The truth about SEO and SEA

Notez l'article
5/5 - (1 vote)

Following a discussion with a client, I realized the importance of explaining SEO and SEA in more detail. And this concerns everyone, whether you have a showcase site, an e-commerce site or sell online training.

You’ve all heard of SEO and SEA but let’s do a little reminder for those who don’t know exactly what it is.

Concretely, what is SEO?

SEO means Search Engine Optimization.

This is the optimization of the content of your site, which can take three different forms:

  • The pages of your site
  • The articles contained in your site
  • The description of the products or services you sell on your site.

Through the pages, articles and descriptions of products and services, there is also the optimization :

  • the title of the page / article / product / service 
  • the meta title tag (title that appears in the result page)
  • the meta description (description that is displayed in the result page)
  • images through the alt tags.

All this can be read through a main keyword and a positioning on the web.

In the SEO sphere we talk about first page positioning because the second page is the best place to hide a cadaver… Small referencing joke aside, how many times during your searches have you gone to look at the results on the second page?

What is a main keyword?

A main keyword can be a word or a phrase related to the page, the article, the service or the product you want to put forward. For example, if we are talking about creating a site for a pizzeria, the main keyword of the home page will obviously be “pizzeria” and the name of the owner, such as “pizzeria at Francis”!

(Don’t laugh, I discovered that Chez Francis Pizzeria existed by doing a Google search while writing this article).

Le mot-clé Pizzeria dans SEMRush
The keyword “Pizzeria” analyzed by SEMRush

The main keyword “pizzeria” is conceivable but one can also use for example “pizzeria at Francis”.

In this article, I will not go into detail about which main keyword is the best but simply say that I can use on my site the two main keywords: “pizzeria at Francis” on a page of my site, and the other keyword “pizzeria” on the homepage, for example. Or use both on the same page, but then we will talk about the main keyword and the secondary keyword.

Why use a main keyword?

The main keyword refers to what people search for through search engines like Google.

The main keyword can be an isolated word, it can be a phrase, a question or a group of words.

Each page, article, product or service must have its own main keyword.

You should avoid putting a single keyword on every page of your site.

This would be counterproductive because what we are looking for with SEO is that each page can be easily found by Internet users who search the web.

One of the objectives of natural referencing is to position your site and your pages on the first page of search engines. To appear in the first results is considered as the Holy Grail! You will benefit from more views, more traffic, more opportunities to get orders on your e-shop.

A very important point when creating a website is of course to think about the referencing of the site and therefore the use of keywords. For this, I strongly recommend to use the keyword planner of Google or SEMRush or Ubersuggest of Neil Patel…

Ne partez pas sur la construction de votre site en vous disant que vous will do the referencing later. This is a mistake for the following reasons:

  • You will pay the realization of the site and then pay the referencing. It is more interesting to include the referencing in the realization to avoid errors, for example 
    • One of the most common: lack of H1 titles
    • a bad Hn title structure
    • Lack of alt tags in images.
    • The lack of meta titles and meta descriptions

Once the site is published, “put into production” as we say in the jargon, you will have no choice but to perform an audit to find the SEO errors in order to make the corrections.

In some cases, depending on the site and the web agency that created it, the audit work of the SEO expert can be very expensive!

My recommendation on this subject: validate the Search Engine Optimization part of your site’s construction or redesign. It is better to pay your webmaster to do a good job than to waste time afterwards to correct the lack of natural referencing.

When I am contacted for website audits, in 97% of the cases, SEO has not been taken into account either by the client or by the webmaster. Result of the races: the customer wanted a site (cheap), the webmaster charged the service of a site (to make his monthly turnover) but without taking into account the SEO not to charge the bill and be more competitive. This mentality can not be win-win because the client, after some time of operation of his site, will understand that there is no SEO. He will hold the webmaster responsible for this, on the grounds that he did not inform him.

Are the benefits of SEO fast?

SEO results are a long-term job. Let me tell you a little story:

Recently I was contacted by a person who discovered through an online freelance platform that his site was not referenced. Not wanting to go through the freelance platform, he found my contact by searching for an SEO in Google.

He called me by phone to ask me my rate to do the Search Engine Optimization of his WordPress site, while explaining to me that normally it should be done in 5 minutes, because according to him I am an expert!

