The Paid & Organic Search 1-2 Punch

Will Swales from Global Strategies offers a peak behind the curtain into how they perform keyword research and prioritize which search terms to go after.


Will Swales:        Hey everyone, my name is Will Swales. I work for a company called Global Strategies. Global Strategies is an SEO and market research agency. We are based in Bend, Oregon. Previously to working here, I was actually with a company called EBO for about a decade, and I managed organic search and paid search at EBO. I'm going to talk today a little bit about bridging the gap between those two channels. We're going to actually look at a real life example using a computer gaming PC company as an example, so we'll get into that here. 

Will Swales:        One of the things we find working with our clients is that the larger the companies get, the less integrated the two paid search or the pay search and organic search channels become. So unlike EBO, that's kind of smaller, closer-knit, we're working with large companies like Intel and IBM, we find that oftentimes the people that are managing the channel can have blinders on and look at only own their channel, not at the bigger picture across both channels in the full competitive landscape.

Will Swales:        We're going to talk a little about the bar approach and then how you can drive strategy between the two search channels. So first step that we take is to really develop a unified understanding of the search landscape between the two channels. The [inaudible 00:01:27] human research to understanding what your consumer is searching for, what they care about and what information you need when making a purchasing decision. So there are a lot of great tools out there for that, obviously, looking at your own visibility, you can use Search Console. Like, search query for it and AdWords and Keyword Planner as well.

Will Swales:        But kind of a messy bucket of keywords. They need to put some structure to it, which is what you see here. So we basically categorize the keywords into topic level categories, topic and then subtopic. And oftentimes, they'll mirror the paid search structure that have a contact in place.

Will Swales:        To actually perform that categorization, we developed a tool that we call our tagging engine. So it's a Google-based engine you see on the right there that's basically looking at the keywords that we've pulled in to the [inaudible 00:02:16] and grouping them into those category of topics and subtopics hierarchy. We can actually make sense of an unstructured keyword data. It's really all the detail of the information that's at the keyword level, but it's oftentimes too granular when you're looking at tens of thousands of keywords you can roll it up.

Will Swales:        So that's what you see here in the higher level view of the landscape. Again, we're looking at gaming PCs here, so you can see large search going around the games themselves. We're gonna be looking at an example of a manufacture and retailer gaming system, so you can see there the search volume in red exactly what I'm talking about, the system itself. You can drill in and out to see, like, really what does your market look like and what are people searching for?

Will Swales:        One of the nice things about using Google Keyword Planner data is you can actually get a 4-year historical trend of search volume. Here we're looking at the seasonal trend and the road to the last four years for gaming PCs is fairly seasonal. A lot of search volume in November and December. It has been growing fairly steadily over the last few years. So you can look at the various components of your catalog and understand what's trending, what's growing, are there seasonal trends that we need to also act on and be aware of.

Will Swales:        So once we've developed our keyword set and we've pulled the search volume and trending data, from there you're really looking at what is the visibility of you and your competitors. We run a Ranking Report on Google, going back to a paid organic result. And kind of like we're tagging keywords, we're tagging the ranking results. So we're grouping them into types of domains, you see on the left here, things like Publishers in gray, Competitors in blue and green, as well as obviously, the sites themselves. The Presario power PC got a lot of ... their Hewlett had a lot of publishers shine us as you can see on the right, GameSpot, PC Gamer, et cetera.

Will Swales:        Once you've developed this data set, what do you do with it, how do you actually action on it? So, we developed a framework by which we group the keywords into one of the four quadrants you see on the right here. It's based on the organic search visibility. What we're really trying to do here is determine where you're strong, where you're weak organically as an input into your paid search strategy, again, bridging the gap between the two channels.

Will Swales:        So in the lower left of this quadrant is what we call First Mover keywords. These are keywords where neither you nor your competitors are ranking. So you see a lot of publisher sites and kind of high authority content sites in this area. 

Will Swales:        For CyberPower PC, you see there's a lot of search going around of PC Games, and also a few specific keywords within their niche to the gaming system's best gaming laptop under $1500, being an example of a keyword where neither they nor their competitors are ranking, so thinking about do we have landing pages and then are we driving paid to the hosted. We have no visibility.

Will Swales:        So, arguably, the highest priority of all these four quadrants we're going to talk about is the Get in the Game group of keywords here in the upper left. This is the area where your competitors have visibility and you don't, so you're at a competitive disadvantage. So really, the only way you're getting visibility in this space is buying your way in.

Will Swales:        We see with a lot of our clients that as often new categories or new areas where they haven't yet built the authority in organic search so it's a paid play and so you kind ramp up the authority to get the link building, get the content built, et cetera. So for CyberPower PCs it'll be parts and components, peripherals and accessories are kind of newer categories for them, it's more of a paid play.

Will Swales:        Win the Fight, this is where you are duking it out on the surf with your competition. You're both there, so you're really looking at the ... The velocity that you are generating through your organic search program is not sufficient. You're generating some business, but you're looking at developing the ranking position of your organic search [inaudible 00:06:16] to your competition.

Will Swales:        You see for example here, for CyberPower PCs in gaming laptops, they are not ranking particularly well even though they have some visibility there in 8th position relative to a competition rank of two. So, a lot of upside at times back to get a keyword and they'll be obviously thousands of others, this is just a few examples.

Will Swales:        Lower right is Own More real estate on the surf or Shift Spend. So Own More is basically you are ranking, your competitors are not, so you want to actually bid more aggressively and kind of steal some share from publisher sites or shift out of that area if you don't need to defend or want to buy more traffic in that area.

Will Swales:        So we do a lot of branded queries here, obviously, where you are there exclusively and your competition isn't. So, you know, for CyberPower PC, you have two branded keywords where you may want to dial those back a little bit.

Will Swales:        Overall though, the big takeaways here are developing a shared understanding of the search landscape between the paid and organic campaigns and developing a framework that you can use to manage one with insights from the other. Looking at content creation and optimization insights, a lot of those First Move opportunities. And then finally, just kind of coordinating the challenge.

Will Swales:        Thanks very much.