Advertisers often discuss paid search and search engine optimization as different entities, or even different online worlds, with their own unique strategies. But you can’t deny that together, both SEO and PPC make up the framework for most businesses’ digital marketing strategies.

There are many ways a PPC expert can leverage SEO and PPC efforts to help each other. But to create any effective digital strategy, you must begin by understanding both components. The following questions will help you, as a paid search expert, take advantage of the knowledge and information that SEO can provide to help you reach your PPC-specific goals.

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Paid search specialists and SEOs: It doesn’t have to be this way. Image via pexels

1. What are your 20 top performing SEO keywords?

SEO keywords are the key words and phrases in your web content that make it possible for people to find your site via search engines. The sole focus for SEO keyword targeting is to increase your website rankings, thereby increasing organic traffic. Your top 20 SEO keywords can provide suggestions for long tail keywords that you can leverage in your PPC keyword strategy.

2. What are 10-20 keywords for which you do not rank highly, but that you still consider high value?

It can take a very long time for SEO efforts to produce positive changes in organic rankings. Trying to enter into a new keyword space, increase rankings for new websites, or compete for space on SERPs for your top, core keywords can be very slow going. Paid search holds an advantage in that you can receive instant traffic to your web page, target new keyword sets, or start driving traffic to a new website within a day. Therefore, you can use paid search to give your business immediate presence in front of your desired audience.

3. Can you lay out what changes or trends you have seen in your SEO efforts year-over-year?

Much like you analyze paid search trends across devices, keyword sets, campaigns and even industries, understanding SEO trends can provide insight into your PPC performance or suggest future strategies to implement. Consider addressing both the negative and positive changes you have seen in the following areas:

  • Have there been any notable changes in your keyword targeting and focus?
  • Have there been any major changes in ranking for important or valued keywords?
  • What keyword areas or new initiatives are you currently focusing on?

4. What have your competitors done that’s worked/not worked in your space?

Similar to the ways you perform analyses on competitors’ landing pages and keywords, and even bid on your competitors’ brand names, your SEO strategy can help shed some light on what the competition is doing. This information can produce new keyword opportunities that you may not have considered before.

5. What has been the largest challenge that you’ve faced in your SEO efforts?

You spend a lot of time analyzing what is impacting PPC performance, whether it be new competitive pressures, changes to the marketplace, or ways people are searching for your product. Consider what challenges you have faced in your SEO efforts, and how these trends could impact paid search, or paid search can mitigate these challenges.

6. Have you experienced a change in volume or performance since Google removed ads from the right-hand side of the SERP?

This is a more recent change that Google implemented in February, but see if there is any preliminary data yet on impacts on SEO performance or volume. Because the introduction of another paid ad above the organic listings can push organic results down the page, you should expect changes in both organic and paid impression and click traffic.

7. How does your strategy differ for mobile searches? Can you also provide information regarding questions 1-4 on mobile?

Increasing search volume on mobile devices is one of the most important changes in search volume for 2015 and 2016. Much as the shift to mobile is impacting paid search conversion rates and changing the path to conversion, SEO and mobile-optimized organic content are feeling similar shifts. Make sure you have a mobile strategy for SEO, and ensure that your website is optimized for mobile search.

All of these questions demonstrate the importance of understanding SEO and encouraging synergy between paid search and SEO strategy. Use the valuable learnings and resources you gain from these conversations to improve the sophistication and reach of your PPC efforts. Happy searching!