According to SEM, search engines display results to search queries based on own algorithms. Each major search engine uses its own formula to determine what results to display for any term. According to Pew Internet, most of the people who use search engines say that they find the information they are looking for most or all of the time. With search engines getting so much traffic and delivering so much value, decided to find a way of generating revenue through SEM.
With so many search engines out there, which platform should you choose? There are some small differences from platform to platform in terms of editorial policy, and each system has a different user interface. There is some theory that different platforms are better for different industries. For example, Yahoo fairs better than Google on travel industry. However, this is a subjective and most large advertisers will run PPC (Pay Per Click) campaigns on a number of platforms. As with most things in digital marketing, its all about testing.
Google AdWords is the best-known and is considered the industry standard in SEM. It allows users to transact in the currency of their choice, is tied to a comprehensive analytical tool, and offers training programs and certifications. Google AdWords also currently has the best contextual and geographical targeting worldwide. So Geo-targeting is also offered by Bing ads, Microsoft ad center, Facebook ads, LinkedIn ads, and YouTube video ads, which, since Google owns YouTube is closely linked to AdWords.
SEM / SEO LINK BUILDING
Link building is the most important in SEM. Because search engines value quality links over quantity links from relevant and authority sites. Which means more leads, sales, and revenue for your business.
- Blog reviews
- Directory sites
- Guest posting
- Media sharing sites
- Profile linking
- Give feedback
SOCIAL MEDIA AND SEARCH
Of course, social media plays an important role in online search. Here are some important things to consider.
USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO DOMINATE SERP’s
You want to use your social media to dominate search engine results? When someone searches for your brand, you can use your social media sites to get more links on that results page with SEM.
SOCIAL LINKS = SIGNALS OF RELEVANCY
Social links also provide more relevance for search engines when crawling. Create good content on your site, and then make sure it’s shareable socially.
PERSONALIZED RESULTS ARE INFLUENCED BY SOCIAL NETWORKS
If you’re logged on into a social network while searching, those results may be affected by your social circles, and the same is true for the entire social network.
OPTIMIZE FOR SOCIAL SEARCH ENGINES
And lastly, optimize for social search engines. Google is the biggest search engine, but YouTube is the second largest. Make sure you’re optimizing for social search as well.
STRUCTURING YOUR PPC ACCOUNT
Let’s see, how we can structure an online advertising campaign. This is, again, reference to Google AdWords. You’ve got your account. This is your overall, all the activity that you’re running with Google AdWords. Then, each campaign has a specific set of goals and KPIs or key performance indicators.
And then you go down into the specific ad-groups, so each creative profile or assets for each campaign, and you can analyze and set goals based on all of these levels. There is complete information guide is available on the Google’s website about how to setup your Google AdWords account and how it works.
ELEMENTS OF A SEARCH AD
So, you’ve figured out that you want to do a online advertising search campaign, and now we’ve got to create search ads. So what are the elements of a search ad?
You’ve got the heading. And the way that I’ve set this up on the slide is sort of the way that the ad looks, right? So you’ve got your heading in bold.
TWO LINES OF COPY
You get two lines of copy, so it’s very short. We talked about short-form web copy in a previous lecture. This is where that plays out. So sometimes that can be shown on one line, but you get sort of two lines of copy here.
Then you’ve got the URL, which is the direct link, and any ad extensions that you’ve got. So it’s very brief, and you’ve got to think about getting your message across in a clear and concise way.
Now let’s take a look at creating online advertising campaign with reference to Google AdWords in a little more detail as part of paid online advertising in SEM.
HEADING – MAX 25 CHARACTERS
Your heading, you’ve got a maximum of 25 characters limit. Again, very little real estate, so we want to be clear and concise and get to the point.
LINE 1 AND 2 – MAX 35 CHARACTERS
Line 1 and line 2 are a maximum of 35 characters each, and again this may be on one line of 70 characters, depending.
DISPLAY URL – MAX 35 CHARACTERS
You’ve got your display URL which is, again, a maximum of 35 characters. So you’ve got to make sure that your URL is also succinct.
