The process of displaying ads on SERPs (search engine result pages) showing results after a particular keyword has been searched by a user on a search engine, is search advertising. Search engines also display ads on web pages across different websites using similar advertising methods.
For advertisers, this kind of targeting that matches the searched keyword is a highly attractive advertising option. Consumers feel encouraged to click on such ads that appear on SERPs as these are directly related to the keywords they search, that again could be directly linked to what they intend to buy, e.g. ‘white formal shirt.’ Customers are inclined to click on such ads on the search engine as it offers them wider purchasing options in addition to the other results on the SERPs.
The other advantage with search advertising is that most consumers consider them less intrusive than popup and to some extent banner ads that play havoc with the user’s search for specific information or even his purchase journey. Generally, the ads on the SERPs are in line with what the consumer is looking for and in many cases it could even be way better than many of the results on the first SERP. It’s well-known that in search metrics that the first SERP is what matters as 90% or more of the users don’t go to any other page. These are not free ads made available Google and other search engines; these ads have to be paid for and that makes them qualitatively better and closer to the search term.
Time is of great essence to the online consumer because he needs to look up as many options as he possibly can. If his search is disrupted by unwelcome popup ads that may not be as close to what he is searching for, it will only add to what he considers, wasted time. However, with sponsored or paid ads, that is not the case as they are mostly in line with the searched keywords and they are as good and sometimes, even better than the other results on the first SERP. Over time, search advertising has become another viable option for the online marketer in addition to search engine optimization and social media marketing.
How it works
Search engines sell these ads to advertisers and media buying agencies on the basis of keywords. In many ways, it is based on what is known as organic search wherein the user’s keywords generates the SERP. This SERP determines the cost of the ad as keywords are ranked according to their popularity. Hence, an ad on an SERP for a keyword that is very popular is going to be way more expensive than one on an SERP which is not as popular. The cost is also determined by a few other factors but primarily, it is the popularity of the keyword being searched that determines the cost of the ad.
Advertisers interested in buying search advertising space on SERPs are required to bid for the space on auctions that sell such space based on keywords and their popularity which determines revenue potential of the SERP. We know that search engines have indexes of web pages that list the pages on various attributes complying with the specific updates of the search engine. A particular kind of software robot, known as web crawler is used by the search engines to build the index listing the web pages. They use this indexing technology to determine the value of the ad space on the particular SERP based on the keywords.
When the website owner makes his web page available for displaying ads on a search engine, the embedded indexing determines the cost the buyer of the ad space will have to pay and the ad revenue the web page owner will earn. There are many ways to look at the opportunities that search advertising offer to not just the search engines and the web site owner but also to the advertiser or marketer. For the marketer, it amounts to organic traffic into his site which often ends in sales conversions since the consumer comes with a predetermined aim of making a purchase. After all, he had searched with the specific keyword which is the item he wants to buy.
In any website analysis, organic traffic, which is the traffic that comes to a website from search engines, has a special place. It indicates higher quality of the website getting this traffic because it is most likely that the user would have searched with a particular keyword that is relevant to this website. It therefore means that this website ranks very high on the first SERP, especially on the top five. That’s the space for which the most popular web pages compete and it is sometimes occupied by ads because even search advertising depends on the popularity of the website that is displaying the advertisement.