Sometimes, web agencies try to make Search Engine Marketing seem very esoteric. Some of it is complicated, agreed, but the basics are easy enough to grasp. I think it’s important for you to be able to assess your SEM campaign for yourself on some important parameters. It helps build transparency, which in the long term is a better mode of working. It also means that you can offer meaningful inputs when needed and that you have a better picture of what’s going into making your SEM work.
In that spirit, here is a basic checklist that you can refer before launching a new SEM exercise. I’ll admit this isn’t very advanced stuff, but it is a list of some basic hygiene factors and best practices that you should make sure you have a grip on. With those disclaimers out of the way, let’s get on with the list:-
- Have you done your testing? It’s always best to kick off with 2 or 3 variants, see which one(s) work better and modify your ads accordingly. Don’t expect to hit a winning formula straight away.
- Is your ad copy effective? Does it get straight to the point, offer a clear value proposition and clearly use the targeted keyword?
- When it comes to bidding on AdWords, make sure you test Conversion Optimizer on the search or display network.
- In case of manual bidding, make sure to double-check your settings.
- Do you have separate campaigns for content and search?
- Are your ads compatible with all browsers and devices, particularly mobile devices?
- If you’re using Google Search Partners’ network, see if it is making significant contributions.
- When do you get conversions? If conversions peak at certain times, think about only going in for those parts of the day.
- Are you making use of remarketing opportunities? In AdWords, you need to go to the Audiences tab and add the pixel code to the page from where you want to run your retargeting exercise. Be sure to exclude conversions from this activity!
- Have you assigned your most effective keywords to specific ad groups?
- How many conversions are coming from exact matches? If the figures are low you need to start moving high-performing keywords into single-keyword ad groups.
- Have you considered bidding on your competitors’ brand names?
- Have you made sure that your top ad groups exclude all keywords with low quality scores?
Beyond these basic considerations, you’ll start finding that there are many more ways you can get more return on your SEM investment. Or you could contact us and benefit from the i-Vista SEM team’s extensive knowledge pool and past experience!