Are you tired of your website lurking in the shadows of the internet, barely getting any visitors or leads? If so, it might be time to shed some light on your business with search engine marketing.
In today’s digital world, it’s crucial to have a strong online presence, and search engine marketing can help you achieve just that. By leveraging the power of search engines like Google, you can get your business in front of the right audience, at the right time, and drive more traffic and leads to your website.
In this blog, we’ll cover the following topics regarding search engine marketing:
Search engine marketing (SEM) is a digital marketing strategy that uses paid ad campaigns on search engine results pages (SERPs) to increase brand visibility and boost the number of clicks and users directed to your company website. SEM encompasses both search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. However, it’s important that SEM itself isn’t used interchangeably with SEO and PPC.
With SEM, businesses can also track, measure, and analyze the effectiveness of their paid search campaigns, allowing them to optimize their digital marketing strategy and improve their ROI. This data-driven approach helps businesses to make informed decisions about where to allocate their marketing budget and which keywords or ad copies are most effective in generating leads and driving sales.
While SEM, SEO, and PPC are all related to improving your website’s visibility on SERPs, they are different digital marketing strategies with different goals and approaches.
SEM refers to the broader category of digital marketing that involves using search engines to reach potential customers, encompassing both organic and paid search strategies.
SEO is a long-term marketing strategy that focuses on optimizing a website’s content and development structure to improve its ranking in organic search results. It involves analyzing and selecting relevant keywords, optimizing the website’s content, and building high-quality backlinks to the site to improve its authority.
On the other hand, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is a form of paid advertising that involves bidding on keywords or phrases and paying for each click on an ad. Marketing and advertising teams can create targeted ads that are displayed on search engine results pages (or social platforms) when a user searches for specific keywords. They do this by setting a budget for their campaigns and bid on specific keywords or phrases to ensure their ad appears in relevant searches..
When it comes down to it, implementing a combination of SEM strategies empowers businesses to increase their visibility in search results and drive more traffic and leads to their website.
Need help building and implementing an SEO strategy that yields long-term results? Learn how our Inbound Lead Generation service empowers growing businesses to bring leads to their sales pipelines.
SEM empowers businesses to each interested potential buyers in their target market because it focuses on targeting specific keywords and specific audiences with a commercial intent, meaning users who are looking up this product, service, or solution in their search queries are looking to make a purchase. If a user sees the value of your search ad and the landing page associated with the ad, they can submit their contact information, implementing themselves into your sales pipeline.
To get started with your search engine marketing ad campaign, you must develop a Google Ads (previously known as Google Adwords) account and enter into an ad auction. This can be done through other search engines as well, such as Bing and Yahoo.
To do this, you’ll need to identify a group of keywords that you want to bid on and the amount of money you’re willing to spend per click on those keywords.
As users put those words into their Google search bars, Google will put your bid up against others who bid on the same keywords.
But it’s not as simple as the highest bidder getting the top spot. Instead, there are two factors that Google will consider:
- Your max bid
- Your ad’s quality score
Your ad’s quality score is determined by the keywords you chose, the quality of your ad creative, and the pages the ad takes the user to.
Creating a good SEM strategy comes down to understanding how paid search ads work. You need to be able to manage the different variables that can affect performance like keywords, budget, and copy.
Creating and implementing a search engine marketing ad isn’t enough to generate leads, at least not good ones. Therefore, it’s essential that you follow the latest search engine marketing best practices.
Here are a few search engine marketing best practices for your marketing teams to consider:
Perform Thorough Keyword Research
Performing keyword research should be the first step in your SEM ad campaign creation process. Identifying and targeting relevant keywords for your campaign is essential for driving traffic and increasing conversions on your ad.
It’s essential that you implement keywords that pertain to your company’s specific product or service offerings. If you choose to use a bunch of random keywords, Google can penalize you for trying to “hack” their system. The days of putting hundreds of keywords on your site to rank your content higher than everyone else’s are over; therefore, your keywords must be relevant.
While selecting the right keywords for your SEM campaign is essential for getting the right users to your ad, it’s also important for reducing the amount of money spent on your ads. High-demand keywords are more expensive than low-demand ones; therefore, you should find and use words potential buyers are more than likely using to find your business.
Let’s use our business as an example. If we want to target the best leads for our target market, we’ll probably use one of these keywords or key phrases:
We would select these search terms for our ads because they’re conversion focused and let users know what kind of services our company has to offer. This ensures that we get the right users to click on our ad and that we are here to provide them with a solution.
Choosing the best keywords can be overwhelming if you’re not sure where to start. Luckily, there are keyword-finding tools that can help you choose the right keywords for your search ads. Here are some popular keyword tools to consider using:
- Google Keyword Planner: Google Keyword Planner is a free tool that helps advertisers research and analyze keywords for their search engine marketing campaigns. It allows users to generate keyword ideas based on relevant terms and phrases related to their products, services, or target audience.
