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Combining Disparate Data to Optimize Search Marketing

by Jordan Ehrlich, on July 18, 2019

In this week's episode of Real Good Marketing, Brennan and Jordan discuss the synergies of SEM and SEO and how combining all your search data into one centralized view helps you make quicker, more informed marketing decisions.

See the dashboard Brennan's talking about here

Brennan Walker is DemandJump’s Director of Digital Strategy. He helps our customer success team leverage cross-channel marketing data to develop and communicate better digital marketing strategies for our customers. 

Transcript:

Jordan:

What did you learn this week?

Brennan:

At our core, the problem we're trying to solve is just pulling in all data sets, whether it's your AdWords data, your Google Search Console data, Analytics data, really everything under the sun. And because we have the capability to do that, we're able to answer a lot of questions that marketers have. And specifically, what we've learned is this idea of SEO and SEM synergy. So SEO, search engine optimization, SEM, search engine marketing, specifically around the paid side of things, so more paid search to SEO synergies. And with that, you hear a lot of people talk about how paid search is not related to SEO, but we find interesting is this idea that Google provides a quality score ranking specific to landing page relevance. So when you improve your quality score, 9 times of 10 it's going to lower your cost per click and it's going to improve your overall conversion rate and all efficiency metrics.

Brennan:

And landing page relevance is the idea that the keyword you're bidding on and the ad you're serving and the search that the consumer searched is highly related to the landing page you're pushing them to. How is Google knowledgeable of the relevancy to that search query and your ad and yet they're not going to say that has any SEO implications? It doesn't make much sense because they're already indexing your website when they crawl out for SEO, so they're not going to use that same crawler, that same information to align to the page search data? That's a little off for me.

Jordan:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Brennan:

And so what we found is when there are these gaps that occur with your SEO, so say you're ranking well organically for basketball shoes but you're performing really well on the paid side of things, well, if you can improve your SEO ranking you can maybe drop your bids even further on basketball shoes on paid search and make up that traffic from organic, so have you dollars while also improving organic presence. There's this circular response, if you will, to the different inputs that you provide from a paid perspective and the output that it has on organic and vice versa, because they're talking to each other. But what a lot of the questions that customers were asking is, I just want to see one place where I can see all my keyword data and when you think about it keywords are impacted very differently across different channels.

Brennan:

So paid search, you're bidding on certain terms that trigger search terms. Organic search, you're being triggered based on what Google thinks your website is about. And then, you really have all the information for Comp-Intel, which is showing you what does your competitive ecosystem think is important in terms of traffic driving keywords to you and your competitors? So when you layer all those data sets on top of each other, it really helps you answer a multitude of questions. We recently finished an internal project that allowed us to take all those data sets and put them into one place. So they were disparate but we could look at them and pull them down and drop them into excel but now we can actually view it in our platform.

Jordan:

Okay, and these data sets are?

Brennan:

Anything search related. So whether it's Google ads, Bing ads, Google Search Console, the Google SERP API Rankings, as well as Comp-Intel Data, we mush that all together into a dashboard. What this dashboard, what we're, able to do is take a filter and basically say, "I want to look at everything related to basketball shoes." Let's say I'm Nike selling basketball shoes and so I want to see how I'm performing across all of my search channels related to basketball shoes. When we do that, we're pulling down all of your quality score, your costs per click data, your conversion data, for AdWords. We're pulling that in for Bing. We're pulling in how you're ranking organically. We're pulling in how you're ranking organically against your competitors and we're also pulling in the variations of that, that are driving to your competitors.

Brennan:

So, with that information, what I'm able to see is if I'm outperforming on AdWords versus Bing or if I have a gap from my organic rankings, when I'm over performing from AdWords. So there's a bunch of different things that we can do with this information.

Jordan:

Walk me through a day in life of somebody that has not put all these things in one place and how that sort of pains the marketer.

Brennan:

It's really a lot around time. What you have to do today is if you want to understand how you're performing from a basketball shoes perspective, that's always my go to exercise.

Jordan:

Big basketball guy.

Brennan:

Big basketball guy. Export out all of the search terms and all the keywords and the relationship between them in AdWords. Do the same in Bing and then do the same in Google Search Console. And most people don't really have access to the Google SERP API or the Comp-Intel either, or you may have some Comp Intel 2s that you use, but at it's core, you're going to export all that information out, toss it into one Excel spreadsheet maybe and try and make sense of it and do a bunch of conditional formattings or sorting or pivot tables, what have you. By that time, data's changed and you can't do much about it. It's tough to act on stuff when it's taking you two, three days to get to the final endpoint, because we know digital marketing, it changes much more than a weekly basis.

Jordan:

And when you talk about putting that data into one Excel sheet, what is that?

Brennan:

It's your current performance, so how you're performing for the variation of those terms across AdWords, across Bing, across Search Console, which most people will have or at least Google and Search Console rather than Bing. But the point is saying is you want to take your current performances and compare and contrast that information. But what helps us is, within our platform, we're layering in the Comp Intel level data to help prioritize where the gaps are against your market and against your ecosystem as a whole. So, when you do that, you either can optimize for what you're doing today or you're identifying net new opportunities to scale your business further. And those are really the two core questions that marketers are really always asking themselves is, how do I make my existing performance better, do the things I care about the most, how do I do it better? Or what opportunities am I missing out on?

Jordan:

This is a strategy that we take with a lot of our customers where it's combining all this disparate data. But with this combination of search data, SEM and SEO, you've used this with a customer recently, right?

Brennan:

Yes.

Jordan:

How did seeing this change the way that they went about optimizing for SEM and SEO?

Brennan:

So, what a lot of teams will have is they'll have disparate teams managing the different channels, which makes sense, you have SEO marketers and paid search marketers. But those two teams were always asking, "Well, should I be investing here if I'm doing well from an organic perspective or vice versa or where am I underperforming across both channels, relative to competitors?" There are all these questions that people are always asking and so bringing all this information into one we were able to bring up keywords that they want bidding on from a paid perspective but were ranking really well on from an organic perspective, net new content opportunities that they were spending a lot of money on but weren't ranking for. And so there's all these different opportunities that bubble up just because you see all the data right there.

Brennan:

And so another one, obviously, is just we know competitors are getting traffic it, it aligns to your product and yet you're not ranking organically or paid, where's the gap? And so those are three really core use cases that I would say that they got value out of it.

Jordan:

Did that influence the way that those two teams worked then? So if they're in siloed teams anyway, SEM is its own team, SEO is another, what spawned of that insight?

Brennan:

Well, they knew that those relationships that I was alluding to earlier exist but they didn't have the platform or the tools at their fingertips to solve that. And so it was always just a question of, well, how are we doing from an organic side? And so they wanted to work together and they knew that they had to in order to streamline their budget, make it more efficient but also just to improve their overall organic branding. And so, us showing them that data allows them to come with a united front to create a united search strategy rather than, "Oh, this is working from a paid perspective. Let's just leave that. Oh well, we're already ranking from this organically. Let's just leave that." They can see all this information in one place to then create a holistic strategy to fill the gaps in their business.

Brennan:

So if at this minute I want to optimize what I care about today, and say it's basketball shoes, if I wanted to optimize that, I could do a search filter on it, pull out a couple of insights and then go run with it. Specific actions could be, go tell our web developer to add this term into our title tag or it could be start bidding on this keyword in AdWords. And then if the next minute I wanted to identify new opportunities, I could just look at the gaps in our Comp-Intel Data or I could look at things I'm not getting traffic from Google Search Console but I am getting traffic for in paid search or vice versa, which are technically net new opportunities in those respective channels, to then start implementing them.

 

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