SEA Versus SEO, How Do You Know Where To Invest?

SEA Versus SEO, How Do You Know Where To Invest?

Being present on the Google search engine remains essential in marketing acquisition. To achieve this objective, two main channels: SEO, referencing, and SEA, paid advertising. How do you invest your marketing budget to achieve your business objectives? There is no standard answer to this legitimate question. This is why, today, JVWEB helps you decide by sharing the advantages and disadvantages of these levers, which have been experienced for years, and some tips for arbitrating your budgets as the new year approaches.

SEO vs. Ads, A Reminder Of The Basics

If you are here, it is probably because the subject of marketing acquisition is on your mind, but you still have a few questions about investing your marketing budget. So, let’s start at the beginning, a quick reminder of the basics!  

So, when we talk to you about SEO, search engine optimization, or SEO, it’s about positioning the pages of your website in Google’s organic results for free. At least without paying any compensation to the search engine! Today, SERPs are more complex, and the results offered by Google following a query are made up of different elements, such as organic links, images, videos, maps, Google Business Profiles, extracts in features… There are many entry points to stimulate and generate more traffic to your domain!

SEA or CPC (Cost Per Click) acquisition consists of broadcasting advertisements via paid placements within Google results pages, concentrating efforts on targeting keywords and audiences. Like SEO, SEA has been enriched over the years, and Google Ads ads can contain, in addition to text, site links, images, star ratings, contact information, etc. 

SEO vs. SEA, The Match 

Each of these levers has advantages and disadvantages to consider to know where and how to invest your marketing budget. 

Let’s start with natural referencing. This technique has the following advantages: 

  1. Its cost is less significant over time. Because the costs linked to SEO are indirect costs related to the management of your SEO, both by an expert SEO agency like JVWEB, as well as by the technical adjustments to be implemented on your site or the investment in tools, you don’t pay anything to Google, so it’s not free. 
  2. The gain in notoriety and the impact on the credibility of the brand. A well-referenced brand is visible and authoritative in its market. By nature, organic results generate more user trust than ads. 
  3. Sustainability and consistency of traffic: once well-indexed, on the right keywords, SEO traffic is relatively stable for an investment that is reduced over time.

In return, SEO requires: 

  1. Patience. The first results are generally visible between 6 months and one year. 
  2. A strong sense of competition: your competitors aim for your exact requests!
  3. An interest in the subject: Google updates are numerous and require expertise to follow the movement!
  4. A qualitative and sustainable content strategy that will fuel your SEO ambitions. 
  5. A relative relinquishment of control: Google will always have the last word on the content of its pages, with or without your site!

Let’s now switch to SEA, with Google Ads as our target! Here, the main advantages are: 

  1. The much finer targeting capacity makes generating qualified and relevant traffic capable of conversion possible. 
  2. Immediacy: a few days are enough to create an advertising ecosystem and bring your brand its first customers from Google. 
  3. Modularity: for maximum relevance, Google Ads campaigns must evolve regularly. SEA A/B tests are much easier to implement and rich in lessons. 

SEA also has its downside

  1. SEA budgets can climb quickly and sharply, mainly if your Google Ads campaigns could be better managed. 
  2. The marketing budget invested determines your commercial performance: more budget, more sales.
  3. Competition is also fierce, particularly in specific markets.
  4. CPC performance can erode over time and lower your performance. 

SEO Or SEA, How Do You Choose Where To Invest?

Well, the answer is a Norman answer: it depends! Indeed, it depends on your brand’s history, the time and resources you have available, and the objectives you aim for… 

If You Have A Limited Marketing Budget

If you have limited resources to fuel your marketing acquisition, investing in SEO is a good option if you have the time necessary to obtain engine results. Your main action is to create quality content to fuel your SEO indexing—our advice: still get support and solid SEO expertise to save time before seeing the first results. Time is also money! 

If You Have A Niche Product

Investing in SEA is more reasonable this time because search engines capture demand but do not create it. In other words, to obtain an SEO result, users must search for your product. However, if they have yet to learn it, it’s tricky! Google Ads allows you to position yourself quickly, at least as long as you need to acculturate your target audience.

If Your Brand Is Launching

SEO and SEA have their role to play. However, SEA guarantees visibility on Google and its network from the brand’s launch. A promise to which SEO cannot respond with confidence. In addition, SEA will allow you to gain notoriety more quickly, serving your SEO objectives. 

If Your Brand Is In A Very Competitive Market

Paid acquisition and SEO both have something to contribute. But Google Ads is more secure because it will be difficult to position yourself in place of your competitors, especially if they are well established. Google Ads allows you to ensure your presence while your SEO optimization efforts pay off. However, the CPC of high-competition keywords is generally relatively high; you will have to adapt your marketing budget accordingly.  

SEO + SEA, The Perfect Synergy!

As you will have understood, arbitrations are as essential as they are complex. In reality, the best strategy is generally to activate these two levers simultaneously to take advantage of the advantages of each and the strengths of this powerful combination. 

SEO + SEA = + Data To Perform 

By combining Google Ads with Search Console, you will obtain valuable data for optimizing your SEO and your Google Ads campaigns, particularly around high-potential queries. The SEA / SEO combination helps you balance visibility and budget based on your performance.  

Advertisements For Your SEO Content

If content creation is essential, only some will resonate with the target audience. Give more weight to this SEO investment by relaying it via adapted advertising campaigns on engines, YouTube Ads, or even social networks. This will help you obtain better ROI on your content. 


As seen above, testing your arguments via Google Ads is easier, faster, and more efficient. Use the results of your experiments to power your SEO pages, which are generally more durable.

Surround Yourself With An SEO & SEA Agency

Opting for a multi-level marketing agency is the best way to capitalize on your marketing investments in SEO and SEA without wasting time as the conduit of information between two service providers.  

Read Also: Carbon Footprint: The Great Ecological Challenge Of Green AI

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