SEO Skills that Translate to Paid Search

    August 30, 2006

Sometimes it may seem that natural search engine optimization (SEO) and paid search marketing are two entirely different animals.

There is a technical aspect of SEO that does not translate to paid search and a “media” aspect to paid search that doesn’t often sit well with SEOs.

So where do the two meet?

It may be surprising to some, but SEOs possess some key skills that translate very well in the paid search arena. Whether the focus is technical SEO (e.g., coding, automated feeds, dynamic URL solutions, etc.) or nontechnical SEO (e.g., wordsmithing), it’s generally not a huge leap to move from SEO to paid search (and back again).

Here are a few skills that both paid and organic search marketers can leverage.

Keyword list development: Nearly every search marketing campaign (regardless of whether its PPC or SEO) starts off with a keyword list. We all have our various tools and tecniques for developing this list, but the bottom line is we know how to pull a list together – whether we’re paying for ads or optimizing someone’s web site for their most desirable keywords.

Optimized titles and descriptions: A core component of natural search engine optimization is optimizing page titles and description tags. In fact, SEOs may have an advantage over traditional copywriters when it comes to developing paid search ads because we are accustomed to building the title and description around the relevancy of the keyword in question. Google and Yahoo both evaluate paid search ads for relevancy (e.g., to encourage advertisers to bid on terms that are actually relevant to their product, rather than bid on terms simply because they get a lot of search queries.)

Competitive analysis: Part of an SEO’s job is to analyze the positioning of their clients’ competitors in the search results of the top engines for a given keyword. Putting a competitive positioning report together for paid search results is not that different from putting the same type of report together for organic listings. SEOs may even have a head start over more traditional marketers in that they are accustomed to running queries in various ways based on search popularity, plus they likely have some tools or tricks up their sleeve to help with an overall competitive review.

A thorough understanding of search: SEOs inherently understand what is important to search engines and (at least most of us) possess a deep empathy for the search engines’ desire to provide relevant results even for paid search results. Traditional media buyers may be baffled when ads are rejected by editorial teams due to lack of relevance (after all, they are PAYING for the ad), but SEOs understand how important it is to keep relevancy consistent from the keyword to the ad copy to the landing page.

Coming soon – how paid search skills translate to SEO.


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Michael Pedone is the President / CEO of, a search engine optimization and website marketing company <> located in Clearwater, Florida that specializes in getting targeted, eager-to-buy traffic to your site. You can catch him blogging at: <>.