.h2infographic { color:#1fffcb; font-weight:900; }

What Is
Search Marketing?

Welcome to search marketing 101. Below you’ll find some frequently asked questions, examples and best practices on search marketing. 

What Is Search Marketing?

Search marketing is the process that businesses use to attract potential buyers to their online presence (with the hopes of selling a product or service) based on what the online-searcher is typing into one of the major search engines.

This is typically the done by promoting their website or ads in prominent places within search engines (such as Google or Bing). However, this increased visibility in the search engines does not necessarily have to be paid ad. More on types of promotions later. 

what is search marketing

What's The Goal of Search Marketing?

Eyeballs eyeballs and more eyeballs. 

The goal of any search marketing campaign is to match your existing services and products with the users that will benefit most. This ideal match will be mutually beneficial, i.e. your business makes a sale and the customer goes home happy because your product or service has solved the problem they initially set out to fix.

Because search marketing takes into account exactly what the online browser is typing into Google, it’s important to show specific blog content or paid ads to create a match based on what users are searching for and that exact content on your website. It also important to take into account where your potential customer is in their buying journey (more on this later).  

What Can It Do For My Business?
Search Marketing Example:

  • (skip this entire blue section if you don’t want to read through a full example that covers the perspective of both the potential customer and business owner from start to finish)

The goal of any marketing campaign is to get more eyeballs on what it is that you do. Whether you own a bakery are a real estate agent, lawyer, or create software (SAS) the framework and strategy is all the same behind-the-scenes. 

Let’s dive into a search marketing example below.

1. The Goal: I Want Muffins...

Here’s The Customer Goal: Tom & Jerry want to find the best  blueberry muffin in town and I want it delivered to their house. 

Here’s The Business Owner Goal: Get their muffin-baking business into the Google search results for hungry customers like Tom & Jerry to be able to order their products to their home.

2. Customer Journey Start

Tom & Jerry have fired up their dial-up internet and log into Google. They have decided that it would be best to first type into the Google’s search bar “Blueberry Muffins Delivered Near Me.”

They click search and a whole list of options are presented to them. Now…which one to click on?

Ideally, from Tom & Jerry’s perspective they’ll start skimming Google’s search results and looking for words that match their original search query “Blueberry Muffins Delivered Near Me.” As a business owner, you’ll want to create a match between their searching intent and buying-intent. More on what this is below.

3. Business Owner: Initial Considerations

As the business owner of a baking company that specializes in muffins, you’ll want to get your content and business links into the search results. This can be through paid (Google Ads),  free (SEO organic traffic) or a combination of both website traffic methods. 

Let’s assume you want to expedite the process and don’t have the time or energy to create a blog and optimize it for the search results (more on this later). You decide to go through the setup of Google ads and want to set your budget for $200 for the month to test it out. 

Now What?

4. Business Owner: Setting Up a Paid Search Marketing Campaign

You decide that Google ads, pay-per-click, advertising will be a good solution because you can control the spend of each click and maintain control over where your ads show. 

The basis of any search marketing campaign is based on the keywords that you target. What’s a keyword you ask? It’s just a fancy term for a word, phrase or question that someone types into Google. 

Example: blueberry muffins

That’s a keyword, plain and simple. The trick is to make sure there’s actually going to be a good search volume with the words you are targeting and a match between the searcher-intent. For example, the keyword “blueberry muffins” would be highly relevant to both the bakery business that makes the fresh muffins as well as to Tom and Jerry in their Google search results. 

5. Here's Where a Lot of Companies Go Rogue

Taking the time to do the initial research for your Paid Google Search Campaign will save you $$$ in the long run. 

As the business owner, you’ve created a search ad based on the keyword “blueberry muffins” but all of a sudden Tom & Jerry go rogue… they now want Gluten Free blueberry muffins delivered to their home.

Google, and other search advertising companies, are businesses…don’t forget that. They profit each time an irrelevant click gets credited to your account. If Tom & Jerry all of a sudden type into Google gluten free blueberry muffins, your ad is most likely still relevant to show even if that’s not what your business does. 

You’ll most likely (if you haven’t set it up before) have to go into your Google Ad campaign and tell Google to not show your ad to any Gluten free-searchers. Yes, they are still muffins but from Tom & Jerry’s perspective your regular blueberry muffin ad, or blog post, is no longer relevant to their buying-intent.

Remember, in this example Tom & Jerry also want whatever company they end up clicking on to also deliver the muffins to their home. If your company does not provide the product or service (home delivery in this example) to the searching customer there’s no use trying to sell them what they’re not interested in. *exceptions to this can be within the Fortune 500 budget because you have thousands of dollars to spend on trying to convert them over time and just want all the eyeballs (however irrelevant) to see your ad or blog content.

To all other small and mid-sized businesses, relevancy within the search results is going to be your best friend. 

6. Search Marketing Optimization Techniques

Whether you have a PPC campaign running or are working on your website’s SEO (search engine optimization), the same principles of relevancy and other search marketing best practices make up the foundation. Here’s a quick list of some of the major optimization techniques that any search marketing campaign should adhere to…

7. After The Click Optimization

You as the business owner have now gone through and created a search ad campaign based on a match between your products & services and what your potential customer will be searching for. Great! Now what?

