Search Engine Marketing Basics – SEO and SEA

Customer satisfaction - probably the most important quality feature of a company. Of course, many entrepreneurs claim that the source of their success is a high-quality service or a great product, because this is what drives customers to buy. We at CEYOND are of a different opinion, because our flagship are the customers themselves. For this reason it is very important for us that our clients are more than just satisfied. CEYOND's latest customer satisfaction analysis confirms this and shows: Our customers love us.

However, this broad positioning is not so much a problem as an exciting challenge that can offer endless possibilities. In this short article, I would like to start by looking at the definition of the term so that interested parties, decision-makers and marketing managers know which areas can be used and how. 

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is divided into Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Advertising (SEA). SEM thus forms the umbrella term for all marketing activities related to search engines. The following graphic, which uses a sporting metaphor, is intended to illustrate the different characteristics. 

The Use of SEO and SEA

As you can see in the chart, SEO is dedicated to a long-term (keyword) strategy whereas SEA can be applied flexibly and at very short notice. It is similar to a marathon and a sprint where SEA can also be designed as a long-term measure. The short-term opportunities and flexible change options are therefore the result of the flexibility of the marketing tool SEA, which is missing in SEO. 

Why Does SEO Need Longer to Show Success?

Imagine the Internet as a small village with some shops and a marketplace. You stroll through the streets and notice that all shops have their own display and that this display is redesigned differently often. Based on this observation, you are more likely to go to those displays where you know that they are often revised. This is exactly how the Google Bot works! If you create a new display only every 3-6 months, you will teach the bot that it only needs to come by every 3-6 months. To teach the algorithm that from now on a new display will be presented more often takes several weeks and months. 

Why Is SEA Flexible and Fast?

In order to compensate for the above mentioned circumstance, you can now buy some viewers of your display and thus intensively apply for recently changed displays. These are so-called sponsored links that appear above the organic search results. To appear here, you have to pay money to Google, for this you are independent of the bot and can change the information of the display in real time. 

From this it can be concluded that SEO pursues a long-term orientation on relevant keywords and SEA can support this long-term strategy with purchased keywords. Prerequisite for this is not only a sufficient advertising budget but also a broad keyword research and fundamental knowledge of Google AdWords. 

The next article shows the differences between these two tools on the “consumer side” and in SERP. By the way, this is the abbreviation for Search Engine Result Page and this is also the focus of the following article. Release date: 31 May 2019 

Limitation of This Article

This article outlines the difference between SEO and SEA. Most of my personal experience and knowledge refers to the area of content SEO and not to technical aspects like loading times, image sizes or CSS programming. Also backlinks, which can help SEO measures to better results, were hidden. Basically this view, in my opinion, can be used as a basis in the predominant areas of search engine marketing. Nevertheless, it may be that special aspects of the industry or the objective must be taken into account. 

Matthias Nebel
Head of Digital Marketing


Picture of Elena
Digital Marketing Consultant


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