An Introductory Guide: Search Engine Marketing

An Introductory Guide: Search Engine Marketing

Search engine marketing has become popular as consumers turn to the internet for information. And for good reason, Google handles at least 2 trillion search terms every year. This presents a huge opportunity to bring searchers onto your site.

A strong search engine marketing strategy can help your business generate more leads. Additionally, it can build awareness among consumers you wouldn’t otherwise reach.

But what exactly is search engine marketing? In this blog, we will explore deep into search engine marketing. But also give you actionable takeaways to grow your business online.


What is a Search Engine?

Before we jump into search engine marketing. How do we define a search engine?

A program that searches for and identifies items in a database that correspond to keywords or characters specified by user, used especially for finding particular sites on the world wide web - Digital Marketing Institute

Search engines identify items in the database relevant to keywords or characters specified by the user. Results will display these results are known as Search Engine Results Page (SERPs).

Search Engine Results Page (SERPs) Explained

The SERPs page of search engines will display paid and non-paid results. Paid advertising generally take up the first 2-4 results and marked as an ads. These advertisements contribute to how search engines make a large part of their revenue. You can set up advertisement in Google Adwords or Bing Ads.

Non-paid result or organic results display below the paid results. These results are what Google identifies most relevant and trustworthy.

Users will often click on organic results over the paid results as they are considered more trustworthy.


Search Engine Result Page (SERPs)

How Do Search Engines Work (Organic)?

Search engines produce the organic results by crawling, indexing and ranking webpages.

  1. Crawlers are bots that crawl the web finding and following links.

  2. The indexer will then process what the crawler finds and builds an index.

  3. The query engine, such as, will interpret users searches. Then pull the most relevant and trustworthy results from the index.

How Do Search Engines Work (Paid)?

How search engines work for paid advertisement is very different. It is still a three step process:

  1. Advertisers choose the keyword they want to target advertisements on.

  2. A live action takes place to determine which advertiser is willing to bid the highest on this keyword.

  3. Quality score (I will expand on quality score later) determines if their bid is modified based on the quality of the advertisement.

Why People Use Search Engines

There are many uses for search engines. But generally, we can condense this into three search types:

  1. Transactional Queries: “I want to do or buy”
  2. Informational Queries: “I need information”
  3. Navigation Queries: “I want to go somewhere”

I could write an entire blog on each of these search types. But generally speaking, every search term can be assigned to one of these.


Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process to improve your website's visibility in the organic SERPs. Focusing on SEO tactics that help to achieve business and marketing objectives.

There are three main concepts to be aware of in SEO:

  1. Technical SEO
  2. On-page optimisation
  3. Off-page optimisation

An effective SEO strategy plans to improve each of these concepts. Let’s dive into each a little deeper.

Technical SEO

Technical SEO is making your website easy for search engines, such as Google and Bing to crawl and index.

Tactics to improve your technical SEO include but are no limited to:

  • XML sitemaps
  • Structured data
  • Site speed

These elements are a good place to start.

On-page optimisation

Once your website is technical SEO is sound, the next step is to optimised pages for Search engines.

Best practices for on-page optimisation include:

  • Title tags describe the topic and include target keyword
  • Meta description that describes the page's content
  • A strong headline related to title tag and includes target keyword
  • Valuable content that explains the topic in detail. It's proven longer content ranks higher in SERPs
  • Images should contain alt text.
  • Build links to other pages on your website. And outbound links to relevant, high-quality external pages.

Every page should have a call-to-action telling your visitors what to do next

Off-page optimisation

Unlike on-page SEO, off-page SEO involves techniques implemented away from your page. Often known as link building, but this isn’t the only way to improve SEO off-page.

Some off page SEO practices include:

  • Backlink analysis

  • Social Media profiles

  • Google my business

  • Review sites


Paid Search (PPC)

Pay Per Click (PPC) is an online advertising model commonly used in search engines because the advertiser only pays when an ad is clicked. Unlike search engine optimisation, PPC gets instantaneous visitors to your website as soon as you launch a campaign.

PPC has a lot of industry terminology to be aware of and I will cover the more important ones.

  • Keywords: the search terms advertisers place ads on

  • Impressions: how often your ad appears in SERPs

  • Clicks: how often your ad is clicked on

  • Click-Through-Rate (CTR): percentage of impressions that lead to a click

  • Landing Page: the page on your website you send a click to

  • Conversion Rate: percentage of visits to your website that result in a conversion

There is much more terminology we could explain but for simplicity I only cover the above.


Google Adwords

Google Adwords is an advertising service offers by Google. For displaying ads within Google and their search network. It is the most popular search engine advertising product.

Google Adwords is where you will set your bidding strategies, budget, scheduling, campaigns and ad groups. Let’s jump into this more.

Bidding Strategy

When you first begin advertising in Adwords you will need to decide how you wish to manage your budget. Do you want to:

  • Cost-per-click (CPC)

  • Cost per thousand impressions (CPM)

  • Cost per Acquisition (CPA)

  • Target Return on Ad Spend (ROAS)

You can also control your spend on a daily basis so you will never go over budget. If you know your ads will perform best at certain times in the day you can use ad scheduling to get the most of your ad spend.

Campaigns and Adgroups

Structuring your account in Adwords is super important. It will impact the success of your ads.

