Paid search and SEO work in different ways to get visitors to your website. Paid search can yield almost immediate results, but can be expensive. Conversely, SEO is relatively cost free, but optimization efforts can take a long time to impact organic rankings. Both are important online marketing elements to, but can take different priorities depending on your goals and time.

In the past, these tactics have been managed separately, but now, more businesses are seeing the value of a unified approach. Back in 2011, Google shifted the industry in this direction when they started limiting organic search query information in an effort to increase privacy. With that change, it became even more important to combine and leverage paid search and organic efforts into one. Since paid search and SEO are dependent on keywords, it makes sense that both disciplines should be looked at through a similar lens. Here are 5 ways your business can start integrating the two right now.

1. Keyword Research/Expansion

Use Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools to see what keywords are driving visits to your site. If those keywords/queries aren’t already present in your paid search campaign, add them in and try them out. Use your Adwords tools to determine if the traffic volume is worth the cost. On the flip side, take your highest converting paid terms and try to prioritize the ones you have a chance to rank organically. Start with the top converting and high quality score terms. Odds are, those keywords are very relevant to your business and may have a good chance at converting organically as well. Start creating content around those keywords to increase your ranking in SERPs.

2. Paid Links + Organic Links = Clicks

Studies have shown that users have a higher propensity to click on your paid link if they see your organic link listed, as well the other way around. This may seem counter-intuitive, but the truth of the matter is that unless your organic ranking is within the top 3 positions, it’s a lot harder to come by clicks. If you’re not on the first page of the rankings, its even less likely you’ll get the traffic you’re looking for. A 2012 Google study says just that. As Brightedge put it “the study focused on the interactions between organic search results and paid ads found that even for sites claiming a No. 1 organic ranking, paid ads provided 50 percent incremental clicks (meaning, half of the top-ranking site’s visits would not have happened without the presence of paid ads).” Basically, if you aren’t running paid search in tandem with your top organic links you could be leaving clicks on the table.

3. Leverage Compelling Copy

Take your best performing ads in terms of click thru rate and conversion rate and try applying those headlines and ad copy into your meta descriptions and title tags. Additionally, you can take copy from top performing organic pages and see how they work within paid ads.

4. Get Content Ideas

For SEO purposes, content really is king. Before developing content around certain keywords, topics, etc., try testing it with paid search first. Chances are that if it converts well in paid search it has a good chance of working for SEO too. If it doesn’t work on the paid side, it might not be worth investing too much of your time. With SEO, things take time to make an impact so paid search is a good way test ideas without spending a lot of time waiting for results.

5. Identify Competitors

Pay Per Click reports can identify new competitors that you may have not even thought of as competitors. By looking at an insight report for keywords, you can see how you stack up against competitors searching for particular keywords. For example, as VerticalResponse, an email marketing provider, we find ourselves competing against CRM platforms for certain terms even though we may not consider them a direct competitor. It’s a good idea to take a look as you may be surprised by what you find.

These 5 ways can help improve both your paid search and SEO efforts and get insights about what works For small and large businesses alike, being able to save time and focus on the things that can make the most impact quickly is essential.

Get more paid search and SEO tips by subscribing to our VR Buzz weekly newsletter.

© 2015 – 2018, Contributing Author. All rights reserved.