In recent years, search engine advertising has become the lifeblood of a digital marketing campaign of many small businesses.
According to Iron Paper, the U.S. has the leading market share generating revenue of about $33 billion in 2016 alone.
So what is search engine advertising? And how can you use it to improve your brand visibility? Let’s talk about that.
What is search engine advertising?
Search engine advertising is an online advertising strategy that puts online ads in search engine results.
This is also commonly known as Google Ads (formerly called Google AdWords), Bing Ads, search engine marketing (SEM).
Or, pay-per-click advertising (PPC advertising).
This process involves businesses paying a small amount of money every time a user clicks on a search engine ad that they place on…
…search engine results pages (SERPs).
This form of advertising has proven to be a lot more powerful because these internet users who use search engines to…
…buy stuff reveal a lot about their intention – what they want to buy, or when they are ready to buy.
Online advertisers have the ability to bid on specific keywords so that…
…their ads will be displayed to people looking for exactly the products/services they sell.
Can you think of a better way to reach your targeted audience?
There is a good reason why search engine advertising has grown so popular in comparison to, say, display or TV advertising.
For example, you could bid to put an advert in the search query results when users in Milwaukee search for “cosmetic surgeon.”
You can also tell these advertising platforms such as Google (and other search engines) the maximum amount of money.
Or, your advertising budget that you are willing to pay when searchers click on your ad(s).
There’s a lot you can do to make sure that your marketing budget is stretched as much as possible by only reaching the people who are likely to buy.
Help boost your conversion rate and build brand awareness.
How does search engine advertising work?
When you type something into a search bar, the search engine (like Google, Bing, or Yahoo) shows you a number of links to website pages…
…that are relevant to your “search query”.
This is known as a search engine results page (SERP).
Now, most of the links on these pages are organic search results, i.e. website pages that were considered…
…the best match for your search by the search engine algorithm.
What search engine advertising or paid search advertising does is show your web page at the top or bottom of these search engine results pages.
The good thing about paid search advertising is you don’t have to be a big business like Amazon, Microsoft, or Coca-Cola to use it.
Whether you serve clients with higher lifetime value (like colleges and dentists).
Or you offer high margin products/services (like lawyers or real estate firms), search engine advertising is one of the fastest ways to…
…get traffic to your website or landing page.
Best search engine advertising techniques
Search engines like Google and Bing would have you think that running search advertising campaigns is a piece of cake.
What they won’t tell you is there’s a lot that goes into making an ad campaign effective and successful.
Of course, you can just set an ad up and let it run without tracking its performance.
If your goal is to burn through your marketing budget faster than we can say search engine advertising!
In this article, we are going to tell you about 7 ways to optimize search engine advertising campaigns so…
…you can make sure your time AND money yield a beautiful ROI. (Yes, returns on your investment can be beautiful.)
7 Ways to Optimize Search Engine Advertising Campaigns
#1 Never run just one ad
“Why not?! Wouldn’t it be smarter to run only one ad when I am just getting started?”
When you run an ad, you need something to compare it to.
See, we always recommend checking your bids while running two ads even if it’s your first campaign.
Quick note: A bid is the amount of money that you pay per click for each ad.
These are set by the search engine and can fluctuate as the market changes and depending on the quality score of your ads.
Just because an ad garners several clicks or has a high click-through rate (CTR) doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s performing well.
You need to determine if it’s actually converting into customers or leads.
Also, when you run two ads side by side, you can compare their performance and see which one is bringing you more leads.
After all, your goal is to minimize your spending on low-performing ads and increase your bidding amount for high-performing ads.
#2 Determine the best match types
Keywords are a significant part of both search engine optimization and search engine advertising campaigns.
You can read more about keywords in this post if you are new to SEO. Similar concepts apply to search advertising.
The only difference is you are optimizing for keywords with SEO, but paying/bidding for keywords in PPC.
The method of your keyword research should be about the same.
Once you have done your research and identified the best keywords for each ad.
You need to determine which match type is going to attract the most targeted traffic.
Search engines like Google use these match types to decide which type of search queries should display your ads.
Here are the match types in detail:
Broad match: This type of match shows your ad to anyone doing a Google search that includes your keyword – regardless of…
…additional words and phrases in the search query.
So obviously, this gives your ad the highest level of exposure there is, but at the same time it can be dangerous.
How? With this match, you run the risk of attracting the wrong kind of traffic to your website and wasting your money.
For example, if you are selling women’s shoes, you would not want someone searching for “women’s black shoe polish” clicking on your ads.
Exact match: This is the most restrictive type of match as it only shows your ad to users that…
…search for your exact, specific keywords – with no words before or after.
For example, if your keyword is “women’s black shoes”, your ad will only be shown to people who search for that exact phrase.
Even though this match type can vastly limit the reach of your ads.
It increases the odds that people clicking on your ads will be highly interested in your product/service.
Phrase match: Phrase match, as the name suggests, tells the search engines to show your ad to users that search for your exact keywords…
…in the exact order you’ve created them – while still allowing text before or after.
For example, if your keyword is “tote bags”, your ad will also show up for searches like “cheap tote bags”, or “buy tote bags”.
With match types, there is no such thing as “the best one” as it depends on your marketing budget and goals.
You should experiment to see which match type works best for your ad campaigns.
