Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is one of the most important bought media channels and the secret behind the success for some of the worlds leading online businesses. But getting maximum performance from your Search Engine Marketing campaigns requires a good Search Engine Marketing strategy.

In this blog post we will have a closer look at how to get the most out of you Search Engine Marketing budget, and how paid search needs to be aligned with your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategy. Whilst we have focused on Search Engine Marketing and Organic Search, we believe it’s important to consider the impact on both Social Media and Mobile strategies.

Structure & Strategy

A winning Search Engine Marketing campaign always starts with a good account structure. Getting the structure correct is critical for performance, and allows more control over campaign optimization and reporting. On average our account audits find that around 25% of budgets are being wasted, so identifying potential weaknesses and ensuring the structure is important to maximize performance. This structural audit should cover the following areas:

  • Copy – Ensure that each ad have a strong call to action and generates a high CTR.
  • Keyword list review – Generic keywords can often be expensive and could lead to budget burn out. By focusing on more targeted keywords, your budget can go further.
  • Positioning Strategy – Bidding on generic keywords often means high competition on the same keywords. You should create a positioning strategy for different keyword sets to ensure that you aren’t wasting budget trying to ‘outcompete’ competitors with considerably higher budgets.
  • Match Type Strategy – By using other match types, such as Phrase and Broad Match Modifier, your budget can be controlled much more efficiently.

All these factors will have an impact on quality score and conversion rate. By getting the account structure right, as well as the activities above, it will give you both more efficient reporting and greater budget control. But the greatest advantage will be the long term effect of more effective use of account management time

Competitor Analysis

You can get a lot of valuable input from looking at your competitors Search Engine Marketing campaigns. Analyzing your competitors helps you to discover strengths and weaknesses with their campaign, and to identify opportunities for your own.  A competitor analysis will give you a snapshot of the key competitors within each product segment, and the threat they pose. It’s sometimes important to distinguish between Search Engine Marketing competitors and your competitors in real life. There’s only 10 positions on the first page of Google, and even if you compete for the same keyword you might not compete for the same clients.

 

SEO Synergies & Landing Page Testing

Once traffic comes through to a landing page, you need to maximise conversions. It’s important to look at both structure and layout of your landing pages to ensure the conversion process is as smooth as possible. For each ad group, you should test variables such as Page layout (A/B Testing), call to action buttons (see below) and links, size and colour of text and buttons, and Bounce rates. By ensuring users hit the same landing page, you will also ensure synergy between the SEO and PPC strategies. Not only will these landing pages improve SEO rankings, but the Quality Score and conversion rates will also improve.

What are the benefits of an optimised landing page?

  • Improves conversion rates for PPC, as well as SEO.
  • Improved Quality Score.
  • Improves the user experience, for desktop and mobile.

Check out Google Adwords help center for more information about landing page testing.

Bid Management

Bid management technology always play an important part in managing PPC campaigns, regardless of size. We have an agnostic view when it comes to bid management tools, and have experience with most tools on the market. The following bid management software’s are worth looking into; DoubleClick Search, Kenshoo, SearchIgnite and Efficient Frontier. Our preferred tool of choice for PPC bid management is Marin. Marin gives us the possibility to track multiple conversions, is easy to integrate and has from our experience the best customer service. Most of these platform have web query reporting, giving the client access to auto-updated daily reports with the latest top line results.

Go Mobile

Using mobile Search Engine Marketing ads – along with Google Places mobile ads – You can become visible to an increasingly mobile audience. The mobile ads functionality can be used to target an audience when they are on the go, or close to the Point of Purchase. Mobile Search Engine Marketing ads can also utilize click-to-call functionality making it very efficient for generating leads for you sales team. Mobile optimization will also include maximising performance of any Search Engine Marketing ad innovations such as Google Boost and Google Place ads if this becomes relevant.

Adwords for Video

Is there anything video can’t do? It surprises us, teaches us, and plays an important part in any marketing strategy. Every day the world watches more. And with Google AdWords for video, you can put the power of video to work for you.

With Google AdWords for video, you can:

  • Target the audience of relevant video content
  • Target specific users based on their engagement (likes,disliked, shared, subscribed, commented etc.)
  • Set up remarketing solutions based on UX analysis

Reporting and Analysis

A monthly Search Engine Marketing report should include the key metrics and KPI’s that are most important for your business. Typically, these reports would include the following metrics:

  • Impressions
  • Clicks
  • CTR
  • Average CPC
  • Costs
  • Average Position
  • Transactions
  • Revenue
  • Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)
  • ROI
  • Conversion Rate
  • Campaign performance by search engine
  • Individual keyword performance

Reporting and analytics underpins every online marketing activity and should be the communicated to all relevant stakeholders in the business. Adwords data often plays a key part in understanding your market and should be communicated to all relevant stakeholders in the company.

Lighthouse8, Business Engineering – Digital Marketing team