an exceptional distribution channel

The Internet is now a common sales channel for companies. While some businesses are content with having a flagship website, others, and there are many of them, have opted for ecommerce websites. There are two very different issues for businesses: that of traffic and that of conversion.

The Internet is not a negligible sales channel because it allows you to close the gap with your customers. According to the 2022 report by We Are Social and Hootsuite on the 65.51 million people in France, there would be 60.92 million internet users or 93% of the population (+2.4% compared to January 2021). Missing such an opportunity would therefore be detrimental at the commercial level, even if not all companies necessarily adapt to selling on the Internet.

Traffic: general

Traffic on a website can come from a number of sources. We generally speak of direct traffic when a user types a website’s URL address directly into a browser’s address bar. The latter knows your site (with a few exceptions) and goes there directly. Another way to get to a website is to click a link from another website (or an ad) that takes you to your website. This link may have been obtained free of charge or for a fee. The other way to access a website is through search engines like Google. In this case, the Internet user enters the desired information in the search bar and gets results. Some are free, we then speak of natural referencing (SEO) and others are paid, we then speak of paid referencing (SEA).

The difference between SEO, SEA and SEM

Overall, search engine marketing (SEM) represents marketing techniques aimed at better search engine indexing. It’s about increasing the visibility of a page on the latter, either by optimizing the page (particularly through keywords) or by buying commercial links on search engine results pages.
It is distinguished from SEO (Search Engine Optimization), which describes all measures aimed at improving the ranking of a website in the search results (so-called organic or natural). As I’m sure you understood, these are “free” techniques. This work consists of understanding how search engine algorithms work and sticking to it so that your website appears “naturally” in the results. Being successful in SEO is not an easy task, since it involves acting on 3 main levers: the content, which must be well structured and of high quality, the netlinking, which consists in having links from other sites that refer to your website (without you paying for it) and the technical optimization of the site. Climbing up the rankings is therefore not an easy task as there are a hundred criteria on which you can intervene.

SEA (Search Engine Advertising) consists of creating and optimizing paid ads that appear on search engine results pages. It is actually a form of advertising that allows you to appear in the first results for a fee. The most popular way to run these campaigns is by Google Search Ads (formerly Google Adwords), which ranks your website on specific keywords that you have purchased. The whole problem in this regard is that it works according to an auction system, it’s better not to fool yourself about the search queries (or keywords) you choose. The aim is to attract the right internet users who are interested in your company or product to your site. In other words, you pay for an internet user to click on the so-called “sponsored” link and not all keywords have the same price. The goal, therefore, is to choose the right keywords to attract the right visitors.

Differences between SEO and SEA

If in reality both serve to generate more traffic and be more visible through search engines, they are very different. The first: SEA is paid and SEO is free. The other big difference is that SEA has an immediate impact while SEO can take some time to set up. The advantage of SEO remains that it offers a better return on investment (called ROI) since you don’t pay and these effects are long-lasting. You may well be running out of time on your website and it stays well positioned for certain keywords. However, search engines appreciate that your site moves. Therefore, it is important to create content regularly in order to be well positioned. Ultimately, the two techniques complement each other, with SEA being more of a short-term approach, while SEO is generally more of a long-term one.

Other paid strategies to gain traffic

As we mentioned above, there are only search engines to access a website and therefore other strategies to attract traffic. First, you can advertise specifically on other sites using banners. Advertising can be paid for in a number of ways. There are generally three types: CPM (Cost Per Thousand), where you pay for the ad, CPC (Cost Per Click), where you pay when a user clicks on your ad, and finally CPA (Cost per Action ) which is the affiliate model where you pay a commission if the ‘affiliate’ performs a certain action, such as B. filling out a form.
Another newer and more popular technique for generating traffic is to include a link to another website in the content. If you’re good at writing, we’re talking about sponsored or invited articles. In general, when there is only the link to certain keywords, we speak of paid netlinking. The benefit of this strategy is that you will automatically rank up in the search engines as they see that your website is recommended by others. This strategy falls halfway between SEO and SEA as it produces mid-term effects, but you pay (although it can sometimes produce short-term effects).

Mobile browsing needs to be considered While in the past the vast majority of connections were made via a fixed computer, it is now clear that m-commerce has indeed increased. Internet users spend 5:34 hours online every day, of which 2:19 hours on their mobile phone, and more than 86.5% of users now access the Internet via their mobile phone.

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