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Search engine advertising: How it works

Every website owner wants as many visitors as possible to come to his website. The possibilities of SEA and SEO are great tools for this. This article clarifies which method is best and what SEA actually means.

What is SEA?

SEA is the short form of the English term Search Engine Advertising and is an important part of search engine marketing. In German, SEA is therefore also referred to as search engine advertising.

This form of advertising takes place – as the name suggests – via search engines such as Google, Yahoo or Bing. Those who use SEA will therefore find their website above the organic search results and will be marked with the word “ad”.

What is SEA used for?

As already mentioned, websites that use SEA are displayed very high up in the search results. Website operators thus pay for their site to land in the top search results. This has the great advantage that more users become aware of it. In most cases, it is the first search results that are selected and clicked on for a search query.

Those who use SEA can thus record higher traffic on the website. Traffic is the number of people who visit the website. Those who sell products on their website benefit from this increased traffic, because the more Internet users come into contact with the products, the more sales will occur.

How does SEA work?

Anyone who wants to use SEA to achieve more traffic or higher sales should seek advice from an SEA agency. This can respond individually to the website and find the strategy that fits best.

Search engine advertising works in the same way as search engine optimization with the help of keywords. Before optimization, you determine which keywords you want to optimize for. For example, if you sell car tires on your website, the keyword should go in this direction and not be about any other topic.

In order to find keywords that ensure that the right target group is on the website, a keyword research is suitable. This task is also done by an external SEA agency and there are tools for this on the Internet.

To be positioned as high as possible in the search results, you have to pay fees. However, only when someone clicks on the ad. Therefore, this form of billing is called cost per click or CPC, which is derived from the English cost per click. The costs vary depending on how high the competition is for a particular keyword and where the ad is positioned.


Anyone who runs a website has certainly already had some experience with SEO. Search engine optimization aims to optimize a website so that it can be found better by the relevant target group. For this purpose, a keyword is also defined. Texts and other page content are adapted so that the website is found as well as possible. Unlike SEA, SEO does not incur any costs when someone clicks on the website. Which method is therefore more suitable?

Advantages and disadvantages of SEA

Search engine advertising has the advantage that once the ad is placed, the website gets more attention. Although you pay something for it, however, you see the results immediately, whereas website operators who practice SEO have to wait a little for their successes at first. Therefore, if you want to achieve high visibility in a short time, you should rely on SEA.

The big disadvantage of SEA, however, is that the visibility is gone as quickly as you built it up. The work of search engine advertising is therefore not sustainable, whereas SEO achieves sustainable results, but only after a certain time.

With SEA, by the way, only the keywords that have been booked are taken into account. With search engine optimization, things are a bit different: here, you can rank well for several keywords, which maximizes the chances of high visibility.

For this reason, a mix of SEA and SEO is often advisable, and it’s always wise to consult an expert first.



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