SEO glossary: Search engine advertising

In a nutshell: What is search engine advertising?

Search engine advertising is alternatively known as Search Engine Advertising (SEA) and is part of the higher-level 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 are concerned with generating 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 ads selling winter tires. The ads are displayed, for example, when users enter the search term "complete winter wheels".


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


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


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Why should marketers run ads?

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


This makes it all the more important that companies, marketers and store operators should increasingly place advertisements. Because in this way there is the possibility to position companies and online stores more strongly in the search engines. This increases the range considerably, and at the same time, depending on the objectives, for example, 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 prospect.


Furthermore, it is possible to optimize ads for specific user and target groups. This is also called targeting, where you define exactly what your target group should look like.


Possible targeting options include:


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


How does search engine advertising work?

To run search engine advertising and successfully place ads in search engine results, only a few steps are required.


First, you have to register in the respective advertising network of the search engine. For Google, for example, it is the well-known network Google Ads. Immediately after registration and validation of the account, the first campaign can be set up. This defines how the exact targeting should be done.


Last but not least, the advertisements are created, which can be seen on the part of the user in the SERPs. For example, they link to an interesting blog post, a product or a landing page.


Furthermore, it is possible to define how much budget marketers want to spend. Daily limits can be defined, for example. Pay per click is used for billing, and the costs per click vary. If other marketers also place ads for a keyword, the one 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 to target prospective customers and achieve quick results. For example, it is possible to place ads that refer to a product or service. If the right targeting has been applied, a high reach with good leads and sales can be generated.

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