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How to Avoid Keyword Cannibalisation Between PPC & SEO Campaigns | Hitsearch



It can be tempting, and in some cases makes good business sense, for some brands to spend on PPC keywords that you’re already ranking for organically, to help protect your position in an ever-diminishing organic SERP space. However, does this mean you are robbing Peter to pay Paul? Are you paying for traffic through PPC that you would mainly be getting organically otherwise without being charged per click? Does having a paid and organic combination mean that you’re getting a bigger chunk of the available traffic or are you essentially competing against yourself for a finite number of visitors and potential customers and paying both for PPC and for organic activity (in time if nothing else) when you could be saving your budget for other areas instead?

A Google study in 2011 indicated, perhaps unsurprisingly, given how the search engine makes a vast proportion of its revenue, that paid ads deliver around 89% MORE traffic than organic would if there were no ads running. However, many businesses do find that cannibalisation can be an issue and they feel like they end up paying twice for driving a similar amount of traffic in some cases.

This blog aims to help you spot where cannibalisation between SEO and PPC is happening and what you can do to optimise either or both strategies to minimise it, potentially freeing up more of your budget to use elsewhere, where it can deliver more impactful results for your business.

Diagnosing cannibalisation between PPC & SEO

It’s common for PPC and SEO to work almost separately for many businesses. Often managed by different people, teams or even different agencies. These two channels are often seen as totally separate and apart from perhaps some overlap in keyword research for initial campaign setup, they are not always part of a joined up strategy.

To start tackling cannibalisation, firstly you need to find out if and where it is happening for your online presence.

This has been made more difficult since Google introduced its “not provided” keyword category into its analytics platform. You can no longer see reliable data relating to specific keywords that bring people to your website organically, but by using Google Search Console (GCS), you can find out which keywords are visible in the SERPs, and see their average ranking position. keyword cannibalisation 1

Use GSC to find out which keywords your web pages are ranking for organically (within the top three positions ideally) and cross check this against the keywords that you’re running PPC campaigns with. This will give you a place to start testing for cannibalisation.

Testing the value of specific keywords

If PPC is bringing in a good proportion of your traffic and revenue, suddenly pausing several campaigns to test the impact this has on your organic traffic is NOT advised.

A test is needed, but the risk of this test losing your business any revenue needs to be mitigated by ensuring the process is carried out strategically, in a way that gives you robust data, whilst balancing this with speed, to minimise any losses.

The below method involves testing single keywords individually, so isn’t an approach that will work if you suspect significant cannibalisation is happening with a large number of keywords.

  1. If you rank in position 1-3 organically for a search term (steadily over time – using keywords that fluctuate a lot won’t provide useful data) which is also included in your PPC activity, you can benchmark the organic and paid traffic site-wide (and any resulting conversions and revenue) over the course of seven full days. Choose a week that isn’t of any specific importance seasonally to help make sure your data isn’t skewed by this.
  2. Next, add that keyword as an exact match negative to your paid search account for another seven days.
  3. If you want to gain another week of data for both channels again, to make sure it is similar to the first week, try removing the negative keyword from PPC again for another seven days.
  4. Compare the organic-only traffic during the second week to the organic traffic during the first week (and third, if applicable), which ran alongside PPC. Are there any differences?
  5. Also compare the conversion rates and revenue/transactions from both channels – does organic CVR increase when PPC is switched off?

This really simple test should flag up if paid is taking a significant portion of your organic visitors and whether the ROAS is making this PPC activity worthwhile for your business. You might find that PPC does take some organic traffic, but it converts at a higher rate and with a good ROAS, so you make more money running paid than you can from organic alone. In which case, great – keep going with both!

keyword cannibalisation 2

Digging further into your paid and organic data

If PPC traffic converts better and is giving you a good ROAS – it makes sense to continue with your paid activity as it’s clearly bringing benefit to your business. Where the organic traffic is converting poorly for that page (based on your site’s average CVR as a whole) you might want to look further into why that might be? Are they landing on the same page as your PPC visitors? If not, what is different about the PPC landing page? Are organic visitors perhaps at a different stage of the buyer journey and looking for something slightly different from you?

