Ad Technology

To Build or To Buy? That Is The Question

By: Martin Cahill

Whether you’re an agency hired on to help, a client looking to expand their online footprint, or a creative agency in the middle of the two, when discussing Search, you’ll most likely hear, “Should we build content? Or should we buy it through paid search?” This discussion is a vital one, and leads to one of the best practices for a Search strategy.

When just starting to develop an SEO/SEM strategy, the most important part of that is going to be keyword research. Keywords, and the data they hold, are the lifeblood of any Search campaign, and knowing the spaces in which certain keywords operate best is a key analysis to perform. Do you buy certain space so that when a keyword is searched, there’s a guarantee that your site shows? Or do you look at that keyword data and see an opportunity to engage with content, and optimize the site for strong SEO? While this may seem tedious at times, extensive keyword analysis helps to understand the arena into which you hope to build a Search footprint, and helps you put the right amount of energy into both Paid Search and using keywords to build content.

Because ultimately, when considering a site launch, and paving your way into new Search territory, you’re not really going to pick one component over the other. This type of analysis and the end result shouldn’t be just strictly Paid Search or only focusing on using keywords for SEO. By uncovering the landscape of the keywords you want to use, you’re finding the best ways to use both components for your strategy. Likewise, the great thing about the extra time this analysis takes is that you’re not just delving into what keywords will be helpful for you, regardless of build or buy, but you’re also learning more about the space, the subjects at hand, the various topics to cover, the trends in those topics, and much more. By taking the time at the beginning as you strategize, you’re saving yourself a lot of frustration down the road. And even then, if you need to go back and revisit your content, you’ll still be re-optimizing from the same keyword database as from this analysis.

By diving into tools such as Google AdWords, Moz Keyword Explorer, or SEMRush Keyword Magic, you’re able to hone in on the keywords and the content you want to explore, and see in great detail how they’re already performing: where the opportunities lie with a keyword that has a low competitor difficulty but a high volume in the SERPs; where keywords have the opposite, and it’s better to buy them for Paid Search than shout into an SEO void, where many sites are already using the same keyword or content. By looking at the whole picture, you can find spaces for opportunity, and the best implementation of both components.

While this extensive keyword research may be a lot of effort, it makes the Search optimization of your site absolutely worth it, and lets you corral your energies into the right components, split between SEM and SEO equally, existing in a Venn diagram where both aspects are performing at their best for the keywords given.