February 18, 2020


Combining SEO and SEM For Maximum ROI: The One Search Approach

The "One Search" Approach

We believe search should be treated as a holistic channel as opposed to two distinct disciplines (SEM and SEO). By approaching search this way, we are able to drive incremental traffic and improve conversion results for clients. The goal of the One Search approach is to find efficiencies by closing organic gaps within the most important keyword themes which increases organic traffic as well as the performance of other media channels (e.g. higher quality scores, lower CPC and CPA, larger remarketing lists, etc.). Adopting this approach requires a commitment to applying a comprehensive content strategy and scalable, actionable recommendations that drive paid media efficiencies and overall savings for our clients.

The "One Search" Approach In Action


The client’s organic search traffic was healthy and growing year-over-year, but the quality of the traffic was low, and users were not converting at the desired rate. After performing a detailed audit and competitive analysis, Catalyst identified an opportunity to grow traffic by improving landing pages targeting specific locations..


Using keyword data from paid search, we identified the top themes common among converting users. We then selected the most common questions that users were asking in search about these themes. Catalyst created twelve pieces of unique, longform content that addressed all of these questions.

Results from Canadian Client using "One Search" Approach

The highlighted case shows one instance where combining SEM and SEO strategies has produced favourable outcomes, but the reality is there are a number of ways the "One Search" approach can produce favourable outcomes:

  1. Potential for more clicks: If a brand appears in both organic and search results, the brand attracts 92% of total clicks (as opposed to 60% of clicks for organic searches.)
  2. Get seen twice: for brands that want to maximize share of the Search Engine Results Page, appearing in both organic and paid results increases credibility and SOV.
  3. Find out what's already working: Historic SEM keyword data informs keyword and content strategy for SEO.
  4. Fill in the gaps: SEO takes a long time to yield results. If specific keywords are not ranking well organically, you can use SEM to make up for potential losses in traffic.
  5. Raise the playing field: Improving organic SEO pillars such as on page content, architecture, mobile friendliness, site speed, etc. also impacts quality scores for paid ads, resulting in lower CPCs and higher CTRs.

Through unique ways of working like the "One Search" approach as well as proprietary GroupM technologies such as "Search Fusion," Catalyst has been able to pioneer the way our clients approach their digital presence in both organic and paid search.