why you should absolutely not make this choice 2020 -

Natural referencing or online advertising: where to start?

SEO or SEAWhether you choose or already practice SEO or online advertising like Google Ads, Facebook… you have made the choice to get in touch with your potential customers through your website.

I am sure that like many entrepreneurs, you found yourself faced with the following difficult choice: work above all on your natural referencing or bet everything on the SEA.

So certainly, each company will motivate its own reasons to start with this or that solution. For some, natural referencing takes on its full meaning, perhaps because their activities are above all local, that they are not in a hurry and that the construction of a long-term SEO strategy seems to them more relevant or that they don’t have a large enough advertising budget.

Others, who face fierce competition and need quick results, will find online advertising more viable.

However, making a choice is totally useless! Indeed, these two methods are not intended for the same users and by choosing one rather than the other, you close yourself to a market certainly larger than you might think. That is why you should not hesitate to work on them at the same time.

So to the question “where to start”, I will disappoint you but there is no answer. No matter the size of your business, no matter how old it is. What matters is to analyze your goals, define the audience you want to target, how to reach them and how you want to set up your marketing strategy because even if the ideal is to combine the two (see our article on the impact of SEO on SEA and vice versa), the fact remains that most companies cannot afford such an investment all at once.

So, let’s look at the pros and cons of both, SEA and SEO. This will give you a better idea of ​​what to expect and the channel you should explore first for your business.

Google Ads Advertising: The Benefits

We often hear it said that “nobody clicks on ads, there is no point in investing in advertising.” You are right. That’s why in 2018, more than 70% of Google’s revenues came from Adwords with $ 21,998 billion, up 26.4% compared to the same quarter of the previous year.

So there must be 2-3 clickers lying around anyway.

Rapid visibility and traffic on the site

To be as visible as possible, the area above the natural results is the object of all the attention of advertisers.

If you need fast traffic, you have a provisional promotional offer or an event to publicize, Adwords advertising is an alternative to implement. One of the main benefits of paid ads is that you can get the attention of an active buying audience by placing yourself at the top of the page while controlling the budget allocated to this marketing action.

So yes, I grant you. SEA is expensive. But in return, you get the assurance of getting the best visibility throughout your campaign.

Total control of his campaign

By opting for a sponsored link, you also choose a full control:

  • control your budget
  • control of the messages you want to broadcast
  • control of the requests on which you wish to be placed
  • control of where you are
  • control of visitors to your site
  • results checks
  • display duration control

No other web marketing strategy offers such flexibility.

Better valued products

Do you sell products online (or not)? Google Shopping advertising is a golden solution for you. Indeed, where organic searches contain only text and do not allow to enhance your products by displaying photos to attract potential buyers, Adwords allows you to display the visuals, the Name, the price or even the promos of your articles and encourages clicks more easily.

Google Shopping

More qualified visitors

When we try to attract traffic to our website, there is no point in bringing in users who are not interested in our services or products. One of the great advantages of online advertising, unlike SEO, lies in its ultra-precise targeting which makes it possible to attract highly qualified visitors who are actively looking for a service or product.

But what exactly can you target?

  • Keywords
  • Time and / or day of publication
  • Geographical location
  • Language used
  • Devices used

What other technique offers you such a possibility?

Real-time testing

Have you ever tried to make so-called traditional advertising (radio spot, flyer, vehicle covering, etc.)? What do you think of returns? Did you manage to get accurate stats? Not really, is it?

And yes, one of the main disadvantages of traditional advertising is this lack of precision. It is not possible to know exactly how many people listen to your ad spot, see your advertising car or consult your article in such or such magazine. So difficult to know what to adapt to improve the results. And as they say, you can only improve what you can measure.

Well, with the PPC ad, the uncertainty is over. You can test each element of your ads in real time (title, message, button, landing page, etc.) and keep only the best performing ones.

Obtaining such data is essential to obtain the best ROI and give you valuable information to improve your other campaigns such as SEO.

A / B tests

Less dependence on algorithms

Each year, Google changes its search algorithm hundreds of times. Although most of these changes are minor, Google occasionally releases a much larger update that greatly affects search results. Betting everything on natural visibility therefore makes you take the risk of being significantly impacted by one of these updates and not necessarily in the best sense of the word.

I let you imagine in what state of stress we can find ourselves when one fine morning we realize that the years spent building our visibility are going up in smoke.

Choosing to use online advertising allows you a more stable strategy that is less dependent on Google’s goodwill. The Google Ads platform also undergoes regular modifications but in general to be more in line with the needs of advertisers.

Natural referencing or SEO: the advantages

Sustainable traffic on the site

It goes without saying, you will say, but SEO can generate traffic to your website. And the icing on the cake is that you will get traffic for a long time because if the results following the implementation of an SEO strategy take several months to show up, it is because they are much more sustainable. This does not mean that you will receive traffic for life but SEO will give you peace of mind that you will not have with advertising.

Long-term SEO performance

Higher click through rate

Investing in sponsored links can take a significant budget to be well placed without ensuring that your ads will often be clicked.

Why ? Because your biggest competitors are not other sponsored ads but natural results.

How do I know? I’ll let you take a look at the tables below and tell me what you think.


Note that this is an average analysis of all the requests. Differences in results can be much more important between competitive searches and so-called long tail searches.

So even if the click through rate on sponsored links increases regularly, that of natural results is largely dominant. Hence the interest of a dual SEA / SEA positioning.

A growing reputation

In a constantly evolving competitive environment where everything is accessible in a few clicks, it is increasingly difficult for companies to stand out. On the Internet, people go first to the sites they know and trust. If your potential customers don’t know you, they won’t be looking for you. This so-called “direct” traffic is also the most profitable.

SEO plays an important role in promoting a brand because the more you are present on the research they do, the more you offer them entry points to your business. By seeing your website regularly in the results, SEO contributes to your notoriety.

By working on your brand’s presence, you will not only affect the bottom line of your business, but also improve its long-term prospects.

Trust built with your users

This advantage will join the previous point. By regularly publishing content to your target audience and providing them with the information they are looking for, you are gradually establishing a relationship of trust with your prospects or potential customers.

When a user searches and finds one of your content, they will tend to think of you as a market authority. Which, indirectly, has a positive effect on your brand image.

So improving your brand image already means offering the right answers to user expectations (as I hope to do at the moment).

In addition, if you manage to position yourself in good places in search results, your credibility will only be greater. If Google, which is working hard to make sure that only the best websites appear first, trusts you enough to take center stage, is there good reason, right?

Better long-term profitability

I agree, building quality natural referencing is a long-term job, the first results of which can only be seen after several months in general. But your patience will be rewarded since it is one of the most profitable strategies in the long run.

Why do so many companies focus so much marketing effort on this lever if it was not interesting? Because it has much lower acquisition costs than the SEA.

SEO-SEA profitability

In conclusion, to build a long-term visibility strategy and make the right choices for action, it is first of all advisable to precisely determine your long-term objectives but above all, not to limit yourself to a technique rather than another because each has its advantages.

By mixing the 2 SEA and SEO approaches, you increase your chances of success and can boost each strategy thanks to the other as you will discover in the article SEA vs SEO: the clash of the titans.