Published on : 08 July 20214 min reading time

Companies have understood this well, their visibility on the Internet is essential to develop their commercial activity. The first effective lever to generate qualified traffic is the results of the first page of Google after a request from the Internet user. 92% of users only consult the first page of Google results.

In other words, sites not present on this 1st page (on their generic keywords) do not benefit from this visibility. Visit for more about web-marketing and search engine optimization.

In addition, the click rate is decreasing: the more your ad (or link) is at the top of the page, the higher the click rate will be!

To ensure your visibility on the 1st page of Google results after a query, there are 2 distinct levers:

  • SEO (organic referencing, called natural)
  • The SEA (referencing advertising, known as paid)

What are the major differences between SEA and SEO?

SEA and SEO have a common objective: to attract qualified traffic to a website.

However, the practices are very different, your business model and your market can already partly answer the choice of leverage to exploit:

+ Quick to set up > Immediate visibility

+ Flexible, I adapt my attendance periods and budget

+ Wide coverage of the themes and keywords on which I want to be visible

+ Several possible display locations (Shopping, Search, Additional extensions…)

– Limited audience (some users never click on ads)

– Limited in the number of impressions (depending on budget, auction and competition)

– Complex to manage yourself over time and to optimize via the Google Ads platform

+ Higher traffic volume due to higher printing rate VS SEA

+ Traffic often more qualified

+ Permanent presence on the Internet

+ Good image of the company so good organic presence on Google > guarantee of seriousness

+ Good profitability > Free traffic

– Long to set up > Very progressive visibility

– Requires human time and many effective actions to improve results

– Need to plan in the medium / long term on your business to implement a sustainable SEO acquisition strategy.

Why do some companies choose one lever over another?

As we have seen, SEO requires patience to see the increase in traffic, especially on relevant and competitive keywords (we often see at least 6 months before the first significant traffic increases). It is also necessary to have specialized knowledge, time available to be effective, to have a real vision of your activity in the long term, and a reflection on your own website (technical aspects, editorial aspects, popularity of the site).

If you have no expertise or time, you will have to call on a specialized SEO / SEA agency, so dedicate a budget line dedicated to SEO.

The rotation of Marketing teams within a company hinders the implementation of a sustainable strategy.

All these obstacles favour the use of the SEA lever for companies because:

  • The results are immediate.
  • They can also regulate their presence and budget at any time.

Other companies do not use the ATS because they believe that:

  • CPC’s on their keywords are too strong, so it is difficult to be profitable,
  • Competition in SEA is too important to be able to emerge,
  • Or by personal conviction, because they never click on the ads.

Do we really have to choose between the two?

Starting from the observation that the development of your activity is linked to your presence on Google, do not choose between the two, and optimize your chances of converting!

SEO or SEA, the final objective remains the same: to generate qualified sales or leads after a user request on Google.

There are a few rare cases where the choice will be relevant, after analysis by a specialist:

  • Market saturated on Google Ads > CPC’s too high > Performance of declining campaigns > Think or Prefer SEO in your acquisition strategy!
  • You are a “ready-to-wear” e-merchant and you sell for example women’s skirts > Choose SEA for your acquisition strategy (Shopping, Search, Dynamic Remarketing…) because it will be very complicated to emerge in SEO against the mastodons of the sector: La Redoute, Kiabi, Zalando, Galeries Lafayette, 3 Suisses, Zara “trustent” this market.

For the rest, if SEA is an important lever for your business, SEO should be just as interesting, even more profitable in the long term by projecting a minimum in time on your activity.

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