Taking a Holistic Approach to Search Engines

Do your organic and paid search efforts complement one another? They should. Here's how.

Much like the larger world around us, the industrial information ecosystem has become very fragmented. People consume information in all sorts of ways through all sorts of channels. But everyone uses search engines, which represent an opportunity to connect fragmented audiences around a common marketing message.

Why Search Engines Matter So Much Right Now

Why is this ubiquitous channel especially important today? The pandemic has exacerbated changes in how prospects and customers learn about new products and product innovations, and manufacturing buying cycles in many ways are more elongated than ever, and less linear. Even educating the engineer and the purchasing manager at the same company has become more difficult as one persona may be consuming white papers while the other is listening to podcasts. The marketplace has grown, but it has grown by niches.

Industrial marketers can combat this fragmentation by taking a holistic approach to search engine marketing. Essentially, plan your paid search engine investments to align with with your organic search engine optimization efforts.

While there should be a natural dovetailing of organic search and your broader approach to content marketing, you should also take the time to make sure your paid search marries up with your content marketing so that you aren’t just capturing prospects’ attention in the moment via a well-placed ad but rather ushering them into an ecosystem where you can tell a story over time about how your solutions can help them overcome their challenges.

By joining your organic and paid search engine marketing efforts, you’ll improve the chances of attracting stakeholders to your product information and aligning them around a common message, delivered in parallel.

How to Leverage Paid Search Engine Marketing

With an organic approach to search engines, one focuses on keywords and tries to intercept prospects based on the motivations attributed to those keyword searches. They are needs based and don’t offer a lot of targeting potential via demographics or firmographics (e.g., you can’t really zero in on someone searching for “custom metal fabrication” who works at a particular company).

Paid opportunities with search engines, on the other hand, allow you to use targeting dimensions that marketers are familiar with from more traditional paid media. This can be a real asset. Here are some to consider:


When it comes to search engine advertising options, location-based and geotargeting is getting more sophisticated all the time, and it’s not just about reaching different regions of the country or specific cities. For example, carriers seeking over-the-road truck drivers can literally target video messaging within a short distance of truck stops.


There are many facets to consider related to timing with search engine ads. Among them:

  • Timing your buys for when you need to get prospects into your marketing funnel.
  • Attending to buying patterns that are seasonal in nature. 
  • Scheduling ad buys around trade shows and other industry events.


Targeting paid media is especially important for strategic segment plays such as new markets, key industries or a sales initiative.

Product Launches

Timing a paid search campaign around a product launch may be a legacy tactic, but it still works even with a fragmented marketplace.


The message of your paid search campaign should vary according to whether you are trying to reach a purchasing manager who is concerned about price as opposed to an engineer who is most interested in a specification or compliance information. You adjust your content depending upon whom you are targeting and what questions they are asking; do the same with paid advertising.

Advertising does not have to be constant in the industrial world. But if you have invested in your organic search capabilities with appropriate content and optimized your website structure, the right approach to search engine advertising will increase the odds that you will bring people to your good work and what you have been building toward.

Listen to the Podcast for More on How Organic and Paid Approaches to Search Engines Can Work Together

For more insights into how to align your organic and paid approaches to search engines, tune into Episode 12 of the Industrial Marketer podcast.

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