If your organic traffic converts better than paid, it’s worth digging into your PPC reports to see if there are times of the day, month or year where paid outperforms organic and you can tweak your campaigns to only appear then.

At the very least, testing the most important keywords for your business in this way will help you better understand the differences between the people visiting from either channel and their likelihood to convert.

What about brand bidding?

Most businesses, especially those with an established web presence or an unusual name, will organically rank in first place if someone searches for your brand. This may not be the case for new businesses or those with a generic industry term as a name, but we’ll assume that your business does. Is it still worth bidding on brand terms?

Yes, if others are bidding on your brand it is worth testing to see how much traffic you can drive that way and how valuable that traffic is to you conversion-wise.

Testing in a similar way, by turning off your brand PPC for a seven day period and comparing results, can help you to see the value of brand bidding for your business. Checking this fairly regularly is essential as your competitors may also fluctuate when they bid on your brand terms.

Don’t underestimate the value of attribution

Ultimately a click from search generally has higher intent than from most other channels. Taking brand keywords out of the equation for a second to think solely about generic keywords – how do you apportion value where you have a dual PPC/SEO listing? Does 1+1=3 or are you paying for conversions you would otherwise get for free?

There’s no easy answer. Not least due to “not provided”. Any attempts to unlock SEO keyword data are, at best, sampled and, at worst, modelled from a variety of disparate datasets. The testing we have covered will help you to get an idea of the bigger picture, but with organic search, the granular keyword data simply isn’t available.

This is where attribution comes in. Consider the overall value of your search presence using your chosen attribution model. What is your search ROI including all costs? How does that change if you pause your dual PPC keywords for a period of time as tested earlier? Does it increase or decrease your ROI? Does it increase or decrease your revenue? What is the incremental cost? These are all questions that should be asked regularly to ensure the best blend of organic vs. paid is used. On the other hand, how effective is your PPC messaging? Perhaps using a more direct/aggressive message will increase CTR, thereby reducing CPC and increasing conversions. What does the blended ROI of search look like in that scenario? Does this vary from month to month or at certain times of the year? What role does seasonality play in the mix?keyword cannibalisation 3

In short, there is no “optimal blend” in the sense we seek it. There is only optimal performance based on all the factors you have to deal with in any given month.

If you want help with your PPC or organic search strategy, get in touch with us to find out how we can help your business to drive more revenue.

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This unused Star Wars poster could have ruined everything



This unused Star Wars poster could have ruined everything

A recent unused poster design for 1977’s Star Wars has surfaced and reveals just when you think you’ve seen it all around this iconic movie, there’s always something new to talk about. Particularly as this rare and unused Star War movie poster art was so bad it could have ruined the franchise before it even launched.

The unused Star Wars poster from 1977 was posted on Twitter by film nerd’ account The Spaceshipper and many fans of the franchise were thankful it was never used. While some recent film posters, like new Ant-Man 3 posters that are a Photoshop nightmare, this rare Star Wars poster is bad on so many levels – it’s a graphic design fail, the slogan makes no sense and there’s little to engage with.

Star Wars film posters have been some of the best ever designed, from legendary artists such as the Hidlebrandt Brothers who painted the original 1977 poster that was used. Iconic poster artists have also designed for the franchise; the Drew Struzan Star Wars poster for The Force Awakens impresses and Hugh Flemming revealed all in our feature ‘the secrets of a top Star Wars artist’.

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How to Manage Your Online Brand?



You might be asking yourself, “Why do I need to manage my online brand?” It’s a valid question, especially if you’re not sure what managing your online brand means precisely.

In short, managing your online brand is the process of taking control of how others see you and your business online. This can involve creating and maintaining a strong presence on social media, developing positive reviews and testimonials, and monitoring your web analytics to track progress.

