10 Quick Hacks to Improve Your SEM Search Engine Marketing -Rohan Ayyar

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Assuming you have a basic understanding of SEM platforms such as Google AdWords and Bing Ads, as well as digital advertising methods such as Pay Per Click (PPC), here are ten quick ways to increase the effectiveness of your SEM campaigns.

Search engine marketing (SEM) is the process of improving your website’s visibility on search engines, primarily by delivering advertisements that target the keywords your customers search for. To some degree, this also involves organic marketing, or what is better known as search engine optimization (SEO).

Assuming you have a basic understanding of SEM platforms such as Google AdWords and Bing Ads, as well as digital advertising methods such as Pay Per Click (PPC), here are ten quick ways to increase the effectiveness of your SEM campaigns.

1. Don’t start without keyword research.

If someone tells you “Keywords are dead”, just look away. Keywords or search queries are always at the heart of search engines, and with the rise of voice search, you need to target even more semantic terms and long-tail keywords. Use tools like SEMrush Keyword Magic or Topic Research to generate relevant lists of primary and secondary keywords (and related or industry-specific phrases your audience is looking for) before starting any SEM campaign.

2. Base your ad format and copy it on the nature of the SERPs.

Search queries are of three types: informational, navigational, and transactional. Search engines change the way they display ads depending on the nature of the query. For example, transactional terms generate Shopping ads that display the product and price. Be sure to create ads based on searcher intent, keeping your customer journey and sales funnel in mind.

3. Optimize for cross-channel marketing.

Search engines consider many factors when ranking a website for a keyword or phrase. This includes the relevance of your content as well as the value of your brand image. Therefore, even your campaigns on other websites, social media, or even traditional channels indirectly influence how people search for your branded terms and how Google associates your brand with non-branded terms.

4. Watch your competitors carefully.

SEM is a channel where you can easily emulate your competitors and beat them with a few tweaks. After all, your options are limited by the functionality of the ad exchange or platform, like Google AdWords. Additionally, you can also bid on your competitor’s brand terms if they aren’t, as well as your own to keep them from taking over without spending a lot.

5. Use benchmarks.

Half the money spent on advertising is wasted. The problem is determining which half. Determine your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) at the start of every campaign and monitor each metric – like cost per click (CPC), cost per acquisition (CPA), customer lifetime value (CLV), click through rate (CTR), ROAS (return on ad spend), and so on – this is important for tracking your KPIs. Be aware of the standards and averages of these metrics in your industry to ensure your budget is being used wisely.

6. Get the pros to write your ad copy.

Search marketers and account managers can be forgiven for thinking that if they understand the advertising platform, they can also write ad copy. Big mistake. Use a creative team to create your titles, text, and graphics, and have them checked by a subject matter expert for technical details. The traditional approach to advertising always works best, if you can do it and scale at digital speed.

7. Effectively target desktop and mobile devices.

People search in different ways from mobile and desktop devices. Mobile queries have immediate location-based context, while desktop searches are more geared towards gathering information. The cost of these advertisements also varies accordingly. Create different ads for mobile and desktop considering these factors.

8. Target locations carefully.

Google AdWords allows you to geo-target people using attributes such as their IP address, GPS coordinates, or listed location. Other than that, you can target customer segments nationally, regionally, or based on proximity (radius around a location). Research the cultural preferences and external influences in each location before launching a campaign in that area.

9. Use all platform features, especially new ones.

Google AdWords frequently changes the structure and display of its ads. They introduce new “extensions” from time to time, allowing you to add critical pieces of information such as a phone number, limited time offer, or shipping information to your ad copy. These features are displayed prominently by the search engine itself, so there is no point in overlooking them. You can also use different bidding strategies based on these features and factors such as time, location, and device.

10. Always test.

Keep testing different facets of your campaign. You can test the keywords you’re targeting, parts of your ad copy (headline, link, etc.), copy, layout, and calls to action on your landing pages (where visitors arrive when they click on your ad), bid strategies, and more. Based on the results, you can start new campaigns, stop underperforming ones, and get more ROI over time. This is by far the fastest and most effective way to discover which growth hacks work best for you!

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