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Digital Boot Camp: Bing, Google Discuss SEM Best Practices

Google says that around 78% of US internet users go online to search for info on products and services. This makes the website the digital storefront of any business. The challenge isn’t just having a website, but making it findable. There are many ways for websites to be found online, but more often than not, the journey to a webpage starts on a search engine.

For that reason, during a workshop Google and Bing explained some of the fundamental and sometimes complex aspects of making a website more findable with paid search ads. Google set the stage by examining some stats to highlight the importance of SEM:

  • 78% of US internet users go online to search for info on products and services;
  • During the day desktop searches peak and in the evening tablets and smartphone searches peak;
  • Search bookends the purchase process with consumers looking for options in the beginning of the process and looking for how to buy near the end.

Microsoft followed up with some great tips for succeeding with SEM. For instance, they said before getting into the creation and execution of a SEM campaign, it is important to get a strong understanding of who is looking for you and to think like a consumer. From there, the process of creating keywords, building ads and audience targeting can be a much smoother process.

Microsoft continued to provide other tips such as:

  • Set-up different bidding strategy for each audience you want to target;
  • Bid highest on exact match campaigns, then phrase match, and then broad match;
  • Create multiple versions of search ads in order to get a better idea of what consumers are looking for (i.e. offers, discounts, selection, etc.);
  • Provide a clear call to action;
  • Begin testing search ads before peak season of sales for your industry;
  • Smaller budgets need more attention (do monthly budgets instead of daily budgets);
  • Mobile clicks cost more than PC clicks, consider adjusting bidding strategy for mobile as well;
  • Site link extensions are important and on Bing, the average increase in CTRs was nearly 16% when site link extensions were added.

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