What Is A Search Engine Marketing Strategy?
A profitable and efficient search engine marketing strategy is the perfect marriage between comprehensive on-site SEO implementation combined with keyword-driven and data-driven paid media (PPC) marketing in Google Ads.
Over the last five years, marketers have seen an evolution of search marketing where data is at the epicenter of every campaign, and rightfully so, data tells us what our customers want and need, marketers just need to listen and deliver answers.
Without actionable data, a search engine marketing strategy is nothing but a guessing game, based off of gut instinct. Not to say gut instincts are wrong, but they can’t be proven – keyword research and cross-device reports can.
As humanities education process through search engines continues to advance, their user journey advances with it. We’re seeing more devices come into the picture, and as that span from desktop to mobile devices increases, it’s becoming more important for any marketing organization to truly leverage an Omni-channel search marketing strategy that completes your customers’ “jobs-to-be-done” better than the competition.
Why Do We “Search”?
Search connects inspiration with action, linking those moments of customer intent, like when someone wants to buy something, find a business or a place, or understand what’s going on in the news, with a relevant piece of information.
Four trends that are changing Search Marketing that can’t be ignored:
- Messaging Apps
- Connected Devices
A successful search engine marketing strategy bases content and messaging off those customer intent signals and data, so your brand can be at the right place at the right time and deliver a potential customer the answer, product, or service they need in as few clicks as possible so they become a loyal customer.
The Three Pillars To Creating A Profitable Search Engine Marketing Strategy:
- Keyword Research & Implementation
- Ad Creation
- Bidding Strategy
How To Discover The Right Keywords For Your Search Engine Marketing Strategy
There’s no question, extensive data and keyword research are the most important precursors to any successful search marketing strategy.
Users don’t search on Google for questions, they go to this platform for answers and your search marketing strategy must focus on completing their jobs-to-be-done in every line you ever create.
Think about these customer questions before strategizing your text ad copy.
- What are they trying to accomplish on search engines?
- What are their questions, concerns, and jobs they want to be done?
These incredible keyword tools are at any organizations disposal and will help you with your search engine marketing strategy:
A tool like Google’s keyword planner will show your business invaluable predictive analysis for a multitude of data points so your brand can strategize your keywords to achieve maximum ROI in your search marketing strategy.
What Google does better than almost anyone, they produce a truly customer-centric user experience. Their goal is and always has been to complete a user’s “job-to-be-done” as quickly as possible.
If your company can use one of the many machine learning tools to digest the important questions, deduct your customers’ problems and then strategize your sales and marketing efforts around their pain points, you’re sure to elevate their user experience, all the while creating a generation of brand-loyal consumers.
A service like Google’s Keyword Planner is the epitome of working smarter, not harder to achieve success in your search marketing strategy.
In addition to the research, a tool like this is essential to innovation and growth because it will seamlessly allow you to organize this uncovered customer data from thousands of your keywords so you can leverage that to influence your search engine marketing strategy.
Data without purpose is just data. It’s practically meaningless and many large organizations struggle to know how to leverage it in their messaging. But, organized and comprehensive data and analytics will keep your company leaps and bounds ahead of the competition.
The data and insights uncovered will allow your brand to set baselines and:
- Produce custom intent audiences with segmentation
- Identify related searches to use remarketing more efficiently
- Uncover levels of competition of industry and non-industry competitors in the Paid & Organic marketplace
- Gather customer language to segment targeted audiences and messaging
Customer experience is everything to Google and the more valuable keywords your organization can gather, the more likely you are to be the company answering the questions a user is searching for.
The benefits of keywords don’t end with your customer, however. You’re also appealing to Google’s algorithm that scans every one of your website pages explicitly looking for relevant keywords that will place your product or services in front of the right customer when they search on their desktop, laptop, tablet, or mobile phone.
Once you’ve compiled your list of valuable keywords and related data, you’re one step closer towards formulating a profitable search engine marketing strategy.
How To Create Profitable Ads For Your Search Engine Marketing Strategy
A text ad on Google search is the most widely used form of digital marketing. Even though it may seem like a simple task to create ads for your organization, it actually takes a tremendous amount of research, creative strategy, and tactical bidding to achieve predictable growth and profitable ROI.
Every ad is broken down into four parts:
- The Headline Text
- Description Text
- A Display URL
- Ad Extensions
If your organization is looking to maximize success on Google, we’d suggest creating three or more ads per ad group, while allowing optimized ad rotation and enabling four or more ad extensions.
