Help SEO avoid keyword stuffing
  • Help paid search make broad matches and increase terms
  • Help the copywriter write ads
  • Create variations by theme and sub-topic
  • Make more content based on queries and new keywords

In 2013, we weren’t getting content done fast enough, with good enough quality. However, we realized by working together we could create good content. We did in-depth research and enhanced keywords to get great results.

Final Takeaways:

  • Make collaboration accountable. When merging PPC and organic, it’s easy to go completely off-the-rails.
  • Analyze root word variations to build out authoritative links.
  • “Boring content themes are powerful.”
  • Use paid search for content promotion.