Seven Common SEM Mistakes

As Red Bridge Media has been involved in hundreds of paid search campaigns, we’ve developed a list of common mistakes made in paid search advertising. Here are 7 tips that will improve any paid search campaign.

1. Opting out of Google’s hidden services

When Google campaigns are created, there are multiple services that will automatically serve your ads. Properly understanding these services and whether or not they fit within your marketing objectives will increase the likelihood of success.

1. Mobile Devices: Unless your landing page is compatible with mobile services or you specifically target mobile phones, you should opt out of this service. Not opting out of these services will drive up your marketing budget with little to no return.
2. Content + Search: Campaigns are automatically created to serve both in the search and content networks. These networks are completely different and should be managed separately. When combined, your quality scores will suffer, resulting in higher costs.
3. Targeting United States + Canada: Often, campaigns will be created without setting a proper geo-target. When left untouched, campaigns intended to be served in California, end up showing in Saskatchewan, Canada.

2. Utilizing high volume, highly competitive keywords

Inside each industry, there are a few hundred keywords that are extremely relevant. Due to the relevance, they are also very competitive. Competitive keywords require higher bids and can result in higher acquisition costs.

Red Bridge Media recommends managing these keywords unique to all other keywords. As well, Red Bridge Media recommends targeting and focusing on other niche and relevant keywords

3. Misunderstanding of keyword match types

There are different match types that describe the flexibility of serving your advertisements. Properly understanding these match types affords greater insight into how to optimize and react to campaign performance.

1. Broad match: This match type allows your ad to show on similar phrases and relevant variations. For example, if you owned a shoe store, you would advertise on the keyword “green shoes.” Broad match will trigger this keyword/advertisement on search queries such as “Lost my shoes.”
2. Phrase match: This match type allows your ad to show for searches that match the exact phrase. For example, if you owned a shoe store, you would advertise on the keyword “green shoes.” Phrase match will trigger this keyword/advertisement on search queries such as “Sell Green Shoes.”
3. Exact match: This match type allows your ad to show for searches that match the exact phrase exclusively. For example, if you owned a shoe store, you would advertise on the keyword “green shoes.” Exact match will trigger this keyword/advertisement only on the search query “green shoes.”
4. Auto match: This match type allows Google to extend your campaign’s reach by using surplus budget to serve your ads on relevant search queries that are not already triggered by your keyword list. For example, if you owned a shoe store and your keyword list didn’t reach its daily limit, Google might start to show your ad on search queries related to “slippers.” This is done until your budget is expended.

4. Not using keyword negatives

If your campaigns utilize broad match keywords, chances are likely that you’ll be matched and served to keywords not relevant to your product or service.

Red Bridge Media recommends regular campaign optimization by running search query reports. Properly using keyword negatives improves the effectiveness of your marketing spend.

5. Ad copy that doesn’t create a compelling value proposition

Search engines attract thousands of visitors with targeted questions. Search marketing is when you effectively where to find these visitors and answer their questions.

Red Bridge Media recommends ad copy that seeks to answer the questions that your potential customers might have. When answers are given, there is a greater likelihood of attracting the visit to the website.

6.Landing pages that complicate the user experience

Visitors to your website have little commitment and little trust. If it takes more than a glance to determine whether or not your landing page has what they are looking for, chances are that they will return and try a competitor’s service.

Red Bridge Media recommends simplifying the landing page experience. By creating island pages inside your website architecture, you can create experiences that will drive greater rates of online customer acquisition.

7. Measuring performance with something other than the end in mind

Understanding the economics and desired return on investment should be identified before the online marketing spend begins. This requires identifying the different values and conversion types, installing conversion tracking, and managing performance from the bottom line.

Red Bridge Media recommends using your paid search efforts as a form of direct marketing.  This approaches allows the marketing to come full circle, which makes it easier to drive greater business revenues.

If you’d like help creating and developing your paid search account, drop us a line at sem@redbridgemedia.com. We’d love to discuss your marketing needs and how you can effectively utilize paid search.