By taking the time to manage your online brand, you can improve your chances of success in today’s digital age.

In this article, we’ll explore some key reasons why managing your online brand is essential.

What is an online brand, and why do you need one?

Your online brand is the way you are perceived by others online. This includes your website, social media profiles, online reviews, and all other digital real estate that represents you when someone searches for you or your business.

It’s important to have one because it helps your potential customers get to know, trust, and like you before they buy anything from you. A strong online brand can also help you attract new customers and grow your business.

It’s good to remember that your online brand is the first thing people will see when they search for you, so it’s important to make sure it represents you and your business well.

How to manage your online brand for success?

Your online brand is your reputation. It’s how people perceive you when they see your name, read your work, or interact with you online.

A strong online brand can help you attract new clients, collaborators, and opportunities. But how do you create and manage your brand for success?

1) Consider what you want your online brand to convey.

Are you an expert in a certain field? A thought leader? A creative visionary?

Once you know what you want your brand to communicate, be consistent in everything you do online.

Use the same name, photo, and bio across all of your social media platforms. Post regularly about topics related to your brand, and make sure the tone of your posts is consistent with the image you’re trying to convey.

2) Interact with other people online in a way that reinforces your brand.

When someone mentions you in a post, thank them publicly. If someone leaves a negative comment on one of your posts, don’t delete it – instead, respond politely and professionally.

By managing your online brand thoughtfully and proactively, you can set yourself up for success both online and offline.

3) Monitor your web analytics to track your progress.

Use Google Analytics or another web analytics tool to track how people are finding you online and what they’re doing on your website. This data can give you insights into what’s working well and what needs improvement.

For example, if you see that most of your website visitors are coming from Facebook, you might want to focus on creating more engaging content for that platform.

Or, if you notice that people are spending a lot of time on your blog but not your sales page, you might need to work on driving traffic to your products or services.

4) Make sure your website represents your brand well.

Your website is often the first thing people will see when they search for you online, so it’s important to make sure it’s up-to-date and represents your brand well.

Update your website regularly with new blog posts, photos, and products. Use attractive visuals, easy-to-navigate menus, and clear calls to action.

If you’re not sure how to create a website that represents your brand well, consider working with a web designer or developer.

5) Pay attention to your social media presence.

Social media is a powerful tool for managing your online brand. Use it to connect with your audience, share your work, and promote your products or services.

Be sure to post regularly, interact with others, and use hashtags and keywords that will help people find you. You can also use social media ads to reach a wider audience or promote specific products or services.

6) Monitor your online reputation.

Use Google Alerts or another tool to monitor your online reputation. This will help you stay on top of what people are saying about you online and take action if necessary.

For example, if you see a negative review of your business, you can reach out to the customer directly to try to resolve the issue. Or, if you see someone spreading misinformation about your work, you can correct it.

7) Manage your online brand proactively.

The best way to manage your online brand is to be proactive. Be thoughtful about everything you do online, from the content you post to the way you interact with others. By taking control of your online presence, you can set yourself up for success both professionally and personally.

By following these tips, you can create and manage an online brand that will help you achieve your goals.

The benefits of having a strong online brand

Let’s look at a few benefits of having a strong online brand:

1) Stand out from the competition.

With so much noise online, it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd. But if you create a well-defined brand, you’ll be better able to cut through the clutter and attract attention.

2) Build trust and credibility.

A strong online brand can help you build trust and credibility with your audience. If people know what to expect from you, they’re more likely to trust and respect you.

3) Connect with your audience.

By definition, a brand is a way of differentiating yourself from others. But it’s also a way of connecting with your audience on a deeper level. When done well, branding can create an emotional connection between you and your audience.

4) Drive traffic and sales.

A strong online brand can help you drive traffic and sales. If people are familiar with your brand, they’re more likely to buy from you. And if they trust and respect you, they’re more likely to tell others about you.

5) Increase your visibility.