When I told him that SEO is a long term work, that I cannot guarantee that in three months the site will be on the first page of Google, he simply replied that I had to call Google as an expert and ask them to put his site on the first page!

The rest of the story: I advised him to call Google…

This is how some business leaders understand Natural referencing…

So yes, the results can be important, beyond your expectations in the long term! We do not work on SEO for short-term operations, for that we do SEA.

But what you have to understand with SEO is that once you do it, you can’t stop. It is a work of analysis, opportunity, quality that pays off enormously to those who implement SEO strategies.

Important point concerning natural referencing: when you go through an SEO consultant, you can ask to set objectives to be reached over 3, 6 months or even 1 year. This is called KPIs (Key performance indicator).

Achieving these objectives will allow you to measure your return on investment, which is called the ROI.

Regarding SEO on a showcase site, for example for a plumber, the referencing will be limited to the published pages. In this case, to help the craftsman, we will talk about local SEO through Google My Business.

How to constantly improve your SEO ?

Let’s take the example of our plumber:

  • he has his showcase site, 
  • it uses Google My Business for its local referencing 

If he wants to improve his Search Engine Optimization regularly and permanently, it is possible for him to set up a blog on his website.

The value added by the blog:

  • will allow him through articles of minimum 600 words to add keywords to his natural referencing.
    • A main keyword
    • Long tail keywords
    • Search intentions in the sub-headings

Thus according to the technical evolutions, of its know-how, it will be able to communicate in a regular way on its site to increase its visibility in the search engines.

For example:

  • On his site, in a page, he can talk about the installation of heat pump.
  • In his blog, he can detail a heat pump in depth to explain to customers the benefits and drawbacks.
  • He will be able to link this article to the page that talks about the installation of the heat pump by making an internal link on a word or a phrase.
  • Conversely, from the “heat pump installation” page, he can create a link to the article on heat pumps.

This is what we call the semantic cocoon, an internal mesh of the pages of the site between them.

At this level, we begin to enter into a Search Engine Optimization strategy.

Without forgetting that in the page and the article, we can put a “call to action” for an appointment request, a quote…

And don’t forget that your articles written two years ago can benefit from SEO optimization through an update of the editorial content.

The disadvantages of SEO

It takes a lot of time, a lot of energy and some knowledge like :

  • Analyze your market, the Personal Buyers
  • Analyze the publications, look at those that work and those that don’t 
  • The use of tools such as Google Search console, Google analytics, SEMRush…
  • Cross-reference information.
  • Write articles, product sheets…
  • Study the competitors…
  • Creating backlinks…

You should not ask yourself how much SEO costs, but rather ask yourself what it will bring you!

If it is beyond your competence, it is best to outsource it, which for many of my clients is a win-win solution.

Through a meeting, we lay the foundations of the SEO strategy. Then I carry out the actions in order to reach the objectives, which leaves time for the company to focus on its customers. At the end of each month, we make an assessment.

SEA presentation

The term SEA (Search Engine Advertising) simply means advertising in the search engine results page. As shown in the image below, the word “ad” is circled in red.

SEA annonce
SEA ads on the Google results page in French

Concerning the SEA, we speak about campaign. This means that during a given period, for example during a month, we set up an advertising campaign to promote a product or a service.

This campaign can be done for specific dates such as 50% off the entire store during Black Friday.

We are well in an advertising dimension and this aspect can in some cases help you to boost your sales, or to liquidate an article of your stock.

Beyond the sale of products, you can also do the same for services or training.

How to set up a SEA campaign?

Step 1 Goals

First of all, the objectives of the campaign must be defined: what are the goals? Is it possible to anticipate the expected results? Do you want more subscribers to your newsletter? Do you want more sales or simply to increase the visibility of your brand or its notoriety?

Step 2 Audiences

Then you have to target the audience or audiences. When you set up a SEA campaign, it is important to reach the right people to get the right results at the right time, even in a specific location. For example, if you want to promote spa sessions in your beauty center and you are located in Grenoble, you need to target the Grenoble audience. Doing a SEA campaign on the whole France will not allow you to benefit from a satisfactory return on investment.

