I'm a partner in the advanced analytics group at Bain & Company, the global management consulting firm. My primary focus is on marketing analytics (bio). I've been writing here (views my own) about marketing, technology, e-business, and analytics since 2003 (blog name explained).

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March 15, 2012

Question for Search Marketing / Digital Content Experts #SEO #SEM #CPC @seomoz

As I understand Google SEM CPC pricing, Google considers not only how much the marketer is willing to pay, but also the quality of results, in determining what price puts you in what slot.

So, to a certain degree, your SEO efforts influence your SEM cost.

SEO these days is about:

  • relevant content
  • relevant links to that content from authoritative sites
  • social relevance of the content
  • content freshness
  • other stuff, like site speed

These things have readily measurable attributes:

  • organic search results position
  • PageRank
  • followers / likes / retweets etc.
  • feed update frequency
  • response time

So logically, one question you might as a search marketer ask yourself is whether you're globally optimized across your SEO and SEM investments.  Should your next dollar go to pay for a click, or to develop and promote and present content that will rise higher directly, and indirectly lower your SEM CPC?  This is not an academic question, as collectively SEM and SEO are today big, front-and-center elements of many firms' marketing efforts.

One way to answer this question is to build a model that, for a range of keywords, predicts CPC (as a dependent variable) from different values of the measurable attributes of SEO mentioned above, and perhaps others.

I'm curious about whether anyone's seen or done analysis like this?  My quick search on "Optimizing SEO vs. SEM" yielded this interesting SEOMoz result": http://www.seomoz.org/blog/the-disconnect-in-ppc-vs-seo-spending .  I think this great article misses however that most of the leverage in SEO comes not from the narrow definition of the term but from developing and promoting great content.


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