A well-managed online brand will increase your visibility online. When people search for you or your business, you’ll be more likely to show up in the search results. And when people see you frequently in their feeds, you’ll be more likely to stay top of mind.

6) Attract media attention.

A strong online brand can help you attract media attention. If you’re known for something specific, journalists and bloggers will be more likely to write about you. This can help increase your visibility and reach even further.

7) Enhance your career prospects.

Your online brand can have a big impact on your career prospects. If you’re looking for a new job, employers will likely research you online. And if you’re an entrepreneur, investors will want to know more about your brand before they invest in your business.

8) Make a positive impact.

Finally, a strong online brand can help you make a positive impact in the world. If you’re passionate about something, you can use your platform to raise awareness and advocate for change.

The importance of staying consistent with your branding strategy

As you can see, there are many benefits to having a strong online brand. But it’s not enough to just create a brand—you also need to be consistent with your branding strategy.

When it comes to branding, consistency is essential. Your audience needs to know what to expect from you, and they need to see that you’re consistent in your messaging and your visuals.

Here are a few pointers if you’re not sure how to stay consistent with your branding:

1) Define your brand.

The first step to being consistent with your branding is to define your brand. What do you want people to think of when they see your name or your logo? What do you want your brand to represent?

2) Create guidelines.

Once you’ve defined your brand, it’s time to create guidelines. These guidelines should include everything from your mission statement to the colors and fonts you use in your branding. By having a set of guidelines, you’ll be able to ensure that all of your marketing materials are on-brand.

3) Train your team.

If you have a virtual assistant or team, it’s important to train them on your branding guidelines. Make sure everyone knows what your brand represents and how they can help you maintain a consistent brand identity.

4) Monitor your brand.

Once you’ve launched your brand, it’s important to monitor it. This means paying attention to how people are reacting to your brand and making sure that you’re still presenting yourself in the way you want to be seen.

5) Be prepared to adjust.

Finally, be prepared to adjust your branding strategy as needed. As your business grows and changes, your branding will need to change with it. By being flexible and willing to adjust, you’ll be able to ensure that your brand is always relevant.

Wrap Up

A strong online brand is essential for any business or individual. By definition, your online brand is the way you’re perceived by others online. And while that may seem like a superficial thing, the reality is that your online brand can have a big impact on your business or career.

If you’re not sure how to create a strong online brand, start by defining your brand and creating guidelines. Then, train your team on your branding strategy and monitor your brand over time. And finally, be prepared to adjust as needed.

Oscar is a passionate full-time blogger and a part-time author. In his personal blog, he writes about software, online influence, and different business models.

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How SEO Works in Digital Marketing




Search engine optimization (SEO) is an integral part of digital marketing.

SEO helps with brand discoverability. When done right, SEO can create the most consistent and by far the highest-quality traffic source which doesn’t require on-going maintenance.

Yet, SEO is usually the most isolated part of the marketing. Whether it is an in-house team or a third-party service that’s delivering your SEO campaigns, it usually exists on its own without really communicating goals, progress or results to the whole company.

This creates silos that can lead to poor results and even reputation crises.

How does SEO work in digital marketing and how can a business make it work better?

What is SEO?

SEO is a collection of tactics (content, technical, link building, even website security and usability) that ensures that your website is easy to understand for search engines.

Basically, it ensures a machine knows that your page will be easy to find to a human being who is looking to solve a related problem.

Search engine traffic is one of the highest-quality traffic for many reasons:

  • Unlike PPC (paid) traffic, it doesn’t require an ongoing investment to keep coming
  • Unlike social media traffic,  it doesn’t require an ongoing work to keep coming
  • Unlike social media traffic, you are not interrupting people’s browsing. Instead you give them what they were actually searching for.

In other words, it is consistent and it converts well. No other digital marketing tactic beats that.

Apart from driving direct traffic, search engine optimization helps build brand awareness by increasing your brand’s organic findability.

