The Difference Between “Cross-Channel” and “One Channel” Search Marketing

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What unites us, is much greater than what divides us – A Recent Pope, JFK, Me

It’s One Channel; You Should Have One Strategy

At this point you’ve heard it before: there are numerous benefits to cohesive search strategies across your SEO and SEM efforts. Whether that means connecting teams, agency partners, individuals or all the above, it’s clear combining search strategies can help you set a strong foundation for cross-channel success.

But we at Uproer are here to suggest that, even if you’ve taken the step to connect your search channel strategies, you are missing out on meaningful performance and efficiency by thinking of SEO and SEM as separate channels in the first place. This goes beyond just semantics and gets to the core of how businesses think about their digital efforts, which can create a feedback loop of higher spends that inflates the digital marketing industry bubble, and it doesn’t center the most important goal you should have: incremental and efficient performance over the long-term.

There are, of course, reasons why SEO and SEM have traditionally been siloed as separate channels. The work is different. The budgets are different. But there is more overlap than you’d think. We would argue they are inextricably linked. 

In our opinion, paid search performance should only be evaluated based on the incremental lift it provides compared to organic search alone - and we should always frame organic search performance against the total potential impression share with paid results included. 

Because it’s one channel. There’s one search bar. SEM and SEO are tactics in a broader search strategy, and we should care about how each of these tactics helps us improve performance from search overall. 

So Why Is Search Siloed?

There are those who benefit from separating these two channels. These include agencies and marketers who are able to justify higher retainers and budgets with more line items and team members. But there is another entity you might have heard of that benefits from keeping your search teams separate: Google.

We are not saying that Google intentionally tries to silo SEO and SEM as separate channels, but they kind of do. What’s clear is that when search marketers think of search holistically rather than as two channels, more investment flows into long-term organic efforts than it would otherwise. Overall ad spend decreases as true incremental lift from organic grows over time. That means less money spent in Google Ads.

Your Dedicated Search Team

We at Uproer are trying to efficiently drive meaningful site actions through search engine traffic. The more we’ve worked and learned about the industry, the more we are convinced the best way to do that is with a truly unified “Search” team.

That means we treat search as one channel, because not every company needs the same strategy. Not every company needs to run ads and focus on SEO content - there are cases when prioritizing paid makes sense, and there are cases when organic search should be the focus. The right mix depends on your goals and your industry. A successful search strategy should identify that optimal level of paid and organic investment. 

One trend we are seeing consistently is that niche, high-value B2B keywords are becoming increasingly competitive and expensive from the paid side, and thus ever-increasingly showing higher returns from significant and steady SEO investment.

We believe the companies that win on search in the next half-decade are going to be the ones who take this holistic view. They’re going to be the ones to focus on efficient, long-run performance, with the data and insights to describe the incremental value of search as a single, unified channel.

Who Benefits from a Holistic Strategy

There are instances where, at a minimum, what is gained by a cohesive strategy are the benefits you are probably already aware of:

  • Keyword optimized pages and products help with relevancy in paid campaigns and help to optimize product feeds at scale
  • The deeper brand and product understanding that comes from writing SEO content helps SEM efforts to be increasingly niche and specific.
  • There are numerous overlapping best practices such as page load speed, CRO optimization, accessibility considerations, etc. that are best tackled by one team at once than disparate teams to save time and retainer fees.
  • Having a centralized reporting solution helps to focus on true bottom-line considerations and saves meeting time.

But the benefit of a single-channel approach is to understand the investment that leads to incremental value and efficient bottom-line performance.

An Uproer Strategy

Uproer works to achieve that efficiency for our clients. We take an always-on optimization approach that tries to find your ideal mix of paid and organic investment. 

We also structure our engagements to avoid added costs. We take a practical approach to partnerships. There’s no unnecessary bloat. You won’t have to deal with added bureaucracy or games of telephone. Our search strategists will be your main point of contact, working with you to dream-up and execute your search strategy to really focus on meaningful, long-term impact.

This might not work for every business, but we are the perfect fit for companies on the rise or going through a restructure. We want to help you set a strong foundation to drive real, tangible results as a trusted partner.

If you are interested in talking to us about our approach, shoot us a note!

John Smith

John Smith

John is a Paid Media Manager at Uproer, where he works to build paid search strategies for clients in the e-commerce and SaaS spaces. He's drawn to the ideas, channels, tactics, and emerging trends that tackle big issues in marketing. And he approaches SEM with a focus on data privacy, incrementality, and social impact. When he's not knee-deep in a spreadsheet, John volunteers with local climate organizations and helps spread their message through search.

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Sr. Manager, SEO & Operations

Dave Sewich

Dave made an accidental foray into digital marketing after graduating from the University of Minnesota Duluth and hasn’t looked back. Having spent the first part of his marketing journey brand-side, he now works with the Uproer team to help clients realize their goals through the lens of search.

When not at work, you’ll find Dave staying active and living a healthy lifestyle, listening to podcasts, and enjoying live music. A Minnesotan born and raised, his favorite sport is hockey and he still finds time to skate once in a while.

Dave’s DiSC style is C. He enjoys getting things done deliberately and systematically without sacrificing speed and efficiency. When it comes to evaluating new ideas and plans, he prefers to take a logical approach, always sprinkling on a bit of healthy skepticism for good measure. At work, Dave’s happiest when he has a chance to dive deep into a single project for hours at a time. He loves contributing to Uproer and being a part of a supportive team but is most productive when working solo.

Founder & CEO

Griffin Roer

Griffin discovered SEO in 2012 during a self-taught web development course and hasn’t looked back. After years of working as an SEO consultant to some of the country’s largest retail and tech brands, Griffin pursued his entrepreneurial calling of starting an agency in May of 2017.

Outside of work, Griffin enjoys going to concerts and spending time with his wife, two kids, and four pets.

Griffin’s DiSC style is D. He’s driven to set and achieve goals quickly, which helps explain why he’s built his career in the fast-paced agency business. Griffin’s most valuable contributions to the workplace include his motivation to make progress, his tendency towards bold action, and his willingness to challenge assumptions.