Are you wondering which practice, between SEO and SEA , would be the most useful for your website? Why not combine the two? Of course, each of them has a cost. Because even if you hear that SEO is “free”, you will often have to pay a specialist to develop a winning strategy. On the SEA side , you will pay the search engine for clicks on your ads. It is therefore completely understandable that you would want to make a choice between the two practices. Yes, but… This is not necessarily the best option because you should know that SEO and SEA can reinforce each other.
Concretely, thanks to the SEO/SEA synergy , you will be able to:
- use information from your SEA campaigns in your SEO strategy
- take more advantage of the position on the first page by playing on both SEO and SEA
- decide to work SEO and SEA in turn
- target audiences generated by SEO in your SEA campaigns
- improve the Quality Score of the pages targeted by your SEA ads thanks to SEO
Let’s start with the definition of SEO and SEA
SEO or Search Engine Optimization: in summary, it is all the techniques aimed at improving the positioning of a website in the search engine results pages (SERP’s). This is what is also called “natural referencing” because here, there is no question of “paying” search engines to perform on one or the other keyword, but of applying best practices, both semantically and technically, to appeal to search engines as well as Internet users .
SEA or Search Engine Advertising: you have understood, “advertising” therefore advertising. This time, paid advertising. So how does it work ? When you do SEA, you create campaigns around keywords. These campaigns are made up of ads that are likely to appear in the SERPs when a user types in one of the keywords you have defined. The ads look like this:
The broadcast is not paid, but when a user clicks on the ad, you pay the search engine the value of the keyword that was typed. The price of the keyword depends on several factors such as, for example, the level of competition or the relevance of your ad.
SEA data: a valuable SEO asset
Managing SEA campaigns provides access to a wealth of valuable information such as:
- the CTR (ratio between the number of times your ad appears in the SERPs and the number of times people click on it)
- the number of impressions of the ads, i.e. the number of times they appear in the SERPs
- the conversion rate , i.e. how many times a click on an ad results in a contact or other action on the part of the Internet user (according to defined goals)
Have you thought about using this information for the benefit of your SEO strategy? This is a first good practice. Thanks to SEA, you will be able to see which words are generating impressions , clicks or even converting . And if now you select the best performers to work on them also in SEO?
What interest ? Once your SEA budget is exhausted, it becomes impossible to show your ads. In SEO, if the search engine deems your page relevant based on the user’s search, you’ll be likely to show up at any time .
Tip : Be aware that you can link your Google Ads and Google Search Console accounts . In the “Reports” => “Predefined reports” => “Basic research” => “Sponsored links and natural results” section of your Ads account, you will then access a table containing both information related to the Ads and natural search results. You can easily compare elements such as the number of clicks in SEO and SEA on the different keywords, but also see the combination of the two: perfect for a good combined strategy .
On the front page, two times more than once
Are you looking for maximum visibility ? So note that being in first position in both SEA and SEO brings more traffic . A 2011 Google study showed that 89% of clicks on SEA ads are complementary to organic clicks. So forget the stories of cannibalism between SEA and SEO.
In addition, the way in which the gaze of Internet users scans a web page has changed. Eye tracking studies have shown that the golden triangle (which refers to the fact that the gaze is particularly attracted to the upper left corner of the pages), has given way to a scan that is done more from top to bottom . So if you appear on the first page, even under the first organic result , people are highly likely to click on your ad.
Also note that if your ads appear in organic results, paid ads and shopping ads at the same time, you will occupy several positions at once and therefore a large part of the results page . You therefore leave less room for competition.
An SEO/SEA strategy adaptable to your budget and resources
SEO and SEA strategies are not worked in the same way, and that’s good. While one requires a lot of responsiveness and short, punchy ads, the other requires a fairly substantial investment in terms of time.
As we know, an SEO strategy will take several months to settle in and bear fruit . The main concern of search engines is to provide Internet users with the most concrete and reliable answers possible. To do this, they must be able to fully understand the content of your site and determine if you are legitimate in your field.
It will therefore be a question of writing structured, consistent and value-added content . It will also be important to take care of the structure of your site and its various technical elements such as the cleanliness and lightness of the code for example. Creating a high-performance website from an SEO point of view can therefore quickly represent several months of work for the SEO expert, the developers and the editors.
But don’t panic, an SEO strategy can be developed differently depending on the budgets and resources you have. For example, if you don’t have enough copywriters to rework all the pages of your site, you can decide to focus on the most important pages first. Ditto for development resources, if you are short of time or staff, you start by dealing with the most critical points and then move forward little by little. Nothing is fixed.
And SEA level? Unlike an SEO strategy, an SEA campaign can be quickly created and even instantly distributed . As long as your ads are relevant, launching an SEA campaign can allow your site to appear more quickly at the top of search results (in the part dedicated to paid ads). You can then attract more people to your site faster.
Thanks to SEA, you can also decide to boost the appearances of your site only during certain seasons or during particular events and then put your campaigns on hold if you do not wish to invest all year round. In a nutshell, SEA allows you to have quick results and quickly work on awareness , while SEO takes more time but allows you to achieve a sustainable strategy.
Target SEO-generated audiences in your SEA campaigns
You can use lessons learned from your SEA campaigns in your SEO strategy, but also do the opposite. Indeed, thanks to Analytics tools , you can analyze in detail the traffic of your site and see, for example, what is the average age of visitors, where they come from or even what is their gender or who converts the most.
A wealth of information that you can then use in targeting your SEA campaigns. In SEO, you cannot choose when and for whom your site appears in the SERPs. In SEA on the other hand, you can decide the times at which your ads will be broadcast but also the audience to target . It is also possible to exclude certain groups of people or locations.
So if you have noticed that your site works particularly well with certain people, it will be particularly interesting to refine the targeting of your ads on them. This will prevent you from spending budget on an unqualified target that does not generate a lead.
Combine SEO and SEA to improve the Quality Score of your pages
As explained above, when someone clicks on one of your SEA ads, you pay the price of a click on the keyword that was typed in the search bar. At Google, the cost per click (CPC) is determined by several factors and not everyone pays the same price for their keywords.
The main goal of the search engine being to provide the most useful answers to the queries of Internet users, it will look at several aspects to determine if your ad is legitimate:
- CTR : click-through rate
- The relevance of the ad : does it really respond to the user’s search?
- The user experience on the landing page: does it reflect what the ad evokes?
Google then assigns a score between 1 and 10 to your ad, which will influence the cost per click. It is possible to check in your Ads account if the score of your ads is in the average. Then it’s up to you to improve your ads and that’s where SEO comes in.
For example, at the semantic level, if the Google robots notice the presence of the same keywords in the ad and in its landing page, they will consider the latter as more relevant. Also note that a page with abundant content will, in general, be considered better than a page without text. Elements such as the loading time of the landing page, the richness of the semantic field or the ease for robots to understand the different elements of your page are also very important.
Ultimately, these are all the things to consider when developing an SEO strategy. So the more your site meets Google’s SEO criteria, the more the engine will be likely to improve the Quality Score of your ads. Do not hesitate, also, to create specific pages relating to your ads in order to have a maximum correlation between the two.
This is what motivates SEO and SEA experts to work together, as is the case at Universem.
Do you want to implement a strategy combining the two techniques?
Do not hesitate to contact us .
We believe more than ever in SEO, SEA and Analytics synergy and make it a point of honor that our experts work hand in hand.
Article orignally posted by Universem as “Combinaison SEO et SEA : la synergie gagnante“