Beginners Guide to Search Engine Marketing(SEM)

Search engine marketing refers to purchasing pay per click (PPC) advertising from search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo to get targeted customers. It allows your website to be ranked on the first page and get attention from prospective customers even if it didn’t rank on the organic search result. To ensure your ad produce high ROI; you must know how to optimize it.


Determine Your Audience

The first step in running an ad campaign is to determine your audience. You must determine their age and find out how they usually find out about your product. If you often do research online, then it will be worthwhile for you to invest in online paid advertising.


Start with a Small SEM Campaign

It is important to always start with a small budget in your SEM campaign. The more PPC campaigns you run, the more careless you will be in reviewing and optimizing the ads. It is recommended that you start with 3 campaigns. As you become a more skilled SEM marketer, you can increase the number of campaigns.

Do Research on Keyword

You need to carry out an SEM keyword research on a keyword tool to decide what keyword to use in your ads. The keyword tool provides detailed information on each keyword, for example, competition level, search volume, and CPC. Small businesses with a limited budget will find the keyword research tool useful in predicting the right keywords.

You must come up with a list of relevant keywords that prospective customers are likely to search for. You should exclude negative keywords that are unlikely to convert into sales and add more keywords with high commercial intent. Examples of keywords with high commercial intent are buying, coupon, and deal.

Create Ad Groups

To achieve the optimal result, you must create ad groups. Each ad group contains relevant keywords and landing pages which you want to test on the ads. Doing so allows you to achieve a higher CTR at a lower cost. You’ll want your ads to rank high so that people will notice it. The position of your ad is determined by the ad rank.

How is Ad Rank Calculated?

The ad rank is calculated by multiplying your CPC bid with the quality score.  Before your ad can rank for a certain keyword, you must first place a bid on that keyword. You just need to outbid the next highest bid to rank the highest. For example, if a competitor places a bid of $10.54, you just have to bid $10.55 to outrank the ad of that competitor. The CPC bid is the maximum amount that you bid for the keyword.

Bidding a high amount on every keyword can be too much cost for you to cover. Fortunately, for businesses that don’t have enough budgets, they can optimize their ad to get a higher quality score. The quality score is calculated based on factors such as CTR, relevance, and landing page.

SEM-Landing Page

Optimize Your Landing Page

Before running the ad campaign, make sure your landing page’s copy and design are already optimized. You don’t want to send your visitors to a generic landing page which will result in no conversion. A good landing page will tell the visitors what they should do to convert. The landing page must correlate with the message on the ad. You just need to run one ad that leads to the landing page. Having multiple ads with different messages may cause your conversion rate to drop.

Bullet points and lists can be used to help your visitors go through the important points faster. To establish trust, make sure you add a testimonial, display your brand logo and disclose your customer service phone number. The design should be simple and clean without any unnecessary distraction if you want to achieve a good conversion rate.

Set Up Automated Rules to Manage Your Ad Campaign

If you have multiple ad campaigns to manage, it is recommended that you use automated rules to manage them. In your AdWords account, you can create an automated rule, for example, pause campaigns when it reaches your spending limit, and automatically raise bid so that you can stay on the first page. Advanced marketers can use scripts to carry out the automation process of the ad campaign.



Install Lead Tracking

Search engine marketing platform provides free analytics to the ad campaigns that you are running on your account. However, the analytics did not provide all information, for example, number of customers that click through and eventually make phone calls to inquire about the product. It also does not reveal how many clicks on the ad has converted into leads and new sales. For this reason, you should install lead tracking. Lead tracking allows you to track the phone numbers that your customers use to call you. It enables you to track from what channel the customer is arriving at the link.


Review Ad Campaign Every Day

Every day, you should review the performance of your ad campaign and make tweaks.  If you see a keyword that is not yielding any result, you should add it into the negative keywords list. You should also be performing new queries to find new keywords.


In conclusion, search engine marketing gives you an advantage by putting the ad that contains your site link in front of potential customers who are ready to purchase. Every click will cost you money and you don’t want to waste your company’s resources if your campaign did not yield a satisfactory ROI. If you are not skilled in running an SEM campaign, you can delegate the job to an SEM company and let them customize the entire ad campaign for you.

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