Ask the Expert: Search Engine Marketing Campaign Optimizations – What You Really Need to Know
Search Engine Marketing is the process of purchasing paid search listings to drive traffic to a website. Here at Cybba, we go beyond driving clicks and awareness by tying our search marketing campaigns back to clear, direct response goals.
A user on a search engine typing in specific keywords qualifies themselves to marketers as having specific goals and interests. A person actively searching for what you sell is clearly signaling where they are in the buying cycle and how close they are to making a decision.
By carefully selecting keywords, designing compelling ads, and optimizing with data-backed decisions, an effective PPC campaign can position your paid ads at the top of key search engines, like Google and Bing, to reach customers at the moment they are most engaged and likely to purchase.
But PPC is not all about impulsive decisions made at the bottom of the sales funnel. An effective PPC strategy places a brand top of mind and builds an association between a brand and the ideas expressed by customers through keyword searches.
Awareness and traffic are beneficial in their own right, but if the clicks do not result in conversion events, then there is no indication that the traffic being driven is qualified and ultimately benefiting the advertiser.
Here are a few key points to keep in mind when constructing a Search Engine Marketing campaign:
- The campaign should be structured to reflect the client’s business goals and website layout.
- Keywords should align across targeting, ad copy, and landing pages to drive a high-quality score and competitive ad rank.
- Conversion events should be defined and tracked from day one of the campaign so that the quality of the traffic can be evaluated.
Once an account is set up, a number of best practices are followed to optimize the SEM campaign.
Search Terms Analysis – Granular optimizations result in stronger performance. By looking at the specific search terms that are being entered by users, you can better tailor your targeting keywords, keyword match types, and negative keyword lists to reduce unqualified clicks, improve CTRs, and ultimately improve the campaign’s long-term performance.
A/B Testing – Engaging, informative ad copy is vital to the performance of a search campaign. Marketers need to strike a balance between developing ad copy and ad extensions that optimize the campaign. This means writing text ads that catch the user’s attention and encourage them to click from the AdWords algorithm’s perspective. Constantly A/B testing ad copy is the key to high engagement.
Quality Score Optimizations – The cost per click, bid adjustments, and targeting are important hard parameters that have obvious impact on a campaign’s performance. But just as important are the soft metrics that make up the composite metric of Quality Score. The relevance of your keywords to your ad copy, the landing page quality, and the entire user experience are all factored into Quality Score. By aligning keywords across the entire user journey and developing clear, focused campaigns, you can lower your overall cost per click, and rank higher in the search engine’s results.
Bid Adjustments – There are many ways to slice a search campaign and tailor your bidding to your audience. By looking at performance across various dimensions (geography, time of day, device type, and other targeting methods), you can prioritize spend and customize cost per click to where you see the highest performance, and ultimately improve ROI.
All optimizations are made with the understanding that any search engine algorithm requires more than target keywords and high bids. Google AdWords ultimately rewards marketers who create focused, thoughtful campaigns that align the goals of their business with the needs of their customers.
See how Cybba impacted Autogeek, a multi-million dollar specialty retailer of award-winning B2B car care products, campaign, and increased conversions while driving down the cost per conversion.