Paid search advertising has become highly complex. With an increasing number of options and information, advertisers have much greater ability to control their campaigns, but that same complexity can present challenges. There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to SEM and the “let Google decide” default isn’t always the best choice either. It can be difficult to understand why an advertising campaign isn’t working or what should be done about a specific problem but every business can benefit from some basics.
Here are three paid search tactics that have to happen today:
Optimize for mobile
You have at least one. So does nearly every person you meet. We are talking about mobile devices. Half of all Internet searches are done on mobile, and Google took note. Nearly every algorithm change that Google has made in the last two years or so has been about mobile. Your website rank has been affected by how well it performs on a smartphone and so will your ad campaign.
Optimizing your SEM plan for mobile is not a one-step process.
- Fewer ads. Everything looks different on mobile. Where desktop search may have up to 10 ads displayed, Mobile search only includes a few so your ad rank must be in the top 3.
- Keyword differences. Search strings on mobile are shorter and more likely to include misspellings than desktop. Your keyword identification needs to take mobile users into consideration.
- Mobile moments. Mobile users are much more likely to do spontaneous searches for information. Your keyword targeting should consider those “I want to go,” “I want to know,” “I want to do” and “I want to buy” moments.
- Website performance. How well your website works on mobile affects more than your search engine rank. Your website’s quality score may drive up the cost of your ads, lowering the cost effectiveness of your campaign.
Bottom line: If you don’t have a strategy for optimizing your paid search for mobile, get one – now.
Get rid of pop-ups
While pop-up ads on your website may have had a pay-off in the past, Google has taken a serious disliking to them. They may simply annoy desktop users, but mobile users have much lower tolerance. You already know that Google is penalizing websites by lowering search engine rank because of mobile performance but you may not understand how that affects paid search.
Your website has already been given a quality score which is based on the quality of your landing page and other user experience metrics – including things like pop-up ads – and Google says more quality score info is on the way. The bidding process for PPC ads is complex but in general – the lower your quality score, the lower your ads will place… and the more they will cost.
Bottom line: Overall, your website needs to be “mobile-first” but if you don’t do anything else – get rid of the pop-up ads today.
Go beyond keywords
Used to be that you simply tossed up a keyword-based ad and took your chances along with everyone else. Now though, Google has a ton of information about each Internet user as an individual and you can go way beyond the keyword identification to show your ads to the right customer.
Google’s massive data collection is part of what has made the company successful and you should take advantage of it in your advertising. You probably already use Google’s data to tell you what happened with your ads after they ran – you should also use it beforehand. Google’s “Audiences” tab lets you target your audience for who, where and when your ads appear by demographics, location, time and device.
Bottom line: We care so much about what Google “thinks” because of how much Google “knows.” If you aren’t using all of that “stuff that Google knows” to target your advertising, you are missing out.
Even SEM experts find that keeping up with Google is challenging but if your business isn’t already using these three paid search tactics, take a good, long look at your program and ask, “Why not?”
Then make sure someone gets started on it – today.
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