To execute search engine marketing campaigns successfully, you need to separate them from your SEO strategy. Here are our top SEM best practices to help you get the most out of your digital marketing efforts.
Optimizing your website for search engines can open your business to new customers and streamline your digital presence for maximum results. Successful SEO and SEM best practices position your brand at the top of search results, increase click-through rates, and drive traffic to your website. Although both terms are often used interchangeably and can go hand in hand, SEO and SEM should not be substituted for each other. Instead, they should be used together in your digital marketing strategy to ensure the best possible results. But first, you must understand the difference between the two.
Let’s start by breaking down search engine optimization into the following components:
- On-Page SEO optimizes your content using specific keywords to attract search engines, rank higher on results pages, and earn more relevant traffic.
- Off-Page SEO refers to actions taken outside of your site that connect to other high-quality sites. Off-page ranking factors can improve your site’s relevance, authority, and reputation on search engines while building trust with consumers.
- Technical SEO includes optimization techniques used to help search engines crawl and index your site, such as site architecture, page speed, structured data, etc. in order to increase your organic ranking.
SEO is the practice of increasing site traffic through search engine results, which includes the organic efforts that go into your digital marketing strategy. Despite popular belief, SEO is not a component of SEM.
What is SEM?
SEM is a digital marketing strategy that increases a site’s visibility and rankings through paid campaigns. It can also be categorized as paid search advertising or pay-per-click (PPC) marketing. Marketers pay search engines like Google to place their website in the ad space at the top of search results for specific keywords.
Search engine marketing is one of the fastest methods of targeting consumers to boost clicks on call-to-actions, drive high-quality traffic, and maximize conversion rates. With the opportunity to advertise on third-party eCommerce and social platforms like Amazon and YouTube, SEM now includes paid search and PPC marketing on these too. We recommend implementing SEM in addition to your social media and SEO efforts to create a comprehensive digital marketing strategy.
You can even use SEO to leverage your PPC campaigns and vice versa. With your latest analytics and trends, you can determine what pages are visited more often, which keywords are popular in your industry, and what content is most relevant. These insights can be used to create relevant messaging, ad copy, and landing pages for your PPC campaigns. High-click ad campaigns can also be used in your page titles and meta descriptions to optimize for organic search.
SEM Best Practices
Although organic search is more popular among consumers than paid search marketing, those who arrive at an eCommerce site via PPC are 50 percent more likely to make a purchase. Successful search campaigns must include highly targeted advertisements with engaging copy to boost conversion rates. Here are our top SEM best practices to boost your search rankings:
1. Keyword Research
Like SEO, keyword research is essential for SEM, so it’s important to use long-tail keywords in your digital content and advertisements to drive customers to targeted landing pages. We recommend conducting thorough keyword research to find the best keywords and phrases based on what your target customers and competitors are using on search engines. Data and analytics can also help you identify top performing keywords in order to develop the best search ads for your business. Determine which ads gain the most clicks, which ones come up most often in searches, and which ones need improving.
2. Search Retargeting
Only 29.9 percent of clicks lead to a purchase. We recommend implementing retargeting in your digital marketing strategy to increase clicks and conversions. SEM retargeting displays ads to potential customers based on their previous searches and actions for certain keywords. This allows you to attract and capture target customers with your paid ads on search engines.
3. Mobile Optimization
Mobile is an essential platform to reach potential customers and beat your competition. In many cases, mobile ad traffic has surpassed desktop. Determine the volume of traffic coming from mobile devices in PPC, so you can adjust your mobile strategy accordingly. We also recommend tailoring your campaigns based on geographic location, whether that’s locally, nationally, or internationally.
Testing current campaigns is one of the most important SEM best practices. You can significantly improve your search rankings by testing and learning to optimize your paid ads with different keywords, offers, headlines, etc. SEM also provides several opportunities to implement new tactics and strategies into your marketing campaigns. We also recommend looking beyond Google AdWords and trying advertising platforms like LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Snapchat to better reach your target audience.