Search engine advertising is a form of Internet marketing that seeks to promote websites by increasing their visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs). Besides the advertising, search engine marketing (SEM) can be done also through search engine optimization (SEO).
Search engine advertising is using online advertisements on web pages that show results from search engine queries. Paid search engine advertising campaigns are made up of keywords that trigger text link listings at the top and down the right side of a search engine results page (SERP).1)
The following figure shows where search engine advertising appears on Google:
Search engine advertising follows a pay-for-placement model which guarantees top positions in the search engine in exchange for payment. Advertisers bid for position in those results, paying when a click occurs on their ads linking to their website. Unlike traditional print advertising, where the price is based on cost-per-thousands impressions, search engine advertising delivers potential customers on a per-click basis.2)
Paid search engine advertising provides an efficient way for all kind of business to address groups of people most likely to be interested in their products and services. Unlike advertising in traditional media that typically requires the marketer to pay the publisher for messages that may not be seen, search engine advertising is more targeted. It is designed to appeal just at the time when the individual is most receptive and most likely to take advantage of, or convert to, a marketing offer.
Pay per click search engine advertising is unlike traditional forms of advertising, marketing and promotion. One of its most important characteristics is it is nonintrusive nature. Unlike advertising that uses time-honoured techniques to distract or interrupt prospective customers from whatever they are doing, it is delivered only to potential customers when they are actually searching on keywords related to products or services contained in the ad. Nobody forces users to click on search ads. Ads on search engine results pages (SERP) are always clicked voluntarily, which means that the person who sees the ad has affirmatively decided to initiate a conversation with the marketer who has paid to run the ad in the search results.
It gives the advertiser full control over the budget and enables him to set systematic budgetary limits to minimize the financial risk and investment. The advertiser pays a rate for each visitor that accesses his website by clicking on a link on the search engine site. The amount per visitor is specified by the advertiser. Every keyword has a “bid” price, depending on the popularity of the keywords in search engines.
Paid search engine advertising campaigns are measurable in a highly granular way. This has never been possible in any advertising medium before. Unlike traditional media, where campaigns are based on estimates and focus groups, online media and paid search offer the opportunity to optimize campaigns around real results. With the right technology and tools, marketers can find out where their clicks came from, where they are going, and whether the users behind these clicks are taking advantage of their offers, converting to sales online and potentially even tracking offline behaviour.3)