You’ve been doing everything right. You’ve done the keyword research. You know what interests your audience. You’ve optimized your meta descriptions, meta titles, content, and schema. Performance improves week-over-week, month-over-month. But have you forgotten something?
Digital Marketing from Separate Silos
There’s a problem with how we usually think about digital marketing. It’s a widespread problem, existing regardless of organization size or industry. It’s in itself a large problem, but it can have wide-reaching effects. It’s an often-necessary problem, originating simply as a means to methodically approach the large task of marketing on the internet.
The problem is this: we often treat organic marketing and paid marketing as two separate and distinct avenues. We see, time and time again, one team responsible for SEO and another responsible for Pay-Per-Click (PPC) with neither communicating with the other. Worse, often these teams are not equipped to speak with each other, with multiple agencies accounting for PPC and social media (itself split into paid and organic) and legacy marketing and organic. Some are managed in-house, some are outsourced. Oftentimes, focus can only be made for one, and the others are ignored.
Why is this the case? A number of reasons. Bandwidth limitations and individual expertise tend to be the biggest factors. Ultimately, regardless of the reason, the effect is the same: even though there are often multiple points of overlap between organic and paid marketing, many organizations continue to keep them siloed.
What is PPC Cannibalization and Why It Matters
Why this is a problem may not be obvious. If the right hand and the left hand are competent, what difference does it make whether either knows what its counterpart does? Brass tacks, when the right hand is your SEO and your left is your PPC, the difference is this: money.
Let us assume that you bring your SEO and PPC onto the same team.
Consider the work often performed for SEO:
- Pinpoint service lines that are critical for success.
- Perform keyword research to see how your audiences search for those service lines, finding terms that you try to weave into on-page content with an eye for balance of readability and popular terms.
- Write in references to your organization name and service area throughout, on-page and off.
- Use these tactics and many others, all the while benchmarking and measuring the organic traffic flowing in to find success.
Now, you turn your attention to managing your PPC. Maybe you have a specific objective: a maternity class that you want to offer, a flu vaccine clinic that you want to schedule. Maybe you just want to advertise a service line. You do your due diligence. You do our keyword research here, as well. You write your ads. You build your audiences. You set up your tracking and define your conversions.
Bridging the Gap
Finally, consider, your SEO work is working. Organic traffic grows month over month. You perform strongly with your branded keywords and you are making headway in your priority service lines, too. Your PPC is working, too. CPCs are low. Click-Through-Rate (CTR) and Conversions exceed expectations.
However, when you look at the search terms on which you are spending the bulk of your budget, you find your organization name or brand again and again. You look at these same searches organically, and you see that these are also high-performing. The average position is high, CTR looks good, and none of your competitors are bidding against your brand in their own PPC campaigns.
You are, in effect, paying Google Ads for keywords that you have already mastered organically. The name for this, colorfully enough, is PPC Cannibalization.
Bringing Your Digital Presence into Sync
Thankfully, this problem is easy to fix. We can bring keyword lists in line with your high-performing SEO searches, reducing overlap as much as possible. The trick is finding the overlap in the first place. In order to do so, we need to be able to audit both your PPC and your SEO performance.
This can be a challenge organizationally for a number of reasons, some of which I have described in this article. However, it is critical to protect your advertising budget. Every dollar spent in advertising that you lose to PPC cannibalization is a dollar that could be used for another ad auction on a search for which you haven’t (yet) built an organic approach.
Ready to Get Started?
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to this problem. By auditing your SEO terms and PPC searches side by side, you can help your SEO and PPC work together, in sync, instead of independently. If that sounds overwhelming, request help from our experts. By keeping a holistic view of your digital presence, we can help you pivot to account for changes in the search and organic landscape. So, ensure that your advertising budget works for you more efficiently and more intentionally. Reach out to us and schedule a time with one of our experts to get the ball rolling.