Integrated Search Marketing – The Big Takeaway from SES Chicago

It’s hard to believe that SES Chicago was 2 weeks ago already. As always, it was a great conference, with informative sessions and fantastic networking.

One common theme throughout several of the sessions I attended was integrated search marketing. Interestingly enough, we’ve been preaching the integration gospel at Fluency Media for a while now. A year ago, I wrote a series of articles for Search Engine Watch on integrating PPC with other online marketing channels. And now, it seems as though everyone’s on the integration bandwagon.

Nowhere was this more apparent than in the session called PPC or SEO: The Ultimate Search Marketing Battle. It wasn’t even a battle, really – both sides ended up saying that both PPC and SEO are necessary for maximum SEM success.

Despite my disappointment at the lack of blood in this session :), here are some of the key takeaways:

• Use PPC to inform SEO! Where have I heard this before?
• Integrating PPC with SEO yields better results, efficiency, and cross-channel intelligence.
• Combine the two to reduce your risk. You need to do both PPC and SEO to effectively mitigate your risk.
• Use SEO for niche, long tail terms. (I actually disagree with this – SEO works well for broader terms that are expensive in PPC, while PPC is great for niche & long tail terms.)
• Build your site with SEO in mind. I wish more companies did this!
• Build inbound links.
• PPC helps with immediate presence. (In other words, SEO takes time; PPC can bridge the gap until your SEO kicks in.)
• Use PPC for top ranking on competitive terms that you’ll never rank for organically.
• Use both to dominate real estate above the fold. A Google case study showed that top organic & paid listing increases unaided awareness by 17x!
• Resolution Media ran a test with their clients where they paused brand terms in PPC for a month to test. They found that not bidding on brand terms led to 42% overall decrease in traffic on paid AND natural search. I actually wrote an article for DM News on this very subject – we found that not bidding on brand terms also decreased direct traffic.
• Perform landing page testing in PPC to decide what pages to optimize for SEO. (GREAT advice!)

I thought these were great tips. Do you have any to add?

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