SEA (Search Engine Advertising)

SEA stands for Search Engine Advertising. SEA is a generic term for all the ways you can advertise in search engines - regardless of format and payment method.


What is SEA?

SEA is a term for advertising in search engines. The purpose of SEA is getting your business ahead of your competitors in search results by paying a search engine (e.g. Google) to display your page at the top of their results. This works by bidding on specific keywords that you think will generate valuable visitors to your website.

In other words, SEA is a paid form of advertising. SEA is a complement to SEO - Search Engine Optimization search engine optimization - which covers the optimisation of your website that you do to secure a place in the organic search results (as opposed to ads which are paid search results). 

When you first hear about SEA, a common misconception is to assume that you can just skip search engine optimisation for your site and instead throw some money at Google and expect to be number one in the search results. You certainly can, but only about 25 % of all users click on the paid search results. In other words, you're missing out on up to 75 % of your target audience if you're not also visible in organic search results.

Organic search results are in no way affected by paid advertising on Google. Working with organic and paid search results is sometimes called SEM (which is a generic term for Search Engine Marketing).

Example of SEA (search engine advertising).

SEA Marketing

Opinions differ on SEA, but the SEA experience depends largely on how your campaign is set up. If your campaign isn't done properly, and may even include negative keywords (keywords you don't want to appear on), it can quickly become both expensive and ineffective. 

Google's algorithm is more complex than just giving the top spot to the highest bidder. Google Ads, which is Google's SEA service, uses "Ad Rank" to determine who deserves the top position in paid search results. This ad rank is an internal score consisting of the following parameters, among others: 

  1. Your bid: How much money is your company willing to pay.
  2. The quality of the ad you want to display: Google assesses how relevant your ad and your linked website are to the user.
  3. In line with the above, Google assesses whether the landing page is easy to navigate, optimised for mobile, unique, loads quickly, etc.
  4. Relevance of this page to visitors: will a click on your ad provide an answer or solution to the person searching?
  5. If two ads have similar ad rankings, both can win the position.

This means that even if you have the highest bid for a particular keyword, you could still lose your position to a competitor who did a better job of delivering relevant, high-quality content to search engine users.

Frequently asked questions

What is SEA?

SEA is a term for advertising in search engines - regardless of format and form of payment.

What is SEA short for?

SEA is an acronym for Search Engine Advertising. In English, it translates to search engine advertising.

Which marketing channels include SEA?

The most common SEA marketing channels are Google Ads and Bing Ads.


Martino Mike d'Apuzzo

Partner & Senior Digital Advisor

Se forfatter

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Do you need help with your Google Marketing efforts, or are you considering whether it makes sense for your company to focus on SEO and Google Ads? Contact Martino d'Apuzzo and have a dialogue about your project.

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