One Hydra is a new integrated SEO and PPC platform aimed at the world’s largest companies. We have been working with Hydra for what seems an age as they develop their platform integrating Majestic’s data. We are excited to announce our strategic partnership with Hydra. I asked Hydra’s Becky Hayward to tell us about Hydra and what is behind it.
Why an Integrated Approach to Search Makes Sense
A number of agencies offering search engine optimisation (SEO ) and pay per click (PPC) services often propose integrated approaches to implementing their campaigns. Nevertheless, this is rarely transferred from proposal into practice. With this in mind, we at Hydra asked our agency partners to engage in a series of tests facilitated by One, our integrated search technology platform, to define whether managing SEO and PPC jointly had any effect in overall agency performance. Here we share the most positive benefits based on the results:
Defining ‘sweet spots’ between PPC and SEO for integrated brand efforts
Being able to compare click-through rate (CTR) on brand terms from SEO and PPC together across clients with diverse search engine results pages (SERPs) arrangements (from ‘not present in organic listings at all’ to ‘most Top 10 SERPs results are captured by the brand assets’) and spot trends from this exercise, means agencies can define a ‘sweet spot’ between PPC and SEO for integrated brand efforts. This creates significant PPC budget efficiencies for those clients that have a good presence in organic search.
Budget Optimisation – campaign managers can make assumptions for future campaign planning
The ability to compare and contrast the effect one channel has over the other when both are active for a specific set of keywords, allows campaign managers to make assumptions for future campaign planning. One of the most interesting findings relates to paired messaging. When two distinct audience groups are targeted, the ability to show a different message to each audience group through two different channels increases the number of clicks and conversions from complementary campaigns. Interestingly, searchers ‘listen’ to the message that most appeals to them as they consume search as one channel.
By being able to analyse click-through rate (CTR) and cost-per-acquisition (CPA), PPC and SEO campaign managers are able to make a joint decision to define which channel should carry what message. This, in turn, enables them to reach a lower blended CPA through collaboration.
Pinpoint the most optimal way to split and coordinate keyword phrases across channels, revealing new keyword conversion opportunities
A joint keyword strategy enables campaign managers to allocate efforts into the areas where their respective channels add the most value. An example of this is to use regularly generated SEO content to achieve long-tail performance while bidding on head keywords for which a site was not powerful enough to perform on its own.
Joint CTR analysis also reveals new keyword opportunities to add to the existing set or to replace existing keywords for which conversion is not as good.
Link data improves relevance, and through this credibility
By providing a link profile, (Hydra’s One Platform uses Majestic’s Fresh Index,) the millions of potential keywords can be associated to individual pages within the customer’s website looking for best fit based on Relevance. As customers interact with SEO information, a significant part of understanding the opportunity for improvement and current optimisation relates back to the link profile of the pages. Hydra’s technology enables its customer to drill down from keywords, or groups of keywords to see the impact of links on driving Credibility for these areas, allowing for decisions to be made on where to focus effort and activity.
Conflict Identification & Resolution
Collaboration through a joint keyword set simplifies the identification and evaluation of sudden drops in performance. When reviewed in the broader context of OneSearch, campaign managers are able to assess whether decreased performance is due to specific changes implemented at campaign level (pages or messaging), to wider technical issues concerning the whole site, or to seasonal fluctuations experienced by the whole sector. Campaign managers are also able to isolate conflicts when SEO and PPC are deployed simultaneously for a brand, and prevent potential cannibalisation of keywords between channels.
Improve overall performance with a cohesive strategy – making for a better quality score (QS) and better optimised search budget
Page relevance to a keyword or phrase is crucial for performance across both, PPC and SEO. Nevertheless, shared learning on this subject rarely takes place. Being able to assign PPC terms to the pages having the highest relevance score in SEO helped PPC campaign managers improve quality score. An analysis on CTR and conversions derived from those pages once the click was acquired, can then be fed back to the SEO managers to be able to improve content and overall page relevance on a keyword for those pages that did not perform as well in PPC.
Integrated reporting saves time without sacrificing accuracy
Centralising the location of PPC and SEO data enables the selection of metrics that are of relevance to the client when creating reports while saving time without sacrificing accuracy. More importantly, easy access to data from both channels in one interface allows account managers to spot correlations between campaigns and bring additional value to meetings with the client.
Improved Forecasting Accuracy – improving overall operational margin
It is often the case that marketing forecasts are done on a channel by channel basis without factoring in the potential influence one channel will have over another. Accuracy of these forecasts is compromised by omitting or ignoring this relationship.
We asked our agency partners to use Hydra’s One Platform and the integrated information it provided to formulate such forecasts and test for their accuracy. Being able to factor in the impact of improvements of performance in SEO onto PPC click-through rates (among other conversion metrics) and vice versa not only gave them more accurate predictions but also allowed them to plan resources – particularly related to head count demanded to service a client account – which improved overall operational margin.
By creating a cross-channel competitor list, campaign managers can identify who the true leaders in their industry are and also discover their weaknesses. This information is particularly useful in devising strategies that will outperform a specific competitor since they may be strong in one channel but market share can be captured from another channel.
Collaboration between PPC and SEO helps agencies devise the best strategy to reach a client’s business goals
In some cases, it may involve only SEO, in others PPC. It is quite likely however, that reaching a goal will require the right balance between the two. Allowing PPC and SEO managers to jointly derive a strategy based on integrated data improves overall performance and creates significant efficiencies in campaign management for the agency. The margins on a client-by-client basis are also improved, while clients are reported to perceive greater value from the services provided.
The Butterfly Effect
Users experience search as one channel. The ability to dominate this experience is crucial in increasing the number of clicks into a client’s site. Occupying Page 1 through PPC and SEO results is the clearest way to achieve this. Understanding the way in which these two channels interact and how they are perceived as a joint entity by potential consumers significantly increases the probability of having a user select a client result. Little improvements in performance across both channels derived from a cohesive OneSearch strategy can fundamentally alter the return for the client.
Read more about Hydra’s OneSearch on their site.