#3 Determine keywords you want to avoid
Yes, there is such a thing as negative keywords. Using negative keywords is one of the best ways to control who search engines show your ads to.
Also, if you are using phrase match or broad match types, there’s a chance that your ads will appear for irrelevant searches.
And, you’ll want to combat this.
For example, if you are selling high-end “women’s shoes”, you wouldn’t want to attract traffic that’s searching for “cheap women’s shoes”.
So you might want to list “cheap” and “affordable” as negative keywords.
Brainstorm the search terms or phrases that you’d want to avoid.
Negative keywords will allow you to exclude these search terms from your ad campaigns so you can concentrate on targeting the right traffic.
As you run ads and see the actual search queries that users are searching for.
You will learn more about which negative keywords should be included for each ad.
#4 Keep an eye out for new keywords
A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that just because a keyword is performing really well one month.
It will continue doing so for an indefinite amount of time.
You need to be well aware of the most popular search phrases with the highest search volumes and the best performing keywords that your target customers are using – at all times.
Keep a track of all your keywords and check them regularly to see how they are performing.
This will help you identify which keywords are profitable and which ones need to be eliminated from your campaigns.
You can identify trends and adjust your bids according to your findings.
There are a lot of tools you can use to come up with new keywords. We suggest using Google Keyword Planner.
#5 Pay extra attention if selling seasonal products
Do you sell products or services that will be more in-demand during certain times of the year due to weather, major events, or holidays?
If yes, then you should really think about increasing your budget on…
…search engine advertising for the months leading to these periods of higher demand so as to profit from the extra traffic.
And you can also add countdown customizers in your ads.
For instance, during the Christmas season, people usually buy products and have it delivered before Christmas Eve.
So if you have an e-commerce business, you probably have a recommended last day in shipping packages to be received on time.
You can then add “Buy within 3 days to get your gift before Christmas” in your ads. Doing so has proven to be very effective.
#6 Fine-tune your ad copy
What’s the one thing – other than the right keywords – that ultimately helps a user decide whether or not to click on an ad?
It’s the ad copy. The content. The meat of a website page. You get the idea.
Now, you don’t have to be a pro at writing when it comes to your ad copy. In our experience, simple works best.
Keep it straightforward and concise. With so much content online, users have become less prone to fluff pieces and over-the-top promises.
You should also have a few variations of all your ad copies so that you can try out all of them and see which one performs best.
This is your chance to experiment with different phrases and language to craft your message.
Take a look at your competitors’ ad copies to see what they are doing right or which points they might be missing out on.
In addition, you should also optimize your ad copy with your target keywords.
In fact, your ad title, URL, and description should include the keywords as well.
If you want a pro to write or optimize your copy, then we have just the right people for you! Contact us to set up your search engine advertising campaigns.
#7 Hire a professional
As a business owner, you already don a lot of hats.
So if you think you don’t have time to properly manage your ad campaigns, it is better to hire a professional search advertising agency.
Yes, this comes with a price, but may actually be cheaper than letting your ads run on autopilot.
Unoptimized ads cost more than those managed and monitored daily as our experts do.
Working with professionals guarantees you a better return on investment than giving it a go on your own if you’re inexperienced.
Since there will be a team of professionals managing your ads and optimizing them for better performance 24×7.
You can be certain that your marketing budget will be best utilized.
This will also allow you to concentrate on more essential aspects of your business while still being able to…
…enjoy the rewards of your search engine advertising campaigns.
And since we are feeling generous today, here are a couple of bonus tips for you:
When it comes to your ad campaigns, never ever think of them as separate entities; they are a part of your business.
Make sure that when users type in the slogan or tagline of your latest search engine advertising campaign into the search bar.
They get a recognizable ad for your site that will take them to your website for more information.
If you offer your products or services to customers worldwide, you might need to set up your ad campaigns on a country to country basis.
Make sure that your keywords, ad copy, language, etc. is tailored to the countries you are targeting your customers in.
Search engines like Google are truly incredible in the sense that they allow you to target the customers in a specific geographic location of your choice.
Take advantage of that.
Search engine advertising tools
Other than Google’s Keyword Planner tool, there are two more tools that are very helpful in online search advertising:
- Google Ads Editor
- Google Search Query Performance Reports
The Ads editor is an excellent tool that lets you control all your ad campaigns with relative ease.
You can analyze your ads and make multiple changes accordingly with little hassle.
While the search query performance reports tell you the exact number of people who are looking for your ads online.
You can use these tools to gather valuable data to craft your perfect ad copy as well as…
…identify the high-performing keywords to help increase your ad rank.
As you see, search engine advertising can really be well worth the money for your business, so long as you know how your ads are performing.
Use these tips to make sure that the money and time you are putting into your ad campaigns is giving you the best return on investment.
Even if you are a small business owner with a smaller targeted audience, there’s still a lot you can learn about search engine advertising.
This article should give you the best tips you can use to start and run a successful search ad campaign.
But if you’re feeling this is all too much, we certainly don’t blame you.
Many businesses find it difficult to spend time or resources to learn (and experiment) with this.
This is why we offer all-inclusive services for search engine advertising that support your marketing campaigns.
Contact us today if you want to start making money from your ads.
If you have any more search engine advertising techniques you’d like to share, feel free to leave them in the comments below.