- Google Trends: Google Trends allows you to track how often people are searching for a particular keyword. You can use this information to determine if people are still interested in that keyword. If the interest goes down, it’s an indicator that you may not want to spend money on ads for that keyword.
- Semrush: Semrush is a great tool for finding out what keywords your company can rank for. It can also be used to track how your website is performing and how much traffic you have coming to your website. Additionally, it can also help you find your main paid search competitors, which is essential when creating your own paid search strategy to outrank other businesses on SERPs.
Optimize Your Landing Pages
Landing pages are essential for catching the eye of potential buyers and keeping their attention on your brand. With a landing page, users should understand what you want them to do with the information provided. Additionally, it should relate to what they’re looking for. The ultimate goal of a landing page should be to gather their contact information so your sales reps can reach out and explore how your business can provide relief to their pain points.
Luckily, there are marketing tools that can help you observe the success of your landing pages, allowing you to see where users are engaging and where they may be falling off. Marketing technologies like Crazy Egg and Hotjar give you the ability to heatmap landing pages to show what users are spending most of their time and likely deciding to convert from users into leads.
As you build and publish your ad and landing page, it must work fast and properly without error. If your landing page is slow to load for users, your SEM efforts go to waste because there will likely be a high bounce rate.
For more insight on the impact of landing pages for lead generation, read our blog here.
Write Compelling Ad Copy
As you write copy for the SEM ad, it’s important that you make it relevant and compelling, encouraging users to click into your landing page. Therefore your meta data must contain the relevant keywords so they know what the landing page is about. However, it’s also important that copy doesn’t come across as “clickbait-y,” because this can drive users away and potentially blow your ad campaign budget without any leads in return.
While writing compelling ad copy is important for metadata, it’s also important for the landing page itself. The landing page copy must also align with the intent of the search engine marketing ad or you risk high bounce rates, resulting in low conversions and higher money spent on your campaigns.
Set Realistic Ad Budgets
The budget for search engine marketing can vary depending on various factors such as the industry served, amount of competition in the area, geographic location, and sales and marketing goals. However, a realistic ad budget for search engine marketing would typically fall within the range of $1,000 to $10,000 per month.
Small businesses or startups with limited budgets might start with a lower budget of around $1,000 to $2,000 per month to get started with search engine marketing. This budget may not allow for a significant ad spend, but it can still help generate some traffic and leads. Finding the best keywords to target can help small businesses take their budget further. For example, some target keywords are priced higher than others due to competition; therefore, as a small business, it’s important to try lower cost alternative, related keywords.
On the other hand, medium to large-sized businesses with established marketing budgets and aggressive growth goals might allocate $5,000 to $10,000 per month for search engine marketing. With a higher budget, businesses can afford to target more keywords, run multiple campaigns, and test various ad formats and targeting options.
Routinely Monitor and Adjust Campaigns as Needed
Marketing teams should monitor and adjust their search engine marketing ad campaigns to optimize their ad spend, improve campaign performance, and achieve their marketing goals. Regular monitoring allows teams to identify and address underperforming keywords, ad copy, and landing pages.
Additionally, it helps them identify new opportunities for growth and optimize their ad targeting, messaging, and bidding strategies. Continuously monitoring and adjusting campaigns allows marketing teams to ensure they’re getting the most out of their ad spend and generating a positive ROI.
Test and Experiment Different Ad Variations
Marketing teams should A/B test different ad variations to identify the most effective ad copy, messaging, and visuals that resonate with their target audience. A/B testing empowers teams to compare two or more ad variations to determine which one performs better in terms of click-through rates, conversions, and engagement.
Testing different elements such as headlines, images, call-to-actions, and landing pages empowers marketing teams to optimize their campaigns and improve their ROI. Additionally, A/B testing helps teams understand their audience better and tailor their ad messaging to meet their needs and preferences.
Focus on Improving Your Ad Quality Score
Ad quality score is a metric that measures the relevance and quality of your PPC campaigns. It’s essential to focus on your ad quality score because it’s a key factor that determines the effectiveness and cost of your ads.
A higher ad quality score indicates that your ads are relevant, engaging, and meet the needs of your target audience. As a result, this leads to higher ad rankings, lower cost per click (CPC), and a more significant ROI. On the other hand, a lower ad quality score can lead to lower ad rankings, higher CPCs, and a lower ROI.
When you focus on improving your ad quality score, you can optimize your ad campaigns and achieve better results for your business.
Getting started with an SEM strategy is simple but takes time and planning to do well. However, the best thing about SEM is that once the work is done, you can see right away whether or not it’s effective for you and your business. Budgets can be (and should be) adjusted, and new keywords or creative concepts can be developed.
If you’re unsure how to start an SEM strategy, the digital marketing experts at Abstrakt Marketing Group are here to help. We provide clients with proven SEM solutions that work together and help you grow your business. When you’re ready to maximize business growth through an advanced SEM strategy, contact the experts at Abstrakt!