SEA or Search Engine Advertising explained

You just have to have a website and the customers will find you automatically. Sounds too good to be true? It is. There are so many websites and competitors out there that potential customers won't just land on your website. So you'll have to do a bit more than just be 'online'. SEA or Search Engine Advertising goes a long way!

Difference between SEA and SEO

Fortunately, there are various ways of increasing your online visibility, such as investing in SEO(Search Engine Optimisation). This means that you optimise your website for search engines, such as Google, in order to be found faster and better in an 'organic' way. SEO is, however, a long-term process.

If you want to be found better in the search results of Google in the short term, Google Ads is a good option. Google Ads is one of the better known SEA (Search Engine Advertising) possibilities. Below you can see the difference between organic results and ads via Google Ads.

Besides the search network, you can also advertise via display ads. Moreover, there is also the possibility to advertise in apps, there is such a thing as shopping ads and video ads are possible.

So there is plenty of choice to boost your website's ranking quickly thanks to SEA. However, we will now limit ourselves to the 2 most common types: search and display ads.

Difference between search network and display network


Advertisements within the search network can be shown in:

  • Google 's own search engine, in Google Play and in Google Maps.   
  • On the websites of Google's search partners, such as in the search results on the website.                      

Advertisements within the display network can be shown in:

  • The display network of Google, with websites such as Gmail, Blogger and YouTube.
  • The display network of partners. These are millions of websites on which your ads can appear. 


Whether you choose a search or a display ad depends on the goal of your SEA campaign:

  • In the search network, you want to reach people who are actively looking for a particular product or service.
  • The display network is rather based on the nature of your target audience: you want to reach people with certain interests, demographics.... This is more to generate brand awareness. It is also often used for remarketing with people who have already come into contact with your website or certain advertisements. Zalando and for example are very active in display advertising. 

SEA and Google Ads: the advantages

A major advantage of advertising with Google Ads is that the costs and revenues per keyword are measurable. You can therefore continuously adjust and optimise your keywords and bids.

In addition, you can also target by location, so that your ad is not sold to just anyone. For example, if you are a regional bicycle seller, then of course you only want your ads to be clicked by potential customers in the region.

Another possibility is to advertise on certain times or days. For example, as a restaurant owner, you may want to advertise only on the days you are actually open and maybe only 1 or 2 hours before you open to maximise conversions.

How does Google Ads work?

With Google Ads , you pay the CPC (Cost-Per-Click) on an ad. You can set the maximum CPC you want to spend. An auction system then determines the position and number of times your ad is shown. The quality score is also important. This is determined by:

  • The expected CTR (Click-Through-Rate) of the ad.
  • The relevance of the landing page compared to the advertisement.
  • The relevance of the keyword.

Together with the effective bid, the above factors determine the Ad Rank of your ad. Based on your Ad Rank the position of your ad in Google is determined. It is important to know that you always pay the bid of the competitor who is ranked just below you plus 1 eurocent. 

What are the disadvantages of Google Ads?

Of course, the costs for your campaigns can quickly mount up if you don't keep track of who clicks on your ads. Not everyone is equally attentive when they click on a message and you end up with irrelevant clicks.

One reason for this could be that your keywords are too broad. Take, for example, a company that rents out mobile homes. If you only enter 'mobile homes' as a keyword, you will also reach people who are looking for 'holidays with mobile homes', 'buy mobile homes', etc. These are all clicks that will ultimately lose you money and not gain you anything. 

You can monitor the relevance of your ads by tracking the bounce rate, length of sessions and number of visited pages per session in Google Analytics.

SEA case study: 300% more sales

You are not yet fully convinced of the usefulness or success of Google Ads? Then take a moment to read the case study we conducted in 2018. Dazzle client Dreambeds realised 300% more online sales with a 20% budget reduction with our help.

Recent articles

5 min

How much will a website cost in 2022?

How much does a website cost on average? You have websites of 5,000 euros but also websites of 100,000 euros. What is the difference?
5 min

Recap: SEO Benelux Meetup Ghent 5 May 2022

Recently, the SEO Benelux meetup took place in Ghent. Couldn't be there but still curious? We wrote this recap!
3 min

Google Analytics 4 replaces Universal Analytics. What does this mean now?

"Prepare for the future with Google Analytics 4". Last week, Google announced in their blog that they will soon stop supporting Universal Analytics. As of 1 ...

Dazzle BV
Braemstraat 127
9050 Gentbrugge

+32 475 60 38 94

BE 0873.618.820