SEO glossary: Search engine advertising

In a nutshell: What is search engine advertising?

Search engine advertising is alternatively also known as Search Engine Advertising (SEA) and is part of the superordinate search engine marketing. It includes all measures in which targeted advertisements are placed in search engines such as Google, Bing and others.


What is search engine advertising?

In search engine advertising, marketers strive to generate targeted paid traffic. They do this by placing advertisements in the SEARCH ENGINE RESULTS (SERPS) of well-known search engines such as Google.


This involves targeting specific search terms, also known as keywords. For example, a marketer places advertisements in which winter tires are sold. Among other things, the ads are displayed when users enter the search term "complete winter wheels".


Search engine advertising is also known in other circles as search ads, sponsored links or keyword advertising.


In principle, search engine advertising is a sub-area of search engine marketing (SEM). However, the two terms are by no means the same, as they are fundamentally different.


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Why should marketers place ads?

If users want to find out about a product, a service or a company, they mainly use the internet to do so. Google is by far the largest search engine with the most users.


This makes it all the more important for companies, marketers and store operators to place more advertisements. This gives companies and online stores the opportunity to position themselves more prominently in search engines. This increases the reach considerably, while at the same time, depending on the objectives, interested parties (leads) and sales are generated.


Another advantage is that you don't have to approach customers directly. Because as soon as potential customers search for a product or service on Google and the like, a need already exists. All you have to do is pick up the prospective customer.


It is also possible to optimize ads for specific user and target groups. This is also known as targeting, where you determine exactly what your target group should look like.


The possible targeting options include:


  • Keyword for displaying the ad
  • Age of the user
  • Origin and region of users (for example, only users from the Hanover region
  • Language
  • Gender
  • Device: Computer or mobile devices such as tablet and smartphone


How does search engine advertising work?

Only a few steps are required to run search engine advertising and successfully place ads in search engine results.


First, you need to register with the respective search engine's advertising network. For Google, for example, this is the well-known Google Ads network. Once you have registered and validated your account, you can set up your first campaign. This determines how the exact targeting should take place.


Last but not least, the advertisements are created that the user can see in the SERPs. For example, they link to an interesting blog post, a product or a landing page.


You can also define how much budget marketers want to spend. Daily limits can be defined, for example. Billing is based on pay per click, the costs per click vary. If other marketers also place ads for a keyword, the marketer who places the highest bid is displayed first.


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Conclusion: What is search engine advertising?

Search engine advertising is an excellent way of targeting potential customers and achieving quick results. For example, it is possible to place advertisements that refer to a product or service. If the right targeting is used, a high reach with good leads and sales can be generated.

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