Search engine advertising (SEA) is a branch of online marketing and, together with SEO, a discipline of search engine marketing. In SEA, advertisements in the form of a text or images are posted on search engines such as Google or Bing. The advertisements then appear prominently in the SERP. The posting of advertisements within the framework of SEA belongs to the main source of income for search engine providers.
The terms SEO, SEA, and SEM are mainly used less selectively. The following description will try to compare and contrast these marketing terminologies.
Search engine advertising is usually a part of a marketing or branding strategy. One of the primary objectives of SEA is to increase the click-through rate since the number of clicks on a website can quickly be increased through the posting of advertisement space. In addition, the Conversion Rate is particularly important for the SEA, as it ultimately determines how high the advertising costs are, and thus the ROAS.
At the same time, search engine advertising can also be used to generate advertising pressure through page impressions from display campaigns. For the most part, advertisements are used by customers in the e-commerce industry since SEA is aimed at persuading the user to buy. Thus, one of the main objectives is to increase conversions in the form of sales.
However, newsletter subscriptions, downloads, or reviews, and leads, can be manipulated through search engine optimization. The scope of the SEA measures is thereby always dependent on the amount of invested advertising budget as well as the actual search volume of research keywords.
Google Adwords is a product of Alphabet Inc. that offers marketers a wide range of advertisement opportunities in the SEA field. The principle of placing ads through AdWords is based on auctioning. Advertisers bid on specific keywords or they pay for clicks and impressions on display advertisements. Factors, such as the quality of the landing page, quality of the ad text, as well as relevance of the keywords and positive history of the AdWords account, play a crucial role in the final placement of text ads or banners. Banners or text ads posted through Google AdWords are always regarded as advertising. The following forms of advertising are possible using Google AdWords:
Google AdWords offers the possibility to combine different forms of advertisement of SEA. Simultaneous placement of PLA, text ads, and display ads is, therefore, possible. The AdWords platform is one of the most used SEA tools in the world.
With the AdWords Express program, Google offers small companies the possibility to use SEA without having to create their own campaigns. The thereby required files are automatically generated by Google. The advertiser only provides his/her advertising budget.
Together with Yahoo, Bing also offers its own SEA platform. Bing / Yahoo ads]] function in a similar way to Google AdWords. However, due to Google’s market dominance, Google AdWords is the platform that is mostly used for SEA in Germany and Europe. Nevertheless, a comprehensive SEM strategy should also include possibilities to advertise on Bing and Yahoo. This applies, for example, to the USA, where Bing has a significantly larger market share than in Germany.
Besides the major search engine providers, almost all larger search engines offer their own advertising programs. SEA, through specialized search engines, can also be advantageous depending on the targeting. As an alternative to purchasing ads from Google AdWords, for example, Amazon product ads can also be placed on the Amazon platform.
For example, if a website also wants to be successful in Russia, SEA for Yandex, etc. should also be taken into consideration. If an online shop wants to advertise vehicle parts to specific target groups, it also has the option to place its ads on different car comparison portals.
In SEA, posting ads is done based on different provisions:
Although search engine advertising is not considered to be SEO, SEA can possibly have an impact on the ranking of a website. Therefore, this makes SEA sort of an indirect SEO measure. If an online shop raises its advertising impact through SEA and thereby improves its scope and visibility, direct type-ins of the shop’s name as a brand are for example deemed to follow. Thus, the brand is strengthened and, among other things, the domain trust of a website is as well. Ever since the Vince Update, the brand plays a greater role in the SERP. For example, a website can increase its awareness with the help of SEA and, if a campaign is successful, can thus generate more traffic via the organic search, because the brand is known to many users and they decide in the SERPs for the more well-known URL, although it may even rank worse.
Through SEA, Google, or any other search engine, new information on the visits to a website is received. Since the click rate and bounce rate are also considered in the evaluation of a website, successful SEA measures also lead to an improvement of the quality of a website. Another direct consequence of SEA measures is that a website or web shop can become more famous and thereby result in “offline” access through word of mouth.