Online Marketing Basics #5: Best Uses of Search Engine Advertising (SEA)
The fifth part of our online marketing series discusses another branch of search engine marketing: Search Engine Advertising (SEA). There, you pay for ads that match certain search queries. If you’re good at creating those ads, you will be able to generate traffic on your website, as well as collect data, to better optimize your page.
What is SEA?
SEA is short for Search Engine Advertising. Without a doubt, more or less everyone has already seen those ads. We talk about the search results at the top or to the right-hand side of the organic search results that are clearly marked as ads. Some time ago, they were highlighted somewhat pinkish, nowadays they show a yellow button.
In the organic search results, you get top rankings because Google thinks your site matches best a certain search query. For the prominent ads, you have to pay. However, you still should care about the content and quality of the ads. Note: Of course, you can do SEO and SEA with all kinds of search engines. But, as discussed in part four of this series, since Google is such an important player we will focus on Google AdWords – the online advertising service of the search juggernaut.
What is SEA Good for?
The most important reason to set up an AdWords campaign is to direct traffic to a website – which is usually your own. If you do the ads right, search engine advertising is really able to deliver results. However, if you invest this kind of money for SEA ads, you should further utilize this campaign to optimize your website. Thereby, you could not only gain from a better SEO, but also increase click-through-rates (CTR) for organic SERPs and improve your website’s conversion rates.
Here’s what beginners should aim for with SEA:
- Instant delivery of traffic even without top SERP rankings: You are listed prominently on the first results page, even though your page didn’t build enough trust to make page one organically.
- Provide web site traffic beyond the main aspects of your site: If you sell product X in your web shop without publishing test reviews there, a user searching for test reviews could still be in your target group. So if you create an ad for „product X test review“ you get listed in the SERPs without actually providing the respective content. Another example: You want to extend your offerings seasonally but are not able to get organic top rankings (or it would take too long). There, it makes total sense to advertize your Christmas must-haves, Easter don’t forgets, Mother Day´s how-cutes or Valentine’s Day’s love-you-toos to your target groups.
- Collect data in order to optimize your web presence: Compared with the Google Keyword Planner, a limited AdWords campaign provides you with better data – and much more of it. You can analyze your website’s conversion rates, or if your page’s title and description are effective in generating sufficient CTRs.
How to Create a Google AdWords Campaign?
First, you need a Google account. There, you log in to adwords.google.com. Creating a campaign is simple and works rather intuitively. Furthermore, the Google AdWords help feature gives you easily comprehensible and well-prepared information about how to create campaigns. We refrain from providing a step-by-step guide here since the AdWords platform constantly evolves . Instead, we will discuss the main aspects of a successful campaign assuming this to stay true regardless of any platform tweaks.
Start by setting a daily budget, the language, the region, the beginning and the end of your campaign. Afterward, you need to determine the right keywords using the Keyword Planner and to create convincing, appealing ads. For the latter, tips about how to create high-quality content for your website apply. There are more articles about this here at Noupe, see the links at the end of this post.
Obviously, the copy should clearly relate to the keyword. The user with a search query wants information about that keyword after all. Your offerings have to match the query and provide a solution for it. Their benefits should be presented short and to the point. If this is done right, the click rate should be alright accordingly.
Additionally, Google requires the target page to have relevant and unique content related to the search query. The search behemoth also rates the relevancy of ad and target page. If you hit Google’s quality requirements, it will positively affect the cost and position of your ads.
The search engine came up with those quality scores for its own benefit. The better the ads satisfy the needs of the users, the more they convey trust and the more they get clicked. Since you pay per click, Google’s cash register rings. And rings. Of course, the same applies to you: If your ads are good enough for Google and they get clicked often, they are also good enough for your target group. You know they relate to your content and visit your website as a result.
The AdWords help feature will help you to test your quality score. Additionally, Google provides an online video course explaining the main aspects of relevant ads. For related links see the end of this post.
Evaluation of SEA and How it Relates to SEO
You should connect your Google AdWords account with your Google Analytics account in order to be able to best analyze the efficiency of your AdWords ads. For example, you learn how often certain search queries happened and how many ad clicks resulted from it. And with Google Analytics you get data about what your website visitors actually did on your page.
It’s not sufficient, though, to know what you can measure. It’s much more important to know how to interpret and evaluate these data. And how to use the numbers to optimize your website. So here’s a list with some important data sets and conclusions about what to make of it:
- Impressions: You learn how often a keyword is searched for during a certain period of time. The Keyword Planner would only provide approximate numbers. Thus, the impressions help you determine which keyword delivers the most for your buck.
- Clicks/CTR: Clicks and click-through-rates tell you which ads are more appealing to the users. At the same time, these numbers reveal which titles and meta descriptions could work well on your webite – helping you optimize your on site SEO.
- Served: The column „Served“ inside the „Ads“ tab in Google AdWords shows you which ad was used how often. Also telling you what kind of ad content Google thinks is important. This again helps you to optimize your page title and meta descriptions regarding to SEO. The reason being that Google’s algorithm already estimates which ad will generate the most clicks with regard to a certain search query.
(Important note: Don’t create just one ad for every ad group, but several ads. Only then you are able to compare the CTRs and the performance within the „Served“ column.)
- Bounce rate: Connecting AdWords and Analytics enables you to measure how many users clicked your AdWords ad and got directed to your website. The bounce rate tells you if they stayed or exited right away. Here are 3 reasons for high bounce rates: 1. The site’s design put the audience off, 2. The usability of the page didn’t satisfy the visitors, 3. The content didn’t match the expectations or needs. And before you harass your designer – most of the time content’s the culprit. So SEA also tells you which content you need to optimize.
What’s Next in Our Online Marketing Series?
The next part deals with Email Marketing. We will discuss the main aspects about how to do it in general, and how to design successful marketing emails.