I have been doing Search Engine Marketing for a long time, and sometimes it’s best to keep it simple. Stick to the basics of Search Engine Marketing as you create your campaign. After creating thousands of SEM campaigns over the year, I have boiled it down to the process below. If you follow it, you will be able to test, optimize, and drive results for your business.
9 SEM Basics Explained For Beginners
The most successful SEM strategies start by following the process below. The Search Engine Marketing basics listed below should guide you as you create your first campaign. As you continue to learn more about advanced Search Engine Marketing techniques, you can incorporate them into your strategy. However, start with the basics by watching the video below, which is also available on YouTube.
Successful SEM campaigns are built upon a structured process that ensures you get the most out of your advertising efforts. Let’s dive into each step:
1. Set an Objective
When you create ads, you should always have 1 clear objective. Are you trying to drive leads for your service business? Are you trying to drive phone calls for your local business? Are you trying to drive sales from your website? Do you want to focus on driving new customers? By having a clear objective, you can create a Search Engine Marketing strategy.
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Choose the Key Performance Indicator that you want to focus on and add that as a conversion action. Then, you can gear your SEM campaigns to drive more conversions so you can increase the revenue for your business.
2. Choose Your Channel
The next decision you’ll make is choosing an SEM platform to run your ads. There aren’t that many options because there are only so many popular search engines. Some popular SEM platforms include:
- Google Ads: The leader in the SEM field, Google Ads offers plenty of advertising options, from text ads to shopping ads. Performance Max campaigns will also run on the Google search network.
- Microsoft Advertising: Powered by Bing, this platform provides an alternative to Google Ads, reaching a different audience. You can actually import your Google Ads campaign into your Microsoft Advertising account.
- Amazon Advertising: Ideal for e-commerce businesses, this platform lets you promote products directly on Amazon.
- Pinterest Ads: Pinterest is also a search engine and you can target keywords with your campaign. It can help you reach people on Pinterest who are searching for your products.
3. Set Your Budget
Determine your SEM budget, which is the amount you’re willing to spend on advertising. Your budget can be adjusted as needed based on your campaign’s performance. Keep in mind that SEM allows you to control your spending. You can easily start or stop your campaign at any time. You can also increase your budget or decrease your budget in addition to setting spending limits.
4. Create Landing Pages
Before launching your SEM campaign, it’s crucial to prepare dedicated landing pages on your website. These landing pages should align with the products or services you’re advertising and provide a seamless experience for visitors. A well-designed landing page can significantly impact your conversion rates.
For Ecommerce websites, you can use product category pages and product pages as landing pages. The number 1 thing you need to remember is your landing pages need to provide a solution based on the keyword someone searches. If someone searches for wood baseball bats, they should go to an optimized landing page with wood baseball bats for sale.
5. Set Up Conversion Tracking
Set up conversion tracking to monitor the performance of your SEM campaign effectively. Conversion tracking allows you to measure key metrics, such as clicks, leads, and sales, enabling you to assess the return on your advertising investment. Most SEM platforms offer built-in tracking tools for this purpose.
6. Target Keywords
Identify relevant keywords that potential customers use to search for products or services like yours. Keyword research is a fundamental aspect of SEM, as it helps you reach the right audience. You can use keyword research tools to discover high-performing keywords in your industry.
7. Create Advertisements
Develop compelling advertisements that align with your chosen keywords and lead to relevant landing pages. Your ads should be concise, engaging, and tailored to entice users to click. Be creative with your ad copy and use eye-catching visuals when applicable.
8. Launch Your Campaign and Test
Once everything is set up, it’s time to launch your SEM campaign. Keep a close eye on its performance from the start, but don’t make any major changes right away. It’s important to allow your campaign to get results so you can actually see measurable results. Monitor clicks, impressions, click-through rates (CTR), conversions, conversion rate, and ROAS. Adjust your SEM strategy as needed to optimize your campaign’s effectiveness.
9. Optimize and Maximize ROAS
Optimization is an ongoing process when it comes to Search Engine Marketing. Your first several months should be your least profitable. You should continuously analyze your campaign’s results and make improvements to enhance the performance. You can refine your keyword targeting, adjust ad copy, and allocate your budget more effectively to maximize your ROAS.
Additional SEM Basics for Beginners
Some of the concepts below are important basics that you should understand. After you launch your campaign, you may still have a lot of questions about different statistics and key terms. I tried to go over the most important things to know when it comes to SEM.
Conversion rate is the percentage of people who complete a conversion action, like making a purchase or signing up, after clicking on one of your ads.
Return on Ad Spend (ROAS):
Return on Ad Spend measures how much money you make for every dollar you spend on advertising. The higher the ROAS, the better your campaign is performing. ROAS is represented as a percentage by dividing your revenue by your ad spend and multiplying by 100.
Cost Per Click (CPC):
Cost Per Click (CPC) is the amount of money you pay when someone clicks on your ad. You will pay each time someone visits your website through an ad, and the average you pay is your CPC.
Click Through Rate (CTR):
Click Through Rate is the percentage of people who click on your ad after seeing it. Tt shows how well your ad attracts people’s attention and how often people click on your ads based on your total impressions.
The relevance and quality of your ads are crucial. Search engines reward high-quality ads by giving them better ad positions and lower costs per click.
Ad Assets (Extensions):
SEM platforms offer ad extensions that provide extra information, like location details, site links, and callouts. Use these extensions to enhance your ads and provide more value to users.
Don’t forget to add negative keywords to your campaigns. These are keywords you want to exclude from triggering your ads, ensuring you reach a more targeted audience.
Experiment with different ad variations to see which ones perform best. A/B testing allows you to refine your ad strategy for optimal results.
Sometimes we forget about the importance of optimizing for multiple devices. With the popularity of mobile shopping and mobile browsing, you need to optimize for mobile devices. You should ensure that your landing pages and your website are mobile-friendly to maximize your conversion rate.
Many SEM platforms, such as Google Ads, use Quality Score to assess the relevance of your keywords, ad copy, and landing pages. A higher Quality Score can lead to better ad positions and lower costs.
Search Engine Marketing Overview For Beginners
In the video below, I will give you some helpful information related to Search Engine Marketing. If you aren’t sure what it is or how to get started, the video below will help.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a results-driven approach to connecting with potential customers actively searching for your products or services. By following the SEM process above and implementing these basics into your strategy, you can create effective SEM campaigns that drive conversions. Remember that being a Search Engine Marketing agency or professional requires continuous learning and improvement. You will need to adapt your strategy by using new ad formats and maximizing the results from your existing campaigns. Testing, learning, and optimizing are just as important as creating a great SEM campaign. Please let me know if you have any questions about these Search Engine Marketing basics or how to get started today.