An Adwords account should be structure as seen below:


Adwords campaigns are a collection of one or more ad groups. An ad group contains keywords you want to advertise, as well as variations of ads associated with your keywords.

Best practice is to keep ad groups very specific with not too many keywords. This results in more target ads to send more qualified traffic to your website.

Campaign Targeting

There are several different options for campaigns in Adwords:

  • Search Network (Google Search & Search Partners)
  • Search Network with Display
  • Display Network Only
  • Shopping
  • Video
  • Universal App Campaign


You can also target campaigns to specific devices, such as desktop, mobile and tablets.

To keep this guide simple I will only focus on search network campaigns.

Location & Language Targeting

Adwords allows you to target ads by continent, country, region, city. But let's get even as granular as drawing a radius map.

You can also target by language. But it's based on the language settings with the user's Google account.

Ad Group Targeting

A critical decision when you are adding keywords to ad groups in your campaign is to decide what ‘match type’. There are four match types in from Google Adwords:

A critical decision when you are adding keywords to ad groups in your campaign is to decide what ‘match type’. There are four match types in from Google Adwords:

Broad Match:

Broad match is the default match type and assigned to all your keywords. Ads may show on searches that include misspellings and synonyms. But also related searches and other relevant variations.

  • Example keyword: women's hats
  • Example search: buy ladies hats

Broad Match Modifier:

Ads may show on searches that contain the modified term (or close variations, but not synonyms), in any order.

  • Symbol: +keyword
  • Example keyword: +women's +hats
  • Example search: hats for women

Phrase Match:

Ads may show on searches that are a phrase, and close variations of that phrase.

  • Symbol: "keyword"
  • Example keyword: "women's hats"
  • Example search: buy women's hats

Exact Match:

Ads may show on searches that are an exact term and close variations of that exact term.

  • Symbol: [keyword]
  • Example keyword: [women's hats]
  • Example search: women's hats

Negative Match:

I must also mention negative match, Ads will not appear if the keyword is part of the search.

  • Symbol: -keyword
  • Example keyword: -women
  • Example search: baseball hats

Creating your ads

For each of your ad groups you must have one or more ads that will appear in SERPs. Here is an example of an ad:


Components of Expanded text ads:

  • Ad Headline: Ads have two headline fields you have up to 30 characters per headline. The headlines will appear next to each other, separated by a hyphen. Depending on the size of your potential customer’s screen, they may wrap to a second line.
  • Description line: you have 80-character description field to control your ads messaging.
  • Display URL: based on your final URL domain. For example, if your final URL is, your ad’s display URL will show as
  • Display URL can include two optional “Path” fields. The text that you put in the path fields doesn’t necessarily have to be part of your website’s URL. But it should be related to the content on your landing page. So if your final URL is, you might want your path text to be “Hiking” and “Shoes”. So your ad’s display URL is
  • Text ads are mobile-optimised: Expanded text ads are mobile-optimised automatically.

Here is a screengrab from the Adwords interface:


Measuring PPC Success

It is important to measure the success of your paid search campaigns. This is an extensive topic and will need to covered in another blog.

I will keep it simple and focus on key metrics to watch. The illustration below paints a simple picture of how to measure PPC.


Impressions: the number of times your ad has appeared in SERPS

Clicks: the number of clicks your ad has received.

Conversions: the number of conversions divided by the total ad clicks.

To determine the success of a campaign look at the money you've spent versus the profit you have made from leads or sales.


What you’ve learned

Now you have had an introduction to search engine marketing you can see the potential.

You understand to rank in Google’s search results you need to make your site crawlable and indexable. Optimise great content that and build authoritative links from other sites.

PPC is super powerful to show targeted ads in within your budget. Through Google’s advertising platform you can deliver targeted ads driving the right traffic to your website.

Want to get noticed online? Internetrixare your Search Engine Marketing experts. We manage digital marketing campaigns which get results. Pick up the phone, Live Chat, or email us if you would like us to share our skills and knowledge to achieve your business goals and targets.

Add Your Comment

Comments (8)

Softghor 23/02/2020 5:45pm

The article is really worth the time with all the details, especially the PPC part of it. A quick and simple guide and the example completes it all as a self-explanation.

Areej FAtima 13/11/2019 5:11am

Thanks for this Great information. Good Job

Manu Alias 24/10/2019 4:41pm

Hi Tom,

Well said and covered every single point in a simple way. I would prefer to see another posts which explain about off-site seo techniques.


ashwin jain 26/07/2019 5:49pm

i would like to say that this article is really very informative as well as very interesting so every intern who is in field of technology must read this

ashwin jain 15/07/2019 8:21pm

a very amazing and very informative article regarding search engine digital marketing. an article with very systematic and well managed page that should be read by every digital marketing intern

Sunderbharathi Reddiar 12/06/2019 4:32pm

The article is really worth the time with all the details, especially the PPC part of it. Would love to read a further explanation of each sub-topics of the page. Eg: On page optimisation.

Sunderbharathi Reddiar 01/06/2019 6:59pm

Appreciate the effort in a blog post to show both organic and paid search engine. A quick and simple guide and the example completes it all as a self-explanation.

Duke Vukadinovic 30/05/2017 10:23pm

I really enjoyed reading this one. You clearly showed how search engine marketing isn’t just about dropping a few keywords into a search bar anymore… It’s much more than that!

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