Search marketing is the modern land-grab where pay-per-click ads are integral.
This isn't 2001 where the search results were all organic. While you may rank high, there are usually ads above your organic listing.
It's a real-estate land grab where you're competing for eyeballs. In the olden days of 2001, all you had to worry about was organic search engine ranking to get your website found. But since then, there have been ads above and below the search results. In addition to those 2-4 ads above the organic results, those ads can now be larger taking up more screen real-estate than a few years ago. With 70% of searches performed on smartphones now, the effect can be devastating to some online businesses. One ad can even take up the entire mobile device screen.
With potential advertising costs rising every day with increasing demand, the website needs to be integrated with complete tracking tags for both organic and paid visitors & conversions (leads/phone calls/sales). Real-time data analysis is required to monitor the cost-per-visitor and cost-per-conversion to be compared with actual net-present-value per conversion (lifetime net profit) in order to determine ad spend levels per search.
And, today, it's more than just a pay-for-play advertising game. The search engines leverage an artificial intelligence backend to determine which ads to show in which position for any given search. The AI is considering factors such as the searchers last searches to interpret their current "intent". It is looking at the quality of a web page and the ad text to determine the potential value to a searcher. While we try to design ads to maximize real-estate to block competitors, we need to consider the ad and web page Quality Score to raise the likelihood of the AI selecting the ad over competitors allowing for lower overall ad spend. More "rocket science" applied here based on overall experience and legacy data analyzed within each advertising account.