Over 70% of consumers refer to the internet to find both local and online businesses. Out of this, 90% agree that ads influence their decision. Search Engine Marketing strategies are no longer an option, but an unavoidable element to redirect potential customers to your business. Your best bet of achieving this is by outshining the competition to land on the first search result page, and effective SEM will lead you to it.
At this moment, a potential customer could be searching for your exact product or service. But would they find you soon enough, or would they have to shuffle through multiple Google pages to find yours?
The most powerful strategy for you to get in front of customers digitally is by employing search engine marketing. If done right, your website would appear immediately when the audience is searching for your products.
As easy as it might sound, the trick is to find effective methods to outsmart your competition. Most companies have an offshore dedicated team and digital marketing continually working to stay updated with the new trends and developing software that matches the evolving landscape. Consequently, there is no concrete SEM plan that would yield you the best results every time.
Before you proceed, let us take a moment to clear up some terminology confusion. SEM is a paid strategy that works for websites to appear on top of the result page. SEO, on the other hand, uses strategies to appear in the organic search results. 68% of trackable traffic comes website traffic is a result of the combination of these two.
Considering the 2020 digital landscape, here are a few tactics that would help to improve the visibility of your website.
1. A Focus on Better Audience Targeting
The first chapter of SEM 101 would be researching the target audience. What the search engine algorithm values the most is unique, engaging, and relevant content that is the most beneficial to the user, even for ad campaigns. As you pay every time someone clicks on your ad, you want to ensure that every click you get is your money’s worth. But it could be useful for business, as statistics show that PPC visitors are 50% more likely to purchase than organic visitors.
Nevertheless, this means narrowing down to the precise things that your potential customer would be looking for and eliminating the rest. It is more important than ever to understand the search patterns of your target group, through the right word phrasing. Marketing skills may not be enough for this. You may need to finish a product management course to understand rules of customer development, building user journey maps and making user interviews properly.
2. Identify the Relevant and Irrelevant Keywords
One common mistake that marketers make is they focus only on relevant keywords in a marketing campaign. However, irrelevant keywords could also cost you money if a non-related search query picks up your ad, and the user clicks on it. Doing the audience research by yourself or could help you identify the right keywords.
However, your competitors will also be using these good keywords. The right move is to hire dedicated programmers to do competitor keyword analysis to find those unique to your business, by location or an exclusive service you offer. You will have to sort out keywords by finding the right balance between relevance, traffic, and competition. It is not choosing between the audience or keywords, but about efficiently layering them together.
3. Leverage All Ad Opportunities
Most businesses weigh-in only Google while planning for marketing strategies. Google unarguably dominates the search market share with 92.51%. It is followed by Bing and Yahoo at less than 3%. However, there are other platforms that are encouraging marketing campaigns. If your target audience is active on any other platform, you should also devise strategies applying to them.
54% of product searches start on Amazon and not Google. Facebook and Instagram are also welcoming ad campaigns on their platforms. This is an increased opportunity to create brand awareness, as well. Remote marketers should aim at a fluid budgeting allocated between trending platforms, including Tiktok, Snapchat, Pinterest, Youtube, and others your target audience is favoring at the moment.
4. Review The New Features Regularly
Google has already announced some tweaks in its algorithm for the Ads campaigns. Later in 2019, Google redesigned ads to look similar to organic results, only with few distinctions. It first appeared in mobiles and has now extended to all devices. Though this change in software development might seem small, this makes it more relevant to work on your ad copy, as the audience won’t immediately recognize it as an ad and ignore it right away.
In 2020, you can also expect Gallery Ads, which would allow you to include swipeable images. Google is also enabling lead generation from ads through lead form extensions. Though some of these changes are in beta, marketing-dedicated teams should still focus on devising strategies and do programming outsourcing to benefit from the changes.
5. Budget for the Rising CPCs
Most marketers will tell you that the first step is to set an SEM budget for the year. It is indeed true, but better done after identifying how your strategies will evolve over the year. The rates for CPS has been rising since 2019, lacking additional SERP space to compete for, and the ads are getting bigger. Google had also removed the Enhanced CPC limit, allowing the algorithm to increase bids if it sees the opportunity to deliver better conversion rates.
However, to enable business owners to benefit the most from their SEM budget, Google would be withdrawing the accelerated ad delivery and would be offering only standard delivery to better use of the budgets as of April 2020. Unfortunately, the competition will only increase, along with the costs. It is highly recommended that marketers set realistic budgets and expectations.
What is happening behind the scenes of search engine marketing is always changing. You have to keep tabs on what the search engines find the most attractive and make sure that your website gives it to them.
Emma is a marketing specialist who writes about technology, internet marketing, and SEO. She currently works as the Product Marketing Manager at Qubit Labs, an offshore dedicated team. She works for IT individuals who offer programming solutions that fit any industry or work environment.