Search practitioners too often get caught up in the day-to-day optimization and don’t pay enough attention to the bigger picture. Keyword sweeps, bid/budget tweaks, and ad/audience refreshes can chew up the calendar, resulting in less time auditing the big questions that connect back to overall business objectives. If you only evaluate strategy when performance tanks, it’s high time for a little reprioritization. Just as you schedule campaigns, creating a cadence to evaluate channel strategies is vital to improving paid search results.

Let’s examine three areas of focus that are ripe for routine, scheduled maintenance.

1. Assessing paid vs. organic strategy

Cadence: Bi-annually

Questions to solve:

  • What is the true value of a brand campaign for our business?
  • Should we be running brand campaigns?

If paid and organic programs are not intertwined, change that immediately. It’s essential that these are managed as integrated as possible in the marketing mix. Unfortunately for many organizations, SEO and Paid Search channels, data, and teams operate in silos and aren’t considered congruently. The PPC team bids on brand terms and adjusts budgets and bids based on performance to scale the already stellar conversion rates while the SEO team complains about the decline in traffic and conversions. Sound familiar?

There are many reasons for executing and maintaining a paid search brand campaign: competition, promotional highlights, messaging control, expanded SERP real estate, audience building, etc. And for every brand campaign advocate, there’s a protester questioning what if brand terms organically rank high and competition is low? There’s no quick answer, but investing time and energy into testing theories will open a longer-term path to quantify how an ad placed where organic dominates decreases or increases your ability to convert. Testing organic lift with, and without, paid brand efforts can lead to additional and more granular parameters. […]

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