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Our simple explanation for SEM is - the paid ads a user sees after typing their search phrase, usually appear at the top and side bar (update: Google is no longer showing side bar ads) of the screen.
But like everything that is good in life, it’s not THAT simple.
In this post I will use Google as an example but keep in mind that other search engines do exist such as Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, Bing, Yandex (Russia), Baidu (China) and more.
Google is the most popular search engine in the world as of 2021. If to shed some light on how big it is – Google handels trillions of searches every year. Google holds more than 90% of the search market online today whereas Bing, the 2nd most popular search engine holds only 2.3% of the global search engine market followed by Yahoo with 1.54% and Baidu with 1.28% (Keep in mind that Google is blocked in China).
Can you guess what is the most popular search phrase on Google worldwide since 2004 and until today, 2021?
Well, it is… "facebook"!
You might think it’s obvious, but if you think about it again, if users are typing “facebook” in Google’s search bar, they might as well go on their address bar and type fa… and the browser will complete to “facebook.com”. It’s shorter and it’s faster, why bother doing it the “long” way? (Not that obvious now, ah?)
So why do users “search” for Facebook instead of navigating straight to the website?
The answer is pretty simple. It’s a matter of habit. It’s true that there’s no need in searching for Facebook, but Facebook is only one out of dozens or hundreds of searches one user is performing every day. For the rest of the things this one user is searching for, they need Google’s assistance. Whether if they're searching for a phone number, an address, a video, a car for sale, a house for rent, university information, etc.. It only makes sense that they will use their “default” option for anything they need online.
And if our default option is to use Google, you as a business owner need to know how to use Google, boost up your business, maintain good relationship with existing clients and generate new clients.
The platform used for Google’s SEM is called Google Ads.
In order to start Google Ads campaign you need to have 4 things only:
- A landing page - a website/mini-site/Facebook Page/anything that a user can “land” on after clicking your ad.
- A list of keywords related to your business. Before you use Google’s free keyword tool (which is very helpful), we suggest you will try to think how a potential client would search for your business. Firstly, because it’s an interesting experiment for you to think about. Secondly, compare your thoughts with real search phrases coming from your campaign. You will learn many things about how the people on the other side of the screen think about your products/services.
- Ad groups and ads – the list of keywords should be divided to groups, by relevancy. For each group create at least 2-3 ads.
- A credit card – Google search is free but Google Ads is not. The payment to Google Inc. is being done through Google Ads billing and in order to start a campaign you must provide a valid CC details.
This is basically it. Google has made it very simple to use Google Ads and actually anyone can do it.
Keep in mind few other things when creating a Google Ads Search campaign. Things like –
- Know the terms and their meaning used in Google Ads, for example – CPC, CTR, bid, match type, final URL, display URL, avg. position, quality score, and others which you'd might want to check out on our OMG (Online Marketing Glossary) mobile app.
- Be familiar with Google’s rules for campaigns and ads. Google forbids certain expressions from appearing in your ads. Also, note that there are rules on how to write an ad (certain number of characters for headlines and description lines, exclamation marks are not allowed in the headline and allowed only once in a description line, and others).
- When building a campaign, the campaign’s structure is important. Here are 3 examples:
- You need to use many keyword variations. it will decrease your CPC.
- Keep high relevancy between keyword groups and ads associated with these groups. For example, if you’re selling kids clothing, a user searching for “girl dress for school” should see a different ad than the a user searching for “girl dress for Christmas”. Another example if you own a restaurant, a user searching “cheap restaurant near me” should see a different ad than the one searching “chef restaurant near me”.
- Use numbers in your ad to “break” the text in the ad. It makes it easier for the user to read your ad and draws their attention.
- When writing ads make sure to “stick to the truth”. Here are 2 examples:
- Use the word “best” only if you have a certificate by a recognised entity (for example, “best restaurant for 2022” by a specific food magazine).
- Don’t use false incentives in your ad such as “we give $10 for free” in order to attract users. The user will click your ad but the chance they will stay on your website and be interested with what you have to offer is close to 0 (Unless you are really giving $10 for free…).
- Optimize your campaign all the time, especially when just launching a campaign. Change bids, pause or change keywords with low quality score, generate search phrase report to add negative keywords and add new keywords, pause/change ads with a low CTR, recreate high CTR ads, etc..
- Count “real” conversions – check how many people eventually took a desired/meaningful action that benefits your business. Whether they left their details on your website or downloaded a brochure, called you or purchased something, it’s important to know where they came from, and in this case, it’s important to know they came from your Google Ads Search campaign.
- Use Google analytics to analyse your users and optimize your website - where they come from, how old are they, which device they use (mobile, tablet or laptop), how long they stay on your website, which page makes them stay more and which makes them leave your website, etc.
The most important advice I want to give you in this post is – the success of your Google Ads campaign highly depends on the quality of it, not only the quantity of ad dollars you spend.
Even if you have an unlimited budget (and I doubt it that's the case) and you can pay $35 per click, if your campaign won’t be of high quality as per Google's standards, Google will “react” accordingly (reduce your ads appearance, stop your keywords from triggering ads by giving them a low quality score, etc.).
Remember that Google’s algorithms are smarter and more sophisticated than you.
Google’s quality parameters are extremely important.
Quality is also measured by conversion rates between phases in the marketing funnel: user searches --> sees your ad --> clicks (or not) --> how long does she/he stay in your website? Does she/he leave his details? Does she/he go back again later on to your website through Google?
Or… after clicking your ad, does the user go back to the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) since your ad wasn’t relevant to her/his search? (that is a very bad signal for Google)
Last but not least - at the bottom line, your goal is to promote your business, create visibility and generate revenue. If you don’t know how to run a Google campaign or if you don’t have the time to do it, let the people who know how to do it, do it
Contact us today for a free consultation meeting!
Did you know…?
Google is letters play on Googol, the term for the digit 1 followed by 100 zeros. Googol is a number larger than the known subatomic particles in the visible universe. Google's founders actually misspelled the name Googol and ended up with "Google". The name's intention was to emphasise that the search engine would index large quantities of information.
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