Over much of the history of web commerce, search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click advertising (PPC) were considered two nearly mutual branches of digital marketing. Very loosely defined, SEO was perceived more as a function of web development and design, and PPC was a direct digital outgrowth of traditional advertising. For that reason, many companies hired different contractors or staff to handle each. But as digital marketing has progressed in more recent years, the lines of separation between SEO and PPC have slowly dissolved.
SEO and PPC are more interdependent than ever before. Retaining two different agencies for each doesn’t make as much business sense as it used to.
A basic search on Google bears this reality out. A search result page typically features a mix of both “organic,” SEO-powered results and paid advertisements near the top of the page. Just as the results themselves now occupy a single browser page, there’s every reason to believe SEO and PPC will continue to feed into each other for the foreseeable future—all the more reason that for any company or business, one agency should be employed to handle both.
Social media has blurred the lines
Google and its AdWords arm have dominated online advertising since nearly the get-go, to the point where it’s almost synonymous with PPC. With paid ads appearing on in targeted searches, Google mixed in elements of SEO in paid advertisements to the extent that they’re both considered plants of search marketing.
The rapid rise of social media marketing only continued to blur the lines. PPC strategy now covers paid social advertising as well as search, thanks to the heavy business presence on sites like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. The different schools of digital marketing thought—SEO, PPC, content, and social marketing—now feed into and bolster each other.
SEO experts must have a baseline competency in understanding PPC and social media and vice versa. Now that all categories inform each other, they’re all considered part of digital marketing. Which is why it makes sense to have all these efforts coordinated under the same roof.
Separate entities are now (almost) one
SEO and PPC are still different enough that they each merit separate conversations. SEO’s organic quality will always drive customer awareness in natural, discovery-oriented ways; PPC will always be about fine-tuning your focus on visibility and traditional principles of advertising. But they’re no longer in camps so separated that they must be administered by entirely different agencies. Businesses regularly employ them both, along with social and content marketing strategies as well.
Having one agency to represent both SEO and PPC efforts increases the overall sense of unification around your company’s marketing campaigns. Doing so also reduces the conflict and tension between competing agencies working for the same goal. It also makes it a whole lot easier for your staff to coordinate efforts, by being able to communicate with both SEO and PPC staff by contacting the same place.
Depending on the rhythm of business, sometimes you may need to prioritize SEO efforts over PPC for certain campaigns; other times you’d rely more heavily on the PPC side. But especially since the two approaches are more closely intertwined and likely to become even more enmeshed in the future, it’s more than acceptable to have them both covered by the same digital marketing company. Eventually, it may even become necessary.