Search Engine Advertising

"Rankings are not the goal. They are the trophy of a job well done."

- Stoney deGeyter

What is SEA?

Search engine advertising (SEA) is a branch of search engine marketing (SEM). While search engine optimization (SEO) centers on improving accessibility with the use of keywords, SEA places the paid advert directly into the search engine results and on partner websites. The term “search engine advertising” is often used as a synonym for keyword advertising, which has also created the term PPC (pay per click), referring to the payment method used by the advertisers.

Google’s dominance of the market has led to its advertising platform, Google Ads, becoming another term for search engine advertising.

How does SEA work?

The principle of search engine advertising is quite simple. The first step of promoting a business with Google, Bing, or Yahoo is defining the keywords that are relevant to that respective business. Once you have this set of keywords, you can begin to create a draft text for your ad. You must then determine how much you’re willing to pay for a user to click on your advertisement. In the preliminary stages, it is important to consider budgets and regional restrictions. The landing pages, which your ad links to, must then be optimized. Once the ad is subsequently activated, the performance data can be analyzed and marketing methods fine-tuned.

How much does SEA cost?

In principle, it does not cost anything to simply place an advertisement among search results. Search engine advertising works on a cost per click (CPC) basis, so advertisers only incur charges when a user clicks on an ad and is redirected to the landing page. The cost of each click is something that advertisers are able to decide for themselves, however, the frequency that the advert is displayed corresponds to the size of the offer. The allocation of the ad space is then decided by an auction, also known as Real-Time Bidding.

Goals of an SEA campaign

  • Increase traffic: The core objective of search engine advertising is to direct a stream of visitors to a website. SEA, therefore, presents itself first and foremost as a source of traffic for new websites. In a fight for the top spot, the ads are ranked by quality and relevance, but their place on the first results page can also be secured through a high bid.

  • Promoting brand awareness: Search engine advertising is an efficient marketing instrument for enhancing a brand’s visibility amongst others in its field. One goal of an SEA campaign should, therefore, be to occupy keywords services with advertisements for your own product lines or services.

  • Generate conversions: Above all else, search engine advertising pays off when it contributes to gaining potential customers (leads) or to the increased sale of products and services. Advertising programs such as Google Ads make it possible for website owners to determine exactly how frequently search engine ads lead to conversions, as in when a potential customer becomes a customer.


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