Search Advertising is a powerful digital marketing tactic that places your advertising in front of consumers who are actively looking for your product or service.

What is Search Engine Marketing?

Search Advertising, also known as “paid search advertising”, “Google advertising”, and “search engine marketing (SEM)” is a marketing technique that places online advertising in search engine results.

Businesses who place ads in search results pay a small fee every time someone clicks on one of their ads (known as “pay-per-click” advertising.)

Search advertising is an effective form of advertising because people who search on Google, or other search engines, reveal a lot about their intent when they search.

Advertisers have the opportunity to bid on keywords so their ads show up when people are looking for the kinds of things they sell.

There are Four Types of Intent Revealed in Search.

  1. Navigational: The user looks to find a certain site and get to it.  Search query examples may include: “The Keene Sentinel”, “YouTube” or “CNN News”.
  2. Informational: The user’s intent is to collect information and/or to acquire knowledge in one field or another. Examples may include: “IPhone XS review”, “What is Bitcoin”, “How do I fix my lawnmower.”
  3. Commercial: The user searching for purchase information such as “coffee shops near me”, “yoga studio”, or “personal injury lawyer”.
  4. Transactional: The user is prepared to perform some type of web-based activity including “subscribe to NetFlix”, buy Amazon gift card”, or “get car insurance quotes.”

Although there are several search engines available to consumers, Google is by far the largest commanding some 92% of all searches.  Google performs 1.2 trillion queries per year with 3.5 billion users daily and 40,000 searches per second.  Search share of U.S. advertising spend is 42%.

Google Ads offers a virtually unlimited number of opportunities to local business looking to increase sales.

Why is Search Advertising Such a Good Investment for Local Business?

Search Advertising makes a good marketing investment because it provides a cost-effective way for businesses of all sizes to reach a virtually unlimited, highly targeted audience.  Search engines offer terrific flexibility as you can start, stop, pause, or even adjust your program at any time.

As well, the pay-for-performance pricing model is a tremendous advantage for small business with a tight marketing budget.  And, having the ability to focus on long-tail, niche and local keywords allows you to avoid competing with big brands that have large advertising budgets.

Although these niche and local keywords may not receive as many clicks as broader terms, they’re much more effective for driving conversions.

Here are some statistics to demonstrate search advertising usage and effectiveness:

  • 63% of people have clicked on a search ad.
  • 65% of small-medium sized business have an SEM campaign.
  • 46% of clicks go to the top three paid ads in search results.
  • 35% of users purchase a product within 5 days of searching on Google.
  • Google delivers and 8:1 return-on-investment or $8.00 for every $1.00 spent.

What is the difference between SEM and SEO?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) focuses on optimization of a website for organic search visibility and traffic.  SEO emphasizes long-term growth while Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a paid advertising vehicle which delivers immediate results.

How Does Google SEM Work?

Google is the world’s leading provider of search advertising.  It’s AdWords service allows companies to place their ads based on the queries users enter into their search box.

When the results page (Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) is displayed, there are paid ad boxes with relevant ads displayed next to organic results.  In Google SERPs, sponsored (or paid) entries are typically displayed as the top few results, and some are also displayed at the bottom of the page.  Google marks paid search results with a small “ad” symbol.

Businesses which advertise in the search results are not charged until someone clicks on one of their ads.

The first step in purchasing search advertising on Google or other search engines is to identify appropriate keywords.  A keyword is a term used in digital marketing to describe a word or group of words an internet user uses to perform a search.

Keywords should be developed and carefully selected before launching a paid search advertising campaign.

Google prices their keywords on an auction-like system where businesses bid to appear in certain search results.  When and where your ads appear, as well as how much you pay-per-click, is determined by a few factors including your bid as well as your quality score, a measure of the relevance of your ads to the keyword you are bidding on.

The Quality Score system is important because it encourages advertisers to create high-quality ad campaigns that serve search engine users well.

Where Does Search Advertising Work Best Within the Customer Journey?

Search advertising is ideal in the Consideration and Purchase phases of the customer journey driving website traffic, purchases, in-store visits, leads and phone calls.

Learn more about the value of understanding the customer journey read here:

Search Advertising Can Add a Tremendous Amount of Value to Your Advertising Campaign:

  • Unlimited Potential: GoogleAds is a scalable marketing tactic with millions of keywords to bid on.  The target audience is virtually unlimited.
  • Compete More Effectively: Competing on keywords can distinguish your business and deliver competitive advantage.
  • Level The Playing Field: Because Google prioritizes quality and relevancy, high quality optimized sites don’t have to bid as high to compete for keywords.
  • A Wide Range of Ad Formats: Features including location targeting, ad extensions, interactive maps, display ads, and shopping ads, among others, offers incredible customization and control over the ad experience.
  • Targeting Customers When They’re Engaged: This all works while your customers are actively in the market for a product or service that you sell.
  • Performance Tracking & Analytics: Google ads software is brimming with valuable and insightful analytics.

Sentinel Solutions understands search advertising and all its complexity.  We can develop a custom and integrated multimedia marketing program, including search, to help your business grow.

Give us a call if we can help at 603-352-5896 or e-mail to  We’re here to help you succeed.




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