People who are far away will not be able to come…

Also think about the language and maybe translate your ad if you target a country besides France!

What time slot do you place your ad?

Remember that your target audience uses a computer, tablet or smartphone! Adapt your ad according to the age you are targeting. For example, young people will be inclined to use their smartphones while the public over 50 years old will certainly be on computer…

Step 3 Budgeting

Like all advertising, SEA has a cost! Therefore, establish a budget for the campaign beforehand. This budget must be prepared for the daily cost as well as for the total cost because you will pay for all the clicks on your ads.

Step 4 Keywords

This is the most important step of your campaign because depending on the selection of keywords, your campaign will be more or less successful. Choosing the keywords necessary for the good functioning of your SEA campaign is of crucial importance.

Étape 5 gestions des Mots-Clés

When you do SEA, it is important to manage your keywords in relation to the chosen strategy to form groups of ads. You can classify your keywords by theme, by type of product or by type of service.

At this stage, it is important to group these keywords in order to distribute them well in the ads or to highlight one ad rather than another. You may need to exclude some keywords in your keyword management to avoid competition between ads.

Étape 6 Rédaction

Now it’s time to write your ad, which should provide as much information as possible. Remember to check the simplicity and effectiveness of your call to action. Check the landing page of this call to action and check its health. Does it contain dead links? Does the page have any flaws? Correct anything that could disrupt the action your target should perform. For this, there are tools such as Screaming Frog SEO Spider or SEMRush.

Step 6 Auctions

Once your ad is written, let’s move on to the step that consists of defining your bids.

This action will allow you to see the competition between your ads. The bids are to be defined according to the objectives, the quality of your keywords, your offer but also the competition. It is not necessary to bet on the first place and to participate in the creation of an overbid, it would be counterproductive. It is better to bet on the second places by controlling its maximum bid to avoid being in competition with other advertisers.

My tip for making the most of your campaign: work on the quality score!

The higher the quality score of your ad, the lower the CPC.

The effectiveness of an ad does not only depend on the bid you offer, but it also takes into account the quality score.

Step 7 A/B Testing

If you have several ads, program them in such a way as to obtain sufficient data. After analysis, this data will allow you to refine your campaign.

Step 8 Optimization

Yes, after performing your A/B test, it may be necessary to optimize your campaigns, always with the same objective: boosting its effectiveness.

Advantages and disadvantages of SEA

A well executed campaign can increase your brand awareness, allowing you to sell your products or services faster. Depending on the size of your company or your professional status, keep in mind that SEA can be a channel to get new customers.

Often SEA can be complementary to SEO but understand that it is not free and that it will cost much more than SEO.

Moreover, you have to keep in mind that the SEA is not a perennial solution because once your campaign is over, you will no longer appear in the search results.

The influence of SEO and SEA

After reading this article you may ask the question: is it better to do SEO or is it better to do SEA?

I don’t think there’s a predetermined answer. As I say, it depends on your business, your target, your goals. There are a lot of factors that can help you determine a strategy.

SEO and SEA require a subtle mix between annual SEO work and SEA done for extremely well targeted operations.

Over time and depending on your company and your strategy, a SEA campaign can influence your SEO results indirectly. Indeed, by making the traffic more voluminous during the campaign, it will give Google clues about the relevance of your keywords. Another advantage will be the bounce rate which is usually much lower when doing a campaign. Because we target the audience for the campaign, which gives you better quality visitors.

In any case, don’t lose sight of the fact that Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Advertising are aimed at attracting prospects, generating qualified traffic to your website and better yet, acquiring customers in the long term.

If you wish for your SEO strategy, I propose to audit your website.

ASK FOR AN AUDIT!

In conclusion of this article “The truth about SEO and SEA”

Now you know a lot more about how to increase the visibility of your site and improve the conversion rate of its pages. Always keep in mind that a website is a living entity beyond technology, algorithms, methods and processes. Nothing is set in stone. 30 years ago, SEO and SEA did not exist…

If you wish to set up a natural referencing strategy or a Google Adwords campaign, I invite you to contact me to reflect together on your strategy and your objectives.

If you still have questions, I invite you to ask them in the comments. You can also share your ideas and simply give your opinion.