SEO and SEA: 5 ways to reconcile these 2 marketing levers to be more profitable

“Should we focus on SEO or SEA?”  is a very frequent question when it comes time to set up or rethink the growth strategy of your website, particularly e-commerce.

In reality, why oppose them when these two acquisition levers are above all complementary?

Each has its advantages and disadvantages:

  • The SEO is to say work on SEO says “natural”, attracts qualified traffic throughout the year, and is not dependent on advertising budgets. On the other hand, it remains dependent on updates from Google in particular and represents a set of long-term efforts.
  • The SEA (Search Engine Advertising or SEO “fee”) provides immediate traffic and be visible immediately to users at the top of results pages, without having to wait for weeks to get some organic strategic positions. Its advanced targeting possibilities are a real plus, but the SEA has the limits of representing heavy investments over time, also subject to a competitive click race which tends to increase the value of CPC in many sectors.

The important thing to consider

Combined, SEO and SEA account for more than half of the traffic of most websites today. In other words, it would be a shame not to combine them in order to benefit from their respective advantages while reducing the risk and/or the peaks in budgets involved by each of them!

Combining them intelligently makes it possible to improve the ROI of marketing efforts and to share part of the creation of value (customer journey, optimization of landing pages, common organization of all or part of semantic research, etc.).

With, of course, the key, a strategic increase in conversion …

Here are several ways to combine them to be profitable and avoid deploying them in a totally separate way (let’s leave the silos to other types of thinking!).

1) Pool semantic analysis by testing SEO keywords via SEA ads

Investing in advertisements and sponsored links, whether they are Google, Bing Ads or social media ads, allows you to effectively test your keywords and see which ones may need to be prioritized as part of SEO efforts.

These campaigns will eliminate keywords with too much competition or low added value. Be careful, however, not to make a decision by looking only at the cost or ROI of the keyword or group of keywords: as we will see in the next section, a bad return on investment is also often born from a poor conversion at the title level. or the landing page… but these points can be greatly improved!

2) A / B test their ads to improve landing pages and common titles between SEO and SEA

It is very important not to miss the step of analyzing and testing the conversion at the level of the ad and the landing page itself, so as not to miss a keyword that just wanted to convert … a good match message is essential, among other optimization operations. Optimizing the budget is one thing, thorough research into the prospect’s mindset and proper copywriting to meet it is just as important!

Here again, real joint work is made possible upstream: remember in particular to test the titles and messages, which can then be taken up at page level to rank them… and convert.

In summary, paying for sponsored links (also) allows you to:

  • Test titles until you find the most effective
  • Improve the efficiency of landing pages which will also be organic landing pages

3) Compensate for a lack of strong organic positions through sponsored ads

Organic SEO takes time. Even page 1 positions won’t always be enough to be profitable or build brand awareness over time, and these are far from certain.

While waiting to reach the top of organic results, or to complete this presence by occupying a premium space well at the top of the SERPs, investing in sponsored links allows you to be visible as desired … and when he wants it.

Big names in e-commerce and online sales tend to continue to invest in both SEO and SEA. Even when their organic positions are already excellent. This is for example the case of or Agoda in the travel sector, which is particularly competitive.

This choice is easy to understand:

In many areas, being organically positioned in 1st position will… or almost nothing. The space above the waterline is already saturated with advertisements, Google Shopping, a possible Local Pack … among other elements that will prevent the Internet user from reaching the landing page. The more ads there are, the less natural results are seen and viewed.

Aiming for double or even triple occupancy of this page via an ad. A featured product and a good organic presence are therefore often necessary.

4) Improve the Quality Score

At the level of Google Ads, the auction is not enough. To determine the position of an ad compared to its competitors. Google also uses what is called the Quality Score, which is the level of quality of advertising. Depending on its assessed relevance, the ad gets a “bonus” or “penalty” in terms of positioning!

However, a well-thought-out SEO architecture and landing pages. Whose content is perfectly optimized for the keywords. And the user intention attached to it will “boost” the relevance of the page.

In other words, SEO helps to get a better Quality Score. And therefore to increase the visibility and ROI of SEA ads!

5) Optimize the customer journey

We know that today’s customer journey is complex, multi-device, and involves many points of contact. Between his research for products or solutions to a problem, his organic searches. His reading on social networks, or his clicks on relevant sponsored links. It is necessary to engage him at all potential levels of discovery, information, and contact.

In this context, SEA and SEO have a lot to play with each other to optimize the entire customer journey.

For example

a prospect who browses several pages of your site (found directly or indirectly by your organic SEO efforts) will have every interest in being the subject of an ultra-personalized retargeting allowed precisely by the advertising solutions (at the image from Google Ads remarketing lists)!

The fact of automating and personalizing the messages transmitted at instant T organically. And in a sponsored manner will considerably improve the quality of the customer journey. According to their profile, their behavior… and of course the expected results.

A winning alliance for your SEM strategy?

The synergies offered by SEO and SEA are particularly effective as part of an overall SEM (Search Engine Marketing) strategy. We will of course add a social media optimization component (SMO) to refine the customer journey as much as possible and boost sales while maintaining its e-reputation and the visibility of its brand on the Web.


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