This article addresses the importance of optimizing your SEM (search engine marketing), SEO (search engine optimization) and PLA (product listing ads) channels together to gain monster ROI growth in the search channel.
Optimization of search advertising often occurs in a vacuum where SEM, SEO and PLA efforts are optimized separately. By optimizing these channels together, you can save money on unneeded ad spend while boosting your page visibility in the right places to generate more sales or leads — pushing you into monster growth territory!
Search engine results pages (SERPs) feature different sections where different types of results appear. These sections include, but are not limited to, organic listings, text ads, product listing ads, local results, image results, news results and more. In implementing a holistic, cross-channel strategy, which takes into account site visibility across these different sections, we can direct our search marketing efforts to the channel where they will have the biggest impact on a keyword-by-keyword basis.
There are measurable benefits to optimizing SEM, SEO and PLA channels together:
We all want to optimize for the entire search results page. I hear our company’s clients discuss this need frequently. However, optimization across channels has remained elusive to the industry for a variety of reasons:
To get your sleeves rolled up with cross-channel optimization, you will need to know the following items:
Once you have defined which section comes first for each keyword, next you will need to score your own appearance in those sections — at the keyword level. You will need to measure and obtain the following data:
I like to compute a score using these two data points so that you can readily sort your keyword list to determine where to focus your efforts. You can do this however you like; one method is to invert the ranks so that you can use a high multiple for rank (e.g., rank 1 gets a multiple of 10), and then just multiply the page share times rank to score your visibility in each channel. The higher the value, the better the score in the channel.
Once you have your score, a table or chart organized like this will come in handy:
You could also fine-tune the details in the chart above by breaking out the “Your Performance” section into finer details by showing all three metrics for each channel: Avg/Top Rank, Page Share and Score.
From here, your next step is to identify keywords where your score in organic, paid or PLA visibility is weak, then review the page layout for those keywords. If the section in question is at the top of the page, then you know you need to optimize that channel better.
Once you have perfected your own optimization across channels, the next step in any good optimization strategy is to study the competitive landscape. You don’t just want to improve yourself — you also want to outpace competitors.
The same data that you used above can be used to optimize against the competition. At The Search Monitor (my employer), we take the rank and page share statistic and compute a visibility score for each competitor, then rank the entire market landscape. Using a chart like the one below, you can quickly identify the keywords and channels where your competitors are weaker or stronger than you are, giving you a fast list of keywords for competitive optimization efforts:
Focus on improving your visibility by keyword, against key competitors, in all parts of the search page — and the clicks will follow. Good luck, and stay tuned for my next article on how to coordinate your PPC strategy with your affiliates to improve clicks and compliance.
Also, be sure to check the rest of my 2017 search marketing growth hack series:
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