SEO And SEA, And What Semalt Thinks About This

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. The World of Digital Marketing
  3. SEO and SEA explained
  4. SEO VS SEA - What are their differences?
  5. SEO and SEA - Working as a Team
  6. Conclusion


SEO is no longer a new term. Even a novice in the world of digital marketing, social media, and content writing would have heard of SEO. On the other hand, SEA isn't as famous as SEO. Both, among others, are essential strategies and operations that help to fully optimize a website, drive traffic to the page, and increase sales (the goal of every business). Not that a business would not sell without them, but the business would most likely be invisible to the public online. This means that the only customers that are within reach are those that have a physical connection with the business.

Since it is no longer a new concept to place a business online (to expand reach, increase sales, and beat competitors), then businesses need to know about the strategies that can profit the business while it is online. Fortunately, SEO and SEA are two operations that can make that happen. But before going into the differences before the two concepts, we need to explain how digital marketing works to fully grasp the remaining parts of this article. 

The World of Digital Marketing

Do you know how many people buy and sell online without leaving their respective homes? Or how many businesses have been developed and are operating online? These two questions are very important and they help to draw out a few points that would lead us to our destination; what is digital marketing. 

The first question asks how many people conduct business transactions every day online. Simple answer; uncountable. Millions of people are online every day to buy and sell using their mobile and desktop devices. It's even getting rarer to find people go out looking for things to buy. These things span from food items to fashion and even services. So it means that any business that isn't online is losing a lot and is missing out on all the fun. Because online is where the market is. And guess what, not even location limits the reach. 

The second question asks how many businesses are presently represented online. And the answer also to that question is - a lot. Because of the advantages of having a business presence online, many companies have registered their businesses online through social media platforms and websites. But if there are so many businesses, how does yours find its customers amid the crowd? That's where digital marketing comes in. 

Digital marketing is advertising on digital devices. It is all about promoting a brand or a business using electronic devices all to ensure that the brand stays above its competitors in terms of traffic, visibility, and sales. With digital marketing, a business can also target its ads towards specific people online to achieve better results. However, there is more to digital marketing that can be explained here. For example, there are many categories of digital marketing. They include email marketing, social media marketing, content marketing, pay-per-click (PPC), marketing analytics, mobile marketing, and so on. But guess what, SEO and SEA are also categories of digital marketing because they are both tools that can be used to push a brand forward online. 

In the next section, the concept of SEO and SEA will be fully discussed. 

SEO and SEA explained

As mentioned earlier, SEO and SEA are both tools that are used during digital marketing. And they both work to bring a brand to the spotlight. But they are two different concepts that cannot be explained together. So they would be discussed individually. Below is the needed information you should know about both SEO and SEA, and how they both can help push your business forward. 

What is SEO?

SEO is short for Search Engine Optimization. As the name implies, it optimizes websites for search engines. In other words, it makes a website very interesting to search engines in terms of technicality, content, and structure. There are three types of SEO namely technical SEO, off-page SEO, and on-page SEO. The three are all needed to keep the page ranked high in search engine result pages (SERPs). But how does SEO work in digital marketing?

With good website optimization, all the pages would be well-structured and easy to crawl by search engine web crawlers. Crawling a page means that the search engine (for example, Google), is looking through the website and all its contents which include keywords, URLs, internal links, redirects, pages, etc. After crawling, the search engine (in this case, Google) then keeps the record of the website in its memory. This is called indexing. The reason for indexing a site is so that when a keyword relating to the website is searched for, the site's content can be featured on the SERP. 

So with SEO, a business can make sure its content is featured on Google's result page. But to rank high (at least on page one), the SEO would have to be conducted by professionals and experts. 

What is SEA?

SEA is short for Search Engine Advertising. Unlike SEO, SEA is more of a marketing strategy and is directly targeted at increasing sales rather than at driving traffic to the page. It involves paying search engines to place business ads at the top of the result page. So when a business is using SEA, its ads are placed on the top of the SERP. There are also types of SEA and each of them is unique to the kind of services the business offers. It can come as text-based (or service) ads, as well picture-based (or product) ads. Whichever form the SEA comes in, it is always placed at the top of SERPs.

But this is the tricky part. It requires a little knowledge of optimization too. First, Google would not show ads that are irrelevant to the searcher's request. Also, ads that are not appropriately structured would not be featured. This means that experts are also needed here to create SEAs that bring results. 

SEO vs SEA - what are their differences?

Now that there is background knowledge on both concepts, the comparison can begin. So what makes one different from the other? And which is better as a digital marketing strategy? The decision for the latter question would depend on a business' preference but here is the difference between the two. 

1. SEO targets traffic before sales while SEA targets sales before traffic

According to the explanations on SEO and SEA, it can be deduced that SEO places more attention on dragging traffic to the page than increasing sales. There is even no guarantee that you would see an increase in sales because the traffic would first have to be interested in your content before buying. However, with SEA, sales are the main target. The leading focus is on advertising the services and products of the business. Sometimes, people that buy through SEA are not even visitors of the website and might not even visit the page again. 

2. Long term vs Short Term results

This is another close difference between the two. SEO requires a step-by-step process of making sure that all the parts of a site are ready and juicy enough for search engines to find it valuable enough, and place it on the top shelf of results. It includes placing attention to every detail (from the content to how the site interacts with users). And since the site remains valuable to search engines, it is seen as trustworthy because it is constantly in the face of searchers. This will birth a long-term result concerning an increase in sales but it is a slow process. SEA on the other hand births results faster and is short-lived because the ad disappears after the advertising plan expires. And because the page is not optimized, the website also disappears. 

SEO and SEA - working as a Team

Since both SEO and SEA are beneficial to a business, then site owners can consider employing both strategies. SEO can be adopted to fully prepare the website for fame. Hence, all the aspects of the site would be fully optimized. This involves increasing site loading speed, user experience, as well as other technicalities that come with website optimization. Then as the website stays strong before search engines' web crawlers, SEA can be adopted to advertise the site (and its services) even more. It's hitting the public with a double blow at once. 


At this stage, it can be concluded that there has been enough acquired information on all there is to know about the basics of digital marketing and how both SEO and SEA can change the story of a business. Therefore, it is time to begin implementing using this information. However, it is better to start well. This is so that money and time can be saved. It is also so that the results can be satisfactory enough. That's why it is best to hire a professional that is good at digital marketing to help increase sales and magnet-in traffic. 

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