Keep Your Whole Team Aware of Why SEO is Important

The great thing about today is that everyone understands the value of ranking high on Google! Sadly, however, many folks only know that they “need SEO” without having really understood what that means. 

SEO these days is too hard for a digital marketer to do alone. Many SEOs find themselves in situations where an executive will simply come down and go “Why are we not ranking well for ‘dingwobble’?” 

Keep working hard with teams for them to understand how they contribute to the SEO process:

  • Product Marketers who are responsible for the business, personas and messaging understand that SEO is critical to driving the bottom line revenue numbers they are looking at. Part of the persona developing process should be the development of the “digital persona” – what websites and search terms are these people looking for? This helps the product marketer when it comes time to develop messaging, as that is going to be critical for developing the content, so the right search terms better be there!
  • Field Marketers responsible for the campaigns need to know how SEO fits within their campaign, how it in fact is core to our demand generation, and how to make sure to keep the campaigns integrated.
  • Marketing Communications is creating the content, so SEO should very well be top of mind for them, as the content itself will be critical in impacting how successful SEO will be.
  • But that’s not all! Often, other groups are creating content (Press Releases, Blog Posts, Presentations, etc.) that also end up on the web and impact SEO. Whether it’s Corporate Communications, Investor Relations or even Legal teams, working with them is critical.
  • IT manages the infrastructure and can be very critical to the technical aspects of SEO.
  • Sales and customer support teams are at the forefront of marketing talking to your future and current customers, so they need to be involved in the SEO strategy. Creating relevant content goes beyond keywords. It needs to address real problems and answer actual people’s questions, and your client-facing teams will be your best source of inspiration here.  
  • Executives also care! While they can’t often influence the day-to-day of SEO, they will care a lot about the bottom line, to which SEO contributes.

Educating all of these people about SEO helps empower them, as well as position yourself, the SEO, as the subject matter expert who is not just someone back-office who gives very little visibility into the black box of SEO, but someone who is actively educating and contributing to the organization’s success.

Review and discuss common KPIs early and often to make sure everyone knows what victory looks like to the team.

Additionally, SEO should be a solid part of any project launch as it impacts every stage of product positioning. From choosing a business name to choosing a website builder, your initial efforts should be driven by SEO best practices.

What is the key to SEO success in a constantly changing environment?

As a practitioner of SEO, I believe that you need to look to ensure you are looking at both developing yourself in both depth and breadth of knowledge. A key danger in the name of being informed or being a part of the SEO community is spending all your time debating tactics and practices rather than testing them. 

Additionally, SEOs as with all employees need to look outside their field to stretch and learn how to be more well rounded. This could mean learning to code, or educating yourself in some other area of the business you work for.  This will expose you to ideas others may not have.

As a manager of people, success is really about diversity of expertise. Who you hire and the kind of people you hire will be far more valuable than much of what people invest in with regards to SEO programs. You have to have people who can roll with the punches and develop a skill for self-management and personal growth. 

Finally, I think knowing what your real goals are in having an SEO program are the key to long term success. The reality is you may get more traffic, but if that traffic is not from qualified leads and generates real revenue then the benefit may be very little. Having well defined goals and metrics will also help you avoid chasing algorithm changes and focus on the big picture.


SEO is the most essential long-term digital marketing strategy but to make it really effective, you need a knowledge team that is well-integrated into the company’s life. Good luck!

Ann Smarty

Ann Smarty is the brand NINJA at Internet Marketing Ninjas as well as the founder of numerous startups including MyBlogGuest, MyBlogU, ViralContentBee, TwChat and many more.

Ann Smarty has been an online marketing consultant for 10 years providing high-quality digital marketing consulting through her services and courses (both free and paid).

Ann Smarty’s content marketing ideas have been featured in NYtimes, Mashable, Entrepreneur, Search Engine Land and many more. She is known for her indepth tool reviews, innovative content marketing advice and actionable digital marketing ideas.

Source: Ann Smarty

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