SEM (search engine marketing), also known as pay per click, is a great way to drive traffic to your website. Since you have to pay for these clicks, the trick is finding keywords that your competitors are not bidding on.
Google’s Adwords Keyword Tool is great for doing your SEM research. You enter a keyword or phrase, and it will give you several ideas. It also gives you stats including the number of monthly searches, the estimated cost per click, and the level of competition for that keyword.
SEM puts you on the first page of Google.
Google makes the majority of their revenue selling these ads. So, if you are willing to spend some money on Google Adwords, you can be on the first page of Google’s results. These ads show up above the organic results, so they get clicked more often than not.
Having an optimized ad really helps.
When creating your ad you want to try and make it stand out. The more clicks you get the higher your click through rate becomes, which is a key factor in your ad’s Quality Score. This Quality Score affects the cost per click of your ad, so it’s important to optimize.
Once you have several ads, and they have been running for awhile, you can determine which ones are doing the best. You can try tweaking the ones that are lagging behind to improve them, or just delete them and stick with the ones that are getting the clicks.
Don’t forget your landing page.
This is the page on your website the ad directs the traffic to. Google keeps track of whether the person who clicks the ad stays on your website or bounces. The fewer bounces you get the more relevant your content looks to Google. This Bounce Rate affects your ad’s Quality Score too.
Another reason to have a great landing page is conversions. Since you are paying for these clicks, you want to make as many sales as you can. Getting lots of traffic, that you are paying for, doesn’t do you any good if that traffic isn’t creating revenue.
Be sure to track your conversions.
Adwords allows you to track your ad’s conversions by placing a small snippet of code on your website. You place this code on the page that the customer sees after they’ve completed a valuable action on your website. For example, it might go on your purchase confirmation page.
By tracking conversions you can see exactly which ad is the most effective. Once you know this, you can use this information to improve your SEM efforts by creating more successful ads like it.