What is Paid Search? Person sitting on Laptop on Wooden Floor

What is Paid Search?

Paid search is a branch of digital marketing where search engines allow businesses to show advertisements on their search engine results pages (SERPs).


Paid search is an arm of digital marketing that involves paying to appear on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) such as Google or Bing. These particular paid search results can be identified at the time of writing this, as having a little ‘Ad’ icon next to them.

Paid Search operates on a ‘pay-per-click‘ (PPC) model, meaning you are fundamentally charged on a per-click basis. Until a user clicks on your ad, you don’t pay a penny, even if that particular ad receives hundreds or thousands of impressions (The number of times your advert was displayed). This makes the Paid Search PPC model,  a measurable, trackable and controllable digital marketing channel compared with more traditional forms of offline advertising.

Each search engine has their own respective platform for setting up Paid Search advertisements, namely Google Ads and Bing Ads. Both are very similar in functionality but do differ quite dramatically in price with Google Ads costing around 3 times more than Bing Ads on average – but all for good reason…

Google now holds around 74.5% of search engine market share and so the need to rank well on Google is high for most companies. What is more astounding is that 75% of users do not even scroll past page 1, thus creating significant competition for companies to rank here and also driving the cost of appearing on first page sky high.


As a Digital Marketing Agency specialising in Paid Search (PPC), this ‘Why Paid Search‘ question gets asked a lot! In summary and for the most part, companies that are struggling to rank organically for key search terms or that need a quick, short-term boost in leads/sales/traffic should look at instigating a Paid Search campaign. As a long-term solution to boost rankings, Paid Search is however, not the answer.

As a long-term priority, companies struggling to rank on major search engines must look at their current SEO strategy and situation and make the necessary changes both on-page and off-page to begin ranking better organically. Sadly, these alterations can take months for larger websites and is often not a viable short-term option. If you worry that you may fall into this category, your first port of call should be to obtain an SEO Audit. This will help identify where your strengths and weaknesses lie with regards to SEO and what actions need to be taken to fix them. Atomic Digital Marketing do offer SEO Audits with a comprehensive action plan for you to follow – if this is of interest to you please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

So what other reasons might you instigate Paid Search campaigns?

SERP for Digital Marketing Services

Aside from a monumental reach with Paid Search Advertising, the likes of Google Ads and Bing Ads have tremendous targeting capabilities. In its most simplest sense, this means you can target very specific demographics (say Female, 20-30 year olds living in Cheshire ) – this means your adverts would only appear on the search results if the user’s demographic targeting is met. Of course, many more targeting methods beyond demographical information exist within these platforms also. 


Whether you are a startup company coming to Paid Search with a budget of £50 per month or a multi-conglomerate with millions to spend, it doesn’t matter. These platforms will allow for budgets and spend caps of all sizes.


Unlike traditional advertisement methods such as Bill Boards, TV Ads and so on, Paid Search is trackable. With a few pieces of code placed on your website, all campaigns from first click through to the enquiry stage, through to actually placing an order, are trackable and neatly laid out and presented to you from within your chosen Paid Search platform. What does this mean? It means you can calculate a pretty accurate ROI on every penny spent on Paid Search. 


If you wish to begin ranking on the likes of Google or Bing for specific keywords or phrases in the short-term in order to expand your Digital Marketing reach, open new doors and ultimately boost sales, then Paid Search is likely a great Digital Marketing channel for you. Please do not however disregard the absolute necessity to have a concrete SEO strategy in place, because Paid Search cannot for the long term replace this. SEO should be at the forefront of any companies Digital Marketing Strategy as something that requires constant attention, tweaks and research.

If instigating a Paid Search campaign or focusing on SEO is a priority of yours, Atomic Digital Marketing can help. Please get in touch below to find out how we can help you.


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