No repeated exclamation points or other punctuation. You want to make sure that you’re not being obnoxious in your writing.
NO WORDS IN ALL CAPS
No words in all caps. And no nonsense words, right? You want to make sure everything is actually a word. So that’s how, in particular, you will structure your online advertising search ad.
Next we want to look at how we can target ads. How do we get it in front of the right users? Here the beauty of SEM particularly mobile, we get more ways to target right down to this specific user.
KEYWORDS AND MATCH TYPES
Some of the ways you can target includes keywords and match types, so you’ll think about what keywords people are searching for, and the ad will be served up to them in that regard to SEM. So if you’re searching for a keyword, again, if we go back to the hotel example and you bid on that, then when people search for hotel, your ad is in the queue.
LANGUAGE AND LOCATION TARGETING
There’s language and location targeting, so you could target by those searching for and using the web in Spanish language, or in Chile, or in a certain city down to the zip code. And really, Geo-targeting has made this very, very specific. So you can get specific on where the user is when you want your ads served up to them through online advertising strategic language and location targeting.
BEHAVIORAL AND DEMOGRAPHIC TARGETING
And then there’s behavioral and demographic targeting. So what are people doing, or what do they look like. We talked about demographics earlier? So it can be age, gender, location plays a little bit into this. It could be based on professional title? So demographics are facts, and then behaviors are what they are looking for, what are their buying behaviors. So you can target on some of these or a combination of them. So we can get really specific on where our ads are served in SEM.
BIDDING AND RANKING
SEM is generally run through an auction model where each advertiser sets their max bid price and their bid to be placed in certain criteria. Real-time bidding and computerized buying are affecting this immensely these days, and those practices are just growing and even spreading to offline media.
CONVERSION AND CLICK THROUGH
The conversion and click-through help ensuring that it’s not just the highest paying or most spending brands that get the results in the SEM results that people are getting. So it helps to actually convert the users, and so you want your ads to be really effective to get that click-through.
Advertisers in SEM need to decide their maximum bid and what keywords that maximum bid is based on. Maximum bids can change per keyword. These are run on a generalized second-price auction. Meaning the winning bidder pays the bid right below his/hers. So if you bid $2 and you win, and the next lowest bid is $1.91, you pay that $1.91. These search engines will take a number of those factors, not just the bid, into account.
This is applied at all of those levels plus then your keyword. It’s important that your entire account has a good quality score, as it affects the ranking and then your cost per click. It’s based on the relevance of the keyword, ad copy, landing page to the keyword, as well as the click-through rate of the ad. So, again, you make sure your online advertising ads are getting that click-through and are relevant to what keywords you’re buying.
You should also use conversion tracking with a tracking pixel that is placed on the conversion conformation page of the website. Google AdWords offers conversion tracking tags which allow you to report impressions all the way through to conversion.
PLANNING AND SETTING YOUR CAMPAIGN
Planning and setting up your search SEM campaign. So, how do you plan and set up your search campaign? First, do your homework well. I always say research, research, research? So you’ve got to figure out what your campaign is all about and figure out your user and all of those things. As with any of this process what we’ve covered, the first step is research.
Then, define your SEM goals. What are your key performance indicators? So that you’re delivering against those. Of course you need a budget, and you want those cost per action targets. So if it’s a cost per click, cost per acquisition, cost per impression, what are your targets for those bids? Then you place those bids.
Next, write your ads, we talked about how to do that with your heading, and your text, and your URLs. You wanna do keyword research. Make sure that you’re getting the right keywords and delivering against those. Remember, Google’s quality score refers back to the relevance, and make sure you’re getting the right keywords for your SEM campaign, your goals, and your KPI’s.
Then you launch, and track, and make sure that you’re optimizing. Again, the beauty of digital is you can swap things out very very quickly in real time. And many of the search engines have people that can help you troubleshoot if you’re not getting the delivery you want. You can work with their team to help you optimize. And then again, measure, analyze, test, optimize, do all of that.