Align your SEO and PPC teams

Business Benefits

Ensure agency partners strategize effectively with a high degree of accountability and without a self-preservation bias.

Create communication channels between both teams.

For example, in pre-COVID days, our SEO and PPC teams sat in close proximity, so conversations could naturally flow between them. Now that we’re remote, we share threaded conversations in Basecamp, our project management tool of choice.

Use the RACI model to find out who needs to be in each conversation.

For example, our account team: PPC analysts, SEO analysts, the manager with oversight/relationship responsibility, and the original sales team member who brought the client on board.

  • Responsible: Who is or will be doing this task? Who is assigned to work on this task?
  • Accountable: Whose head will roll if this goes wrong? Who has the authority to make decisions?
  • Consulted: Who can tell me more about this task? Which stakeholders have we identified?
  • Informed: Does anyone’s work depend on this task? Who has to be kept updated about the progress?

Gather your team and inform them of the new rule that both teams must communicate directly and not through you.

You want to be in the loop but not bear the responsibility of passing messages and requests between teams or agencies.

Create a spreadsheet with three columns: Upper Funnel, Mid-Funnel, and Lower Funnel.

Add rows for SEO, PPC, and Shared, then enter priorities for each for every stage of the funnel.

For example, Upper Funnel SEO priorities might be organic search ranking, organic impressions, and keyword coverage, while the PPC priority is ad impressions, and the shared priority is search volume. Base these on your conversion goals, competition, brand awareness, and internal resources.

Allocate more resources to the biggest opportunities.

For example, if your competition has a huge head start in SEO, you may need to shift more budget to PPC to gain a foothold until your SEO strategies generate enough traffic and conversions to reallocate PPC budget.

Use a single tool to measure conversion and performance data for both teams.

For example, we’ve had clients report SEO metrics from Adobe Analytics while PPC metrics came from Google Analytics. We ended up migrating Google Ads reporting to Adobe Analytics for consistent data across channels.

Define your goals and brainstorm KPIs and note those unique to both teams and those common to both teams.

Add a Goals column to your spreadsheet and set KPIs for SEO, PPC, and shared team goals. Create a Venn diagram to illustrate the various goals for your teams.

Select an attribution model to attribute value to each marketing channel.

Unless you have a compelling reason and enough data to customize your model, a simple U-shaped model works fine in most cases.

Don’t just look at aggregate performance by channel. Look at contributions to your goals by audience segment, device type, campaign type, and any other variable that might offer insights.

Ensure your teams share test plans in advance, so they can look for overlaps in their work.

Potential overlaps include test hypotheses and testing tools, test audiences or segments in your control vs. experiment groups, website elements, content and/or pages on the site that may be added, changed or removed, and updates to the conversion funnel, such as CTAs at various stages of the journey.