Published on 29 March 2021 (Updated 22 November 2023)
An external acquisition source is, by definition, any solution that enables a visitor to land on your website. It mainly includes :
- Search Engine Results Page (SERP), on which people position themselves thanks to SEO
- The purchase of keywords, in other words, SEA (Search Engine Advertising)
- Social media, SMO (Social Media Optimization)
- The purchase of advertising space on social media, SMA (Social Media Advertising)
- The purchase of advertising space on external sites, Google Display ads
- Backlinking, which consists of creating third-party links that lead back to your website
All these acquisition techniques aim to generate visits and above all, in fine, to help you increase your sales/contacts.
In the following paragraphs, we will list the pros and cons of each solution mentioned above. And most importantly, we will explain when to use these solutions.
Why use SEO as a source of acquisition?
SEO or natural referencing includes all techniques aimed at improving the ranking of your website, based on defined keywords, on the search engine results pages (SERP).
In other words, you improve your site in order to make it more visible to Google.
To achieve this, there are many techniques. From the optimization of the website to the creation of optimized content for SEO with the use of netlinking… All this will help you gain more visibility!
Why improve your SEO?
Simply because without it, you are entirely dependent on all other acquisition leverages (that’s also why we are starting with it).
What we call SEO is the only source of acquisition that can be done “for free” (within the limits of the investment of time for optimization and content creation) and can serve you in the long run. This is to say, your rankings gained through SEO will not be easily affected by the overwhelming stream of information (like with social media) or any possible lack of budget (like with SEA).
The pros of SEO
- Long term positioning
- Earns trust because you appear as “safe” and “legitimate”
- Powerful source of traffic
- Allows you to animate your site by creating content
The cons of SEO
- Heavy time investment at the beginning
- Requires regular maintenance to keep up with the competition
- Requires a certain amount of time to bear fruit (from a few weeks to several months)
In short, SEO is awesome, but it also takes time.
Why use SEA as a source of acquisition?
SEA (Search Engine Advertising) is basically a technique that allows advertisers to… purchase keywords!
It is a very effective source of acquisition for any new websites that do not yet benefit from an ideal ranking through natural referencing, but want to boost their sales and leads all the same.
Precisely, when should you use SEA?
There is no “right” time to launch an AdWords campaign. The impulse must come from a real need for positioning quickly and efficiently.
As we mentioned earlier, you may need visibility for the launch of your site or for certain seasonal events (e.g.: “Online turkey sales” during the holiday season).
What you need to understand before starting is that SEA will cost you a lot of money and that, with a limited budget, you are not likely to get incredible results. MOST IMPORTANTLY, AdWords is not an objective in itself, it must be combined with other marketing tools to be truly efficient.
Why? Because you will be bidding (yes, like in an auction room) against Amazon, Nike, ASOS,… In short, against advertisers with a huge budget and the exposure that goes with it.
You must, therefore, before anything else, ask yourself this question: “How much do I have at my disposal to position myself on Google?” We also recommend you to get in touch with your agency and obtain an estimated number of leads that you are likely to acquire and then conclude your ROI objectives accordingly.
The pros of SEA
- Quick positioning for the top results
- Short-term visibility
- Possibility of rapid A/B title and meta-descriptions testing
- Quick traffic acquisition
The cons of SEA
- It is usually challenging to position yourself in highly competitive markets
- An important budget is needed to reach the first place
- Acquisition of traffic is often unqualified at the beginning
In short, SEA is great if you want to position yourself quickly, but getting results can be expensive. It is, therefore, not a recommended leverage for “small” advertisers.
SEO vs SEA, which acquisition source to choose?
As you can see, there is no such thing as a “winner” in this battle. There are only two visions that can be compared metaphorically to offline actions:
- SEO would be closer to word of mouth + a good location on a busy street. It takes time, the financial investment is high at the beginning, but the long term profitability is real.
- SEA, on the other hand, would be more like a big flyer strategy in the neighbourhoods of your business. A lot of visibility in the short term, surely bringing visits and leading to sales, but also a lot of money wasted on attracting people who are not really interested in your business.
To conclude, remember that you should not depend on only one source of acquisition. Try to diversify your traffic as much as possible and therefore boost your visits and sales without taking too many risks!
Are you looking for new prospects and customers? Is customer retention a core element of your strategy? Our marketers will activate all the digital levers you need to reach your objectives! Contact us and we’ll make your project a success!