SEO and SEA are two levers with similar natures: they both respond to a single user request. Yet they’re often dealt with separately by advertisers and agencies. In recent years, the market has been exploring potential synergies in order to address issues such as investment rationalisation, brand protection and the fight against keyword cannibalisation.
The constant evolution of SERP (Search Engine Result Pages), different approaches between the two disciplines, and the challenge of common measurement make these issues difficult to address. So much so that many advertisers think creating synergies between the two levers is an impossible, utopian dream. But at Artefact, SEO/SEA synergy is a reality. Developed by our Search teams, we call it “Full Search”.

Could Full Search, or integrated SEO and SEA strategy, be the new holy grail of performance-based investment optimisation?

Our vision is based on three main phases:

Discussion of the Integrated Search strategy to adopt

Discussion of the Integrated Search strategy to adopt, in addition to initial SEA and SEO strategies, via advanced analysis of the existing situation, illustrated in the form of a synergy matrix:

SEO SEA Synergy

This matrix is composed of three themes common to both SEA and SEO, which may be adjusted according to advertisers, sector of activity and SERP status.

Marketing analysis

Among the main marketing checkpoints analysed here are issues of complementarity of semantic levers and analysis of contents of ads and snippets.

Let’s use the example of an actor in the entertainment sector for whom Artefact recently performed an audit:

This client’s visibility on certain queries relating to its sector of activity wasn’t optimal in either SEO or SEA. Artefact therefore proposed that the advertiser test new SEA keywords and a more “immediate” lever, then analyse their performance.

Where results were good, SEO pages were created while continuing to bid in SEA, so long as these new pages were rising in SERP. Where results were disappointing, other keywords were tested.

Technical analysis

This analysis consists of assessing the status of SEA/SEO landing pages and page load times. To illustrate these two cases, let’s consider the example of a site that’s currently being migrated.

In this context, the main objective is to ensure consistency in content, technique and loading times to maintain organic traffic. The Full Search solution here will be to support SEO by adjusting SEA bids to compensate for any drop in positioning.

Here, SEA makes up for any potential loss of visibility and traffic in an instantaneous, flexible and controlled manner.

Performance analysis

Performance analysis consists of an inventory of the respective indicators of the two levers, as well as that of an item we call Full Search visibility. This item is calculated via analysis of the SEO/SEA capture rate, which lets us measure the share of search volume captured by the levers on a common semantic universe.

This indicator is then integrated into a Full Search decision tree, which, via classification of keyword universes, determines a strategic orientation for each situation and defines associated actions.

A Full Search measurement and analysis phase

A Full Search measurement and analysis phase with implementation of a dashboard that will allow monitoring of common measurement indicators, as well as their evolution over time, to facilitate decision-making and propose recommendations in the short, medium and long term. Depending on the advertiser’s level of maturity and the complexity of synergies, a more or less complex dashboard will be set up.

Une phase de mesure et d’analyse du Full Search

Above is an example of an advanced dashboard structure developed by the Artefact analytics team. This dashboard is based on different data sources such as Google Ads or Google Search Console, among others. It’s designed to cluster semantics to better monitor performance and facilitate operational decision making. These dashboards can be enhanced with market tools offering competitive reporting.

An operational deployment phase via implementation of A/B tests based on recommendations made upstream.

For example, Artefact helped one of its clients determine the value of purchasing its brand in SEA. This is a crucial question for most advertisers, as volumes linked to brands are so significant in terms of traffic and turnover. To address this issue, it’s essential to measure the capacity of SEA to recover volumes lost in the event of an SEA cut off, and to demonstrate the synergy of the two levers.

This test showed that SEO doesn’t recover all volumes, as a decrease of about 20% of sessions and turnover was recorded. Depending on the advertiser’s sector of activity, the strength of the brand and the period tested, results can vary greatly. Consequently, it’s imperative to define the indicators to be measured in advance, to be aware of any potential biases in methodology (difficulties in estimating SEO turnover, for example) and, above all, to repeat these tests once or twice a year over different periods.

Conclusion

As we’ve demonstrated, SEO/SEA synergy, or Full Search at Artefact, isn’t a utopia. However, it is a strategic, operational and quantifiable reality. To get the most from this synergy, it must not cannibalise pre-existing SEO/SEA strategies, but must always be based on an iterative test and learn logic. In this way, Full Search can be successfully used to continuously adjust optimisations.

Artefact Newsletter

Interested in Data Consulting | Data & Digital Marketing | Digital Commerce ?
Read our monthly newsletter to get actionable advice, insights, business cases, from all our data experts around the world!

Newsletter Sign Up