Live from #SMX East 2014: How SEO and SEM Can Work Together

By Heidi Smith | Sep 30, 2014
More Articles by Heidi

This SMX East session explored the similarities between paid search and organic search, and how they can strategize together to complement and energize each other.beginning slide liveblog1

Operations and Logistics for Collaborating SEO & SEM

Lisa Williams (@seopollyanna), the President & Founder of Sustainable Digital Marketing, began the session discussing the operational and logistics of SEO and SEM working together. She focused on three main ideas – having common goals and strategy, learning to work together and create a culture of teamwork, and utilize the resources you have at your disposal while evolving as needed.

It’s important for SEO and SEM to work together and find a common goal – this starts with a cohesive strategy developed together that will meet the end goals of both areas. The teams need to understand and help each other meet those end goals and objectives together. In order to meet the decided upon goals, leverage what you have at your disposal and “know what it takes to win.” This includes your own abilities, leadership within your team, and taking advantage of different talents available at your company that will help you “win.”

seo & sem lisaHere are Lisa’s 10 operational and logistical areas to focus on in order to ensure cohesive SEO and SEM:

  • Strategy
  • Learn to Partner
  • Create Culture of Teamwork
  • Tell a Great Story
  • Know What It Takes to Win
  • Leverage Leadership
  • Talent Diversification
  • Allow for Change
  • Deal with Fragmentation
  • Words Matter

SEO Perspective – And How They Can Complement Each Other

smx panelBrett Snyder (@brettasnyder), owner of Agora Inbound, took ideas that are very commonplace for marketers, and looks at them in ways you maybe hadn’t thought to use them before. There are different tools and strategies traditionally utilized by SEO that can help PPC, and vice versa.


SEO and PPC have a common language, and it is keywords. This includes using search term reports for SEO (traditionally used for PPC optimization) and search query reports in Google Webmaster Tools, normally an SEO tactic, used to gain insight for PPC.

Competitive Research

Brett outlined a few tools and strategies that can help you conduct competitive research, and provide you with previously untapped opportunities for SEO and PPC.

On-Page Optimization Tactics

  • Results from ad copy testing can be applied to meta description optimization to pull in users and get them to your site with the right kind of wording that you know has worked with ad copy.
  • Use landing page optimization and conversion funnels to understand what people do on your site before they convert. This can give insight into what type of information users take in before they convert, and allow you to create that type of content if you don’t already have it.

Off-Page Optimization

“If you build it, they will come” isn’t true when it comes to marketing. Use paid media to amplify your website and your efforts, to make those users “come” since you have built it. Another great point is to “use content marketing to build your retargeting audience and your retargeting audience to promote your content.”

Emotions and Real People are the Key to Content

Aaron Levy (@bigalittlea), PPC Consultant at Cast Iron Digital, opened up with the idea of “who are the people at the end of the keyboard?” Tapping into emotions is the key to making your marketing successful. Aaron is all about the audience, and how you can use this strategy to figure out what people will “read, save, share.”


Perform query mining extensively. Aaron points out that observing what people are actually searching and sharing can give you insight into what people are interested in that relates to your business, and you can build your own content around it.


Follow what people are interested in, and create content around it. One of Aaron’s examples was bridal gown retailers. You already know your demographic (more than likely, females between 18 and 40), so find out what else they are interested in. For example, brides are constantly on weather websites for their “big day” – so as a bridal gown retailer, create a weather guide for weddings. That is something that a bride will use herself, and probably pass on and share with her friends. You’ll connect with your target audience, and possibly create loyalty by providing them with guidance and advice.


  • Make sure that users can find your content.
  • This includes tools that your PPC person may use all the time and have insight on; they can help you make sure your targeting makes sense.
  • Use your remarketing audience to find look-a-like users of your target audience. Once you determine your “best” remarketing list, you can create the right type of content and push it out to like-minded people.


Use tools that SEOs use all the time such as followerwonk and little bird. They can help you figure out which people follow your brand, and what there other common interests are – essentially, know your audience at a more emotional level and learn how to appeal to them with interesting, engaging, and relevant content.

For more SMX conversations and insight, search #SMX or #SMXEast on Twitter or Google+, or find me at @heidinkramer.

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