Five insights your paid search team should be stealing from organic

Google Analytics recently added Search Console reports to help analyze incoming search traffic. Columnist and Googler Matt Lawson explains how you can use this change to improve your paid search performance.


Getting clicks is great, but it’s way more important to know what happens after you get those clicks. That’s why I was so excited last month when my employer, Google, announced a deeper integration between Search Console and Google Analytics (GA).

With these wonderful new reports, you can see how visitors reached your site, along with what they did once they got there.
Search Console reports in Google Analytics

It’s a big win for inbound marketers of all shapes and sizes. But I, alas, am not an inbound marketer. Paid search is my bread and butter. Not wanting to miss out on the data-joining goodness of this new set of reports, I want to go through the cool new things you can do with Search Console reports in GA, and how you can steal organic search insights and apply them to your paid search campaigns.

1. Find out what organic’s doing to drive lots and lots of traffic (even if it’s unengaged traffic)

From an organic perspective, you can isolate landing pages that generate lots of impressions and a high click-through rate, but that also have crummy GA engagement metrics. In this case, the organic takeaway is straightforward — make your site more engaging for those queries.

How paid search can steal some insight: You definitely don’t want to replicate the problem you’re seeing on the organic side of high CTR/low engagement. Here’s a “no duh” statement: Aim for high CTR/high engagement.

The copy that drives high CTRs from any of your organic listings is just begging to be incorporated into your ad text. There’s never been a better time to re-evaluate the messaging of your ad text. Write better ads that direct to a more successful page of your site while your organic team is busy making those other pages more engaging. Then, once they’re done, you have a new set of landing pages to try out yourself.

2. Identify organic pages with great on-site engagement but low CTR to expand your paid strategy

The organic team will probably be evaluating their titles and descriptions to try to boost rankings for high engagement/low CTR pages.

How paid search can steal some insight: Pages that drive great engagement would surely be worth testing as landing pages on the paid side of things. You can also evaluate what interest users have in your content and use that interest to drive your paid strategy.

Users who arrive from organic might have plenty of differences from people who arrive from a paid channel, but you can still learn a lot from the pages that are doing well. Find out what’s working on your site, then connect that with high-potential keywords, ad text and extensions.

3. Learn which queries are ranking well for each organic landing page, and make sure your paid listings complement them

For the organic folks, this is an opportunity to see what’s working well and how to apply these insights elsewhere. It’s also never bad to have a pat on the back for a job well done.

How paid search can steal some insight: Paid and organic listings work together. It’s something that’s most common on brand queries, but it happens in plenty of other places as well. If you consistently rank first organically, think about your ads on those terms and how they can work together.

Are there benefits that you typically call out in your ads that your organic listings already take care of? Dig a bit deeper into your bag of tricks and brag about something you don’t get to brag about as often. Your ads and organic listings can work in concert and present the best possible image of your company on the results page. Use that space.

4. Use insight from the new Devices report to craft a strategy for device bid adjustments (including tablets)

Marketers of all stripes love segmentation. Users tend to respond differently to your site based on what device they’re on. Understanding that difference in response is a crucial part of making better experiences on your site.

How paid search can steal some insight: Device segmentation is a pretty big deal. Just ask my main man, Sridhar. As you gear up for the upcoming release of bid adjustments across devices, you should deeply understand how traffic interacts with your site — including tablet performance.

Understand your organic traffic, and apply those lessons to your paid strategy. You can also evaluate what types of terms are working for different devices and use that as additional context when setting your device bidding strategy for those terms and campaigns.

5. See which countries are doing well organically to help decide where to expand your AdWords account

Location matters. A successful page in one place won’t be a successful page everywhere, so organic people can use the Country report to identify successes and places that need to be improved.

How paid search can steal some insight: Deciding where to dedicate resources internationally can be tricky. While there are already plenty of tools available for that task, organic rankings might be one of my favorite ones. If you’re deciding which countries (or even languages) to expand into next, start by seeing which countries are already doing well. Something about your site is already appealing to those users, so expand on that success with some new paid campaigns.


These new Search Console reports in Google Analytics show you both how users reach your site through organic search and what they do once they get there. Your SEO team isn’t the only one that can squeeze value out of these reports, though. If you’re in paid search, you can steal those insights and make them your very own.

[Article on Search Engine Land.]

Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.


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