In this digital era, businesses need an integrated marketing approach that makes use of all important marketing channels. One important element of digital marketing is Search Engine Marketing (SEM).
The main purpose of SEM it to put you in front of people who are searching for your products and services, and it also does this for all your competitors. To benefit from SEM, you must do more than just create a website.
Search engines can help you stay in front of online shoppers, but this can only be possible when the content fed to them is optimized property to fully utilize both natural and paid search.
Here are some of the strategies to ensure your SEM program produces the best results.
1. Index all Your Pages with the Major Search Engines
Index all your pages with MSN, Bing, and Google. Since Google usually handles most of the online searches, it will on average be the main source of search engine orders and traffic.
Search engine submission should not be a bother because the major search engines are capable of finding new sites by themselves. There are several well-documented ways of getting a page into Bing, and Google, for example, evidence and observations show that Google Plus can help with getting your site into Google.
Any decent website will be indexed pretty quickly by the main search engines. You should invest in building your site’s online reputation and making your pages relevant and richer, and keeping site visitors engaged. Never submit your website to sites where you are not sure where the link will be placed as you will be at risk of appearing in the unnatural links territory.
Note that search engine tools have issues indexing a number of dynamically generated pages. Also, the algorithms to get web pages rank high in natural search results are ever changing so there is no guarantee that what worked a few months ago will do today. By getting help from experienced digital marketers you can easily overcome such problems.
2. Choose the Right Search Engine Marketing Platform
Search engines usually have an ad platform to help with search engine marketing. Currently, Google Adwords (recently becoming Google Ads) is the most popular and effective platform. Another popular platform is Bing Ads. Note that as much as all SEM platforms use pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, some of the PPC is not SEM.
Some of the factors to look at when determining the platform use are your audience’s age bracket, how the age bracket likes to receive the information, where the research or shop before purchasing, whether your competitors are running SEM campaigns, and expected results.
Finding answers to the questions will help you to determine which platform will be beneficial and/or you should use SEM. For example, if find out that your potential customers like to receive news via hardcopy publications, it might be appropriate you spend your marketing cash on display ads in those publications.
3. Don’t Rush Your SEM Strategy
If you rush you SEM, you might not get the best results. It is a good idea to start with a few campaigns at the beginning of this journey. In some instances, running too many campaigns simultaneously might get you lost in the workings, leaving you with no or little time to evaluate your SEM strategy. Start with around three campaigns, analyse outcome, and decide what next.
4. Higher Position Doesn’t Always Imply High ROI
People with experience working with SEM know they need to find the top keywords and focus on them. But to some extent, this can be disputed. Some studies have shown that as much as a higher position may get a higher Click-through rate (CRT), it is more costly yet it doesn’t always generate more conversions.
You don’t necessarily have to focus on achieving a high position; it’s great to find the lowest possible position you can attain while maintaining a good conversion rate. Experiment with many positions to find the best. If you find out that at the lower average position, you can generate the same amount of conversions as the higher position, staying there can save you lots of money.
5. A/B Testing
Search marketers should always try to find a balance between qualified traffic (a high conversion rate) and appealing ads (a high CTR). They can do this with an A/B test.
There are high chances you already know about A/B testing and have at some time run some tests yourself. We now discuss a few ways you can optimize you A/B testing strategies:
– Don’t test more than one element at a time. You can easily go a step too many with A/B testing. Prepare a list of the best 5 – 10 A/B tests to perform and make sure to do only one of them a time. Doing this guarantees conclusive and accurate results.
– Have trust in your data. While you might have your own expectations, you must accept the hard data as this is what matters in the end.
– Be patient. You should perform your test over a period of time so you can obtain enough data to make solid conclusion. Typically, you will need a few thousand impressions to get reliable data.
– Experiments in AdWords. This feature is helpful when running a true A/B test with an experimental group and a control. Get a tutorial from Google about the experimental feature and within a short while you will be into shape for your A/B testing. The experiment feature is located in the each campaign’s settings tab.
A/B testing creates increased ROI and efficiencies from ad spending in various ways including lowering ad spend, increasing conversion value, and revealing optimization opportunities on other paid channels.
6. Set Automated Rules
With automated roles, you can effectively optimize your PPC strategy, so you can save time. The problem is the rules can quickly turn into a disaster. For example, you can set a rule to raise bids on keywords that have a low CPA, but the keywords start having huge CPAs.
Common ways to get started with SEM automation include; scheduling your ads, auto adjusting your bids, pausing low performers, and scheduling your ads.
Some important rules for AdWords include; an automated rule for a budget, automated rule impressions, an automated rule for conversions, an automated rule for impression share, an automated rule for an average position, and automated rule for quality score.
A better way to manage automated keywords is to set up counter-rules. That is, set a rule that says when to raise bids and an opposing one that says when to lower bids. But you need to check the rules at least once every week until you are okay working with them.
7. Consistent Ads Journey
Always make sure your each of your ads lands the user on the correct landing page. The ad message should correlate with the related landing page message. If you have multiple ads with different messages going to the same page, you might end up with a lower conversion rate on even paying for unwanted clicks.
If you implement these tactics you will get a boost in your SEM strategy in no time. The most important thing is to keep checking regularly as the search engines are consistently making changes to their tools. You should also be always on the checkout for common trends and other ways to better your campaign’s performance.
Use all tools that are available to track, test, and tune your SEM strategy until you get the desired results.