Being a saavy business owner, you’ve most likely directed Tom & Jerry to a dedicated landing page all about blueberry muffins. Here the pair of them can browse your photos, view your pricing and also learn that yes indeed…you do offer home delivery service. 

Seems like a perfect match. Except for one thing…your competition. Yes, capitalism. 

8. Darn Deal-Seekers...

Tom & Jerry have successfully found the solution (your product, the blueberry muffins) to their problem (hunger) but being the deal-seekers that they are start debating amongst themselves whether or not this is the best deal for their budget. 

Just because you have directed the relevant online searcher (i.e. Tom & Jerry) to the proper business offer does not mean that they will end up choosing you. They remember seeing dozens of similar solutions to their initial query on the first page of Google. 

Your goal now, as the business owner, is to retain Tom & Jerry’s business and not let your click be in vain. 

9. The Sale: Matching Buying-Intent

You won’t convert (or sell) every relevant click because…well life happens. Perhaps the phone rang mid-checkout, a zombie virus ran rampant in their city or the timing just wasn’t right. 

In the example of Tom & Jerry, it’s most likely that if they search for “blueberry muffins delivered near me” they are almost certainly ready to purchase, it’s just a matter of from whom. 

Remember, Tom & Jerry have debated amongst themselves and realized that they want to get the best price deal on muffins (even if they are not necessarily the best quality). They are willing to sacrifice the freshly baked muffins to the company that will deliver the cheapest. They start to move their mouse to exit the page and all of a sudden…what’s this? A popup appears on your bakery’s website that states “first order free for all new customers.” 

Tom & Jerry can’t resist this deal and don’t want to waste any more of their time so they signup and purchase a dozen of muffins to-be-delivered. Phew..that was a close one. You managed to retain Tom & Jerry and they even bought your muffins but what if they wanted the fastest deliver service, regardless of price, or the bakery that’s closest to their location? 

These factors and a whole list of other factors are buying-intent components that are not necessarily determined from the initial search result. Tom & Jerry wanted answers fast, and like most users, without having to jump through hoops to get there. Because of this, one of the advanced optimization techniques (after the click) is going to be anticipating the type of buyer and how they are further going to segment themselves down the road (more on advanced anticipation techniques in a future post).

why is search marketing good

Why It's Better Than Display Marketing

One of the main differences between search marketing and display ads…or those on the radio, tv or newspaper, is that your online searcher has told you exactly what they are looking for and there’s no guesswork for interpretation.

Now, it’s up to the business to targeted ranking strategies that promote your content or ads into higher positions (closer to the top of the page) within the search results. 

The Cost of Search Marketing

So often, I get the question “how much does search marketing cost?” If you’re a small business, entrepreneur or freelancer, I highly recommend starting small, taking the time to figure out what works and then double down on those lead-generation strategies. 

With PPC (pay-per-click) search marketing you can tell Google exactly how much you are willing to pay per click. This could range between .10 cents and upwards of $50. Wait… $50!? That’s insane, right? For industries where the average sale is $10,000+, to get a qualified lead for $50 is a bargain (especially if the competition doesn’t fine-tune their keyword targeting).

Some of the other factors that actually determine how much you will pay per click are:

Where To Direct New Visitors

When you direct a user to your site you’ll want to pair them with the exact type of content that they were initially search for. That means if someone was searching for “gluten free blueberry muffins” on Google you had best direct them to the exact type of muffin that they need. If you’re trying to sell a non-gluten free muffin to someone searching for a gluten-free option, there’s always going to be a mismatch between searching-intent and offer presented. Not all muffins are created equally and not every product/service is for everyone.

Troubleshooting Search Marketing Traffic

What I see a fair amount of companies doing, is showing ads that promote the wrong type of offer for the searcher’s intent. This is typically when I hear things like “I’ve tried Google ads and SEO and it doesn’t work.” Most often there is a mismatch between the potential customer’s search and what your ad says.

If you read through the example above, you’ll get some insight on exactly where a mismatch could stem from.

Popular Search Marketing Platforms

Search marketing is the process that businesses use to attract potential buyers to their online presence (with the hopes of selling a product or service). 

This is typically the done by promoting their website or ads in prominent places within search engines (such as Google or Bing). – More on types of promotions later. 

Questions or Comments Welcome

Have questions about search engine marketing? Start up a conversation by filling out the form here. I’ll try my best to answer your question or point you in the right direction. 


Jon resides between the realms of analytical (Google Analytics, PPC) and creative (motion graphics, WordPress). Jon believes data-driven optimization techniques are the basis for any creative ads and organic traffic improvements.

Picture of Jon Gomes

Jon Gomes

I've been in the sales and marketing realm for over a decade. My favorite type of lead generation strategy is 'inbound marketing,' using a variety of creative digital techniques.


Thanks for stopping by! Ready to move forward?

Choose an option below to get started:

Last Page
Choose To Start: *
Your Name: *
Best Email For Communication: *
Share Your Details: