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AdWords & SEO - Part 2 - data insights and mutual benefits

Mutual benefit of data insights

All data you get on your organic rankings and your organic visitors could be used to inform and enhance your paid search engine advertising - and vice versa.

Prior to a click on a link to your website is a user intent expressed in a search query, and followed by it is a behaviour performed on your website. What you as a search marketer is interested in, is that relation (how people who searched for something behaved; of course you can add multiple layers/segments to that).

And it should not matter if the click in between was been on an organic or paid link.
Instead, merge those visitor groups into one if possible in order to get more data and be able to segment more deeply without loosing statistical confidence.


At the heart of digital marketing and analytics lies segmentation. It´s all about “the right message at the right moment to the right person” (at the right price, of course).

And in that respect SEO if no different from any other marketing channel. Just because it´s harder to choose and manipulate that form of traffic, or calculate the cost of acquiring it, doesn´t mean you shouldn´t do that.

Organic input to AdWords


Unless you have´nt done some terrible mistakes that have made Google not showing your website in its organic results at all (such as prohibiting it from being crawled and indexed, not having any by robots readable content, or being penalized because of participation in link schemes) - you will be able to get statistics for a range of dimensions and metrics based on your visits through organic clicks (in Analytics). And in Webmaster Tools you can also see how often a link to yur website is shown in the organic results, as well as how often it was subsequentally clicked on.


This will give you a lot on input for your AdWords advertising, here are just a few examples:


Keyword (queries) ideas

Is my website showing for search queries that I didn´t think of and didn´t add as keyword in AdWords? Maybe even queries with a nice conversion rate? Check both Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools for that data.


Conversion rate (values etc)

If you don´t have enough stats to be able to judge the effectiveness, cost per conversion and retutn on ad spend of some keywords in AdWords, you can draw upon data in Analytics for the same query (not to be confused with keyword) to predict your AdWords conversion rate. And based upon that you might be able to get enogh data to increase or lower your bids without having to wait for more AdWords-data (of course this has gotten much more difficult since all organic traffic from Google is encrypted and shown  in Analytics as “not provided”).



Use the audience report in Analytics to target audiences in the display network. This report doesn´t only show organic visitors (unless you use advanced segments to do just that), but you need a lot of data, unique visitors, to get reliable audience numbers, so the more visitors you can include the better.

Analytics doesn´t say how many you need for it to be reliable, or with what confidence interval, but if you have website with small visitor volumes, you should probably not use it at all.

Otherwise, however, you can use that data for better targeting on the display network with AdWords, where you have the possibility to target people based on their interests, gender and age.

AdWords input to organic (SEO)

I often get asked but clients whether they should “do” SEO or AdWords or both, and in which case: with which they should start. I´ll discuss this question further below, but presupposing that you decide to do SEO, it´s a great idea to start with AdWords anyway, because you have lots of data in your account. And if you don´t, you can aquire it rapidly, and in great detail, as you  are able to steer and segment your advertising in many ways.

So, you can save a lot of time and resources for SEO in the long run by spending some time and money on AdWords first, just because in AdWords you´ll get almost exactly what you want and you can get it fast.


Thus, before you start building pages that are supposed to, but you have know idea if they will, a) get high ranking positions, AND b) nice conversion rates - run a few tests with AdWords, send them some traffic and find out if they really do convert. Because if they don´t - you spent all that time waiting for them to climbing the ranking ladder, just to find out they wouldn´t bring you any customers. What a waste of time and money!


Here are a few examples of how you can use AdWords tools and data in benefit your search engine optimization:


Keywords / Search Queries

Search marketing seem to be all about keywords - but it´s not, and have never really been.
And since the advancement of semantic search, and the Google algorithm change called Hummingbird, you really should try even more to resist the temptation of focusing only on (key)words when letting AdWords data have bearing on your search engine optimization.

Keyword-stuffing is an obsolete game, and just like a modern Internetmarketer focuses on conversions rather than ranking and visits, she also focuses on search queries and intent rather than keywords when it comes to search.

If you are selling bath tubs in Birmingham, someone who searces for “how to clean my bath tub” is probably not a potential customer, whereas someone searching for “cheap bath tubs in Birmingham” is. It´s probably just a waste of resources to try to rank high for a search query like “bath tubs” for you.

Instead you should aim for the, often low-hanging, fruit of long-tail queries like the latter, and you should do that by producing content that answers to a users question or wishes, rather than aims at #1 position in Google for broad, high volume queries.
And unless you have all keywords in exact match, you can probably find a lot of long-tail, intent-rich, queries in your search term report. https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/2472708


Ad text

Because you have used multiple ads in your ad groups, you have a good picture of what titles and descriptions increase click-through-rates for ads, and you can use that to write description and title (metatags ) for your webpage to increase CTR for your links the in the organic result page.



It´s been the preference of SEO:s for many years to start their keyword research within the AdWords Keyword Tool. It´s a great idea, unless you have enough data in you AdWords account that, which (if your handling it professionally) usually has much more valuable data (of costs, conversions etc) and is more detailed also when it comes to queries.

Again, I need to warn you of focusing only on high volume, broad, single word, keywords. Look for user intent!

To choose or not choose

As said above, many times I´ve been asked by clients and prospects: should we do AdWords or SEO?

With all respect for limited resources, and without neglecting the need of focus, my answer will nevertheless be: the question is wrongly put - you don´t have to choose. There is no antagonism between the two.


Instead, start by asking:

- how can we find out if potential customers are searching for our products and services?

- or: searching for solutions to problems that we can help them with?

- at what cost can we expect to aquire them through search?

- how can we build a search marketing strategy that draw on data from both paid and organic in order to enhance both?


With this approach you will not only increase your traffic, but above all - your sales.

And if you´re a skilled AdWords user, managing a well-structured account with lots of data, you will have no problem using that data modify the content on your website as well as the content you add to other media, such as your Google Plus page, websites you´re guest blogging, your Twitter flow, and so forth, in order to optimize search engine ranking and the revenue and profitability based on that traffic.

about David Stockelberg

Self-taught webmarketer with a PhD in Intellectual history (focus on german philosophy and social sciences 1800-1900) Using AdWords since 7 years. Today working as an SEM-consultant. AdWords and Analytics Qualified.

Trevor_Stewart Top Contributor
January 2014

Many good comparisons, you are force to be reconed with! Enjoyed the post

Mini-CM Community Manager
February 2014

Thanks for posting this, David.

John Paul Google Employee
February 2014

+David_Precisera Thank you for posting a great perspective of AdWords and SEO!