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Search Engine Advertising (SEA) definition

Search Engine Advertising (© golubovy /

Search Engine Advertising (© golubovy /

Search engine advertising (SEA) is a form of online marketing. It is also a discipline of search engine marketing (SEM), as it is combined with search engine optimization (SEO). With SEA, advertisements that are presented in either text or images are posted on search engines. These advertisements then display in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) of the search engines they are displayed on. 

In the world of online marketing, there are a lot of strategies and terms used that are often difficult for new marketers to differentiate and understand. While all these strategies and terms ultimately work together to influence the results of online marketing, it’s important for advertisers to have a firm understand of each individual tactic. Search engine advertising is one of those tactics.

The Basics of SEA

Search engine advertising is a branch of search engine marketing. It utilizes search engine optimization (SEO), which focuses on enhancing accessibility via the use of high quality keywords that users enter in a search query. SEA actually places a paid advertisement, such as a display ad, directly into search engine results and on partnered websites.

Google is the search engine that has primarily dominated the SEA market, which lead to the creation of one of the best known advertising platforms, Google AdWords. In fact, AdWords is so popular that it has become a term used to describe search engine advertising. However, Google isn’t the only search engine that incorporates advertisements into search results; other search engines, including Yahoo and Bing, also provide such services. Despite the various names it is referred to as or the search engine it is used on, the idea behind search engine advertising is always the same: placing an advertisement next to, above, or beneath search engine results.

How Does Search Engine Advertising Work?

The basic principle behind SEA is pretty straightforward. First, advertisers define keywords that are relevant to the respective business that advertisements are being generated for. As such, it is vital to determine the search term that people use to locate similar websites and offers on search engines. Once the keywords are determined, a draft text for an ad can be created.

After a display ad is created, you have to figure out how much you would be willing to spend a user click. Search engine advertising works on a cost per click (CPC) model, which means you only have to pay when a user clicks on your ad and is redirected to your landing page. The cost per click can be determined by advertisers; however, the frequency at which the ad is displayed is directly related to the highest amount you are willing to pay. Search engines determine the allocation of ad space via an auction.

The Goals of Search Engine Advertising

Search engine advertising provides marketers with the opportunity to have their ads placed in optimal locations in the search engine results; the locations where customers will most likely look for the product or service that they are seeking through a search query. As such, SEA utilizes high quality advertisements to respond to users’ search queries instead of hounding them with information that they might not be interested in.

Marketers often use search engine marketing as a way to meet the following objectives:

  • To increase click through rate. The click through rate refers to the amount of clicks an ad receives divided by the number of times the ad was shown. Click through rate is an important metric, as it indicates whether or not users are finding your ads relevant and helpful. The higher your click through rate, the better your ads are, and the more valuable search engines place on your ads.
  • To promote awareness of a brand. SEA is an effective tool for increasing the visibility of a brand. This is of particular importance, as it helps you stand out against the competition and draw more awareness and attention to your business.
  • To increase conversions. While all goals of SEA are important, perhaps the most important is increasing conversions. SEA can help you acquire new leads and increase the sales of the products and services you offer. Advertising programs like Google AdWords allow website owners to see how frequently their search engine advertising efforts translate to conversions.

Search Engine Advertising Tips

It stands to reason that you want to get the most out of your search engine advertising efforts. By taking the following tips into consideration, you can make the most of SEA and see real results from this marketing tool.

  • Target high quality keywords. If your keywords are ho-hum, they aren’t going to do much for your ads, or your success. If you really want to stand out against the competition, receive the best placement for your ads, and see real results, then you want to ensure that you are using the best possible keywords. As such, an important component of search engine advertising is keyword research.
  • Generate exceptional text. You want to make sure that your display ads contain high quality content that catches the eye of users, engages them, and encourages them to click. The process involves trial and error. If you find that your content isn’t yielding the results that you desire, make changes and improve it. Research to see what type of content other businesses in your industry are using in their averts and apply and use them as a guide when drafting your own content.
  • Keep track of your results. Stay on top of your click through rate so that you can determine how effective your SEA efforts are. Your click through rate can be used to see what keywords are working and what keywords aren’t. If your click through rate is low, make efforts to improve your keywords so you can improve your rate.


When the proper strategies are applied, search engine advertising can have a significant impact on the success of a business. For that reason, taking advantage of this marketing tool is highly suggested by top marketers.

Press releases

tyBit® Announces Continuation Of FREE Search Engine Advertising
(FAYETTEVILLE, NC) February 28, 2008. Client-side search application, tyBit® announced today that since the opening of its Free adScriber™ Program, thousands of businesses have taken advantage of FREE advertising on the tyBit Unified Search® application. “This is an interesting approach to search advertising,” said William Presley, OSL Search Analyst.
Easy Search Advertising – The New Search Engine Advertising Solution for Small Business
Perth, Western Australia August 10, 2007 – As a part of their on-going commitment to helping small business increase their visibility and traffic online, ineedhits (, a leading search engine marketing company, have released Easy Search Advertising - a new and improved version of their popular Google and Yahoo!
Search Engine Advertising Services Market to See Huge Growth by 2026 | Google Ads (formerly AdWords), Bing Ads, WordStream Advisor
Global Search Engine Advertising Services Market Report 2020 is latest research study released by HTF MI evaluating the market, highlighting opportunities, risk side analysis, and leveraged with strategic and tactical decision-making support. The study provides information on market trends and development, drivers, capacities, technologies, and on the changing investment structure
Online Advertising Market : Search engine advertising and pay per click marketing are the fastest evolving advertising concepts, 2015 - 2021
Online advertising is likewise known as internet advertising or digital advertising which makes usage of the cyberspace to communicate the promotional marketing message to the customers. The online advertising term is broadly categorized on the basis of types of advertising which includes search engine optimization (SEO), banner marketing, search engine advertising
Search Engine Advertising Services Market Modest Analysis with Global Business Trends, Share, Progress Insight, Statistics, Regional and Forecast to 2026
(United States, OR, Portland): New Research Report on Search Engine Advertising Services Market which covers Market Overview, Future Economic Impact, Competition by Manufacturers, Supply (Production), and Consumption Analysis. Global Search Engine Advertising Services Market is majorly driven by key factors and offers an in-depth insight about the Search Engine Advertising Services