While setting up an SEM campaign can usually be done in 15 minutes, it takes a lot more time than that to establish a truly effective and successful campaign.
Search engine marketing can be an effective source of leads, but it can also cause you to lose a lot of money if not handled appropriately. A lot of online marketers do not get the most of their SEM campaigns because they overlook most of the basic but critical steps. Here are the best practices for search engine marketing that you may want to follow to completely optimise your paid online campaigns.
Plan your budget wisely
Plan, determine, and spend your budget wisely. While there is no clear and exact rule for this, there are a number of factors that might help you decide how much budget you should allocate for your SEM campaigns:
- The more keywords you’re bidding for, the higher the budget you need to allot.
- If you plan to run your campaigns for 24/7, this will require you a higher budget compared to campaigns that will run during business hours only.
- If you plan to run a global campaign, this will also require higher budget compared to geo-targeted campaigns.
- Campaigns to run on both search and content network require a higher budget, as well.
- The higher your goals are – in terms of traffic, membership, and others – the higher your budget requirement is.
Create a strategic keyword list
Determine and develop the perfect keywords and key phrases list. To start this off, look at varying sources including your site content, keyword suggestion tools, competitors’ websites, related blogs, and industry trade publications. If your campaigns are set to CPC method, you don’t have to worry about your long list of keywords as you will only have to pay for every click made on your ads. However, if they are on CPM, you may want to limit your keywords to only those are the closely related to your ads and website’s content.
Create meaningful ad groups
Create logical groups and classify your keywords accordingly. However, keep the number of your ad groups manageable. Ideally, about 30 to 60 keywords should be included in an ad group for easy tracking, monitoring, and handling.
Optimise ad copy by using keywords
Not only should you write your advertisements clearly, but they should be optimized, as well. Ensure that there are relevant keywords in your ad copy, so they can easily show up during search queries. Additionally, keep your words humble, but compelling. Search engines frown upon the use of superlatives such as “best” or “no. 1”, shortened words such as “gr8” (for great), and excessive punctuation marks.
Use filters and parameters
Set campaign parameters, such as location, time, and placements. Unless your product or business is targeted to a global market, set a geo-targeted location in which your ads will only show up in those specified areas. Moreover, if you want particular hours for your ads to appear, schedule a specific time setting for your campaigns. Lastly, you can also set the placements or websites in which your ads should or should not appear. These campaign settings should help you maximize your SEM strategies and reduce cost.
Measure the performance of your SEM campaigns
Conversion tracking is an essential part of your SEM campaign. Make sure that you are being able to monitor if clicks from your ads are being generated to member sign ups, subscriptions, or sales. This would help you identify whether a campaign is effective or not. Additionally, take time to analyse the results of your campaigns and identify which ad groups are converting, which keywords are cost-effective, and which ads have the highest click-through rate.
Search engine marketing can work for or against you. If you follow these SEM best practices, you can guarantee better traffic, increased leads and conversions, and higher ROI.