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SEO vs Сontextual advertising

2021-01-15

If we talk about Internet marketing, the questions immediately arises: which is better, SEO or contextual advertising? What is the difference? What is more profitable? And what is more effective? Let's try to understand all these questions and calculate the best business development strategy. 


A bit of theory 


SEO (abbreviation for Search Engine Optimization) is a set of measures to increase the visibility of a site in search engines for targeted search queries. A set of work on the development of the site, changing its environment, analyzing user behavior, aimed at improving existing positions for targeted queries (in Yandex, Google, Mail.ru and other search engines), as well as getting good positions (in the TOP-10) for new requests of interest. 


SEO optimization (search engine promotion) works include: 

• analysis of algorithms for ranking search engines to identify key ranking factors, tracking innovations of search engines; 


• analysis of current demand (statistics of search queries, visits to sites in the subject); 


• drawing up a list of promoted queries (semantic core); 


• work to improve the site itself (internal optimization); 


• work to increase the citation of the site and the number of its mentions in the network (external optimization); 


• work on the analysis of user behavior on the site and on the SERP pages (improvement of behavioral factors); 


• tracking results (positions for targeted queries, traffic) and making adjustments to the current work scheme.


Contextual advertising is a variety of ads (text, image, video) that are shown to users in accordance with their search queries, interests or behavior on the Internet. Contextual advertising is shown in search engines, on various sites, in mobile applications and on other resources. 


Key features of contextual advertising: 


• High efficiency - shown only to the audience it is intended for;


• Flexibility in management and the ability to track results - all data on the contact of potential customers with advertising can be viewed at any time in the personal accounts of advertising systems;


• Convenient CPC (Cost Per Click) payment scheme for advertisers - funds are debited only if you go to the site;


• Fast launch of advertising campaigns - if you have the necessary skills and use specialized technologies, campaigns can be launched in a very short time.

First, let's deal with the costly part of the compared services. Both contextual advertising and SEO provide, relatively speaking, 2 areas of costs: the cost of the work of specialists and the marketing budget. 


With the work of specialists, everything is more or less clear: in SEO, the client pays for the work of an optimizer, copywriter, programmer; in contextual advertising, for the work of a PPC specialist, marketer, analyst. Usually, the cost of SEO work is more expensive than the cost of contextual advertising. This is due solely to the amount of time that specialists need to complete the work: it takes, say, 80 man-hours per month to optimize a site, and 40 to work with contextual advertising. Hence the difference in the final cost of work. 


Now about the marketing budget. In the case of contextual advertising, everything is extremely simple: the entire marketing budget is spent on buying clicks. The cost is more difficult. Plus, this is superimposed on the inertia of search engine optimization. Even if you stop investing after 10 months of SEO work, the traffic persists for a long time, gradually decreasing, although there was no work or financial investment. 

What you can't advertise: 


• counterfeit goods and replicas; 

• dangerous goods (tobacco products, pyrotechnics, weapons, ammunition); 

• services for unfair activities (production of forged documents, writing abstracts and scientific papers). 

What is difficult to advertise: 


• sites with content for adults (strip clubs, sex shops); 

• financial services and gambling (forex, online casinos); 

• pharmaceuticals. 

For a complete list, see the Google Ads Help.


In SEO, any site is promoted on a general basis. 

If competitors are present in the search results, then you have a chance to get there. 


What is the main difference? 


The main difference between contextual advertising and search engine promotion, which is also one of the advantages of SEO, is that it cannot be turned off, unlike advertising. 

Having reached a certain level of the rating, you will stay on it until competitors push you out of there with better quality promotion. And even after that, if you analyze the positions of competitors and re-optimize the site pages, you can quickly return to the TOP. If you stop investing in advertising, users will immediately forget about the existence of your web resource. 

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