Why, you ask?
- It will give a performance uplift.
- You will win more auctions.
- You will extend your message to a wider audience.
Google states that ad groups with three or more high-quality ads can receive up to 15% more clicks or conversions than groups with two or less high-quality ads.
Need-To-Know Search Marketing Tips
- Focus on user benefits.
- Tie creative execution to your keywords.
- Avoid generic language and use “user journey focused” focused CTA’s.
- Avoid questions, people are already searching because they have questions, give them answers.
Headline Tips For Your Search Marketing Strategy
- Introduce your value proposition, hook, or CTA. This should immediately communicate the relevance of your ad to a user and grab their attention.
- Swap headlines. This is one of the simplest ways to create and test new messages.
- Utilize your keywords. By leveraging your top performing keywords into your headlines you’re strengthening your message as well as your quality score.
- Focus on testing ad copy in your headlines. Your headline is 90% of what is read by a consumer when they’re browsing Google. It matters.
- Use direct and relevant headlines to your true market audience.
- Try rhyming with keywords or using alliteration to grab attention.
Description Line Tips For Your Search Engine Marketing Strategy
- Educate and inform your consumers. Utilize the description line to provide additional information about your products or services. Go as in-depth as the 80-character limit allows.
- Think cross-device. Create text ads that appeal to users whether they are on their mobile device, tablet, laptop, or their desktop computer.
- Focus on the user. Include the most important information as well as the action that you want them to take.
- Use all of your characters. The more real estate you can take up on search pages, the better.
- Provide a clear CTA, give users a next step to complete.
URL Description Tips For Your Search Engine Marketing Strategy
A user-friendly URL is subliminal advertising at its best. It’s yet another tactic for your digital marketing specialist or SEO expert to grab your audience's attention and say, “hi, I’m relevant to you.”
Now, there’s no question, the average customer searching through Google isn’t necessarily thinking about impeccable URL design, but when it’s done right, your business will immediately attract your customer’s attention and you’re more likely to generate quality leads.
It’s these kinds of small additions to your Google Ads text ads that increase conversions and click-through-rates.
Take it from any SEO expert, even the Google Webmasters want you to use keywords in your URL, this will increase the likelihood of your site ranking for the terms you’re spending valuable advertising money on.
- Avoid “and’s” or “the.” These are just distractions and can be stripped out of the URL altogether.
- Keep tabs on lower-case and upper-case URLs. Use canonical tags to mark the lower-case URL as the preferred version or use permanent redirects.
- Hashtags can be helpful when you want to send users to a specific section of a page, but try to minimize hashtags in other conditions.
- Stick with hyphens to separate words within your URL design. Underscores will join two words together, so be very careful when using these.
- Google gives you 512 pixels for your URL, after that they will truncate your URL in search results.
- Avoid too many keywords. While having keywords in your URL design is a positive thing, too many may be abrasive to a potential customer.
- Keep URLs simple and relevant. Your goal is for your users and search engines to understand the URL, so keep it clean.
- Do not use spaces to separate words.
Ad Extension Tips For Your Search Engine Marketing Strategy
Google’s ad extensions are an incredibly underused opportunity for any business to gain prominence on search result pages, while simultaneously adding valuable information and visual assistance to your potential customers.
- Try utilizing at least four ad extensions for each campaign and/or ad group. The more eligible extensions you give your ads the better the opportunity to complete user’s jobs-to-be-done.
These ad extensions, such as location extensions, call extensions, and app install extensions are proven to aid user experience as well as increase conversions. Any added friction in a customer’s purchase or education journey will almost always lead to abandonment and your potential customer will more than likely take their business to a competitor.
Every account has the ability to enable extensions to show with your ads and allow your customers to complete their jobs-to-be-done in one click. So, we would recommend enabling every extension that aligns with your marketing goals and objectives.
- Ads with multiple extensions often perform better than ads with only one extension.
Try not to repeat what you already say in your ad text.
- Call Extensions: If you’re trying to receive phone calls for leads, these display the phone number for your business or a forwarding number provided by Google. Any time you can provide a one-click process, you’re showing customers that your brand cares about user-experience.
- Location Extensions: If you’re a retail location and trying to drive customers to your brick and mortar, these will link your ad to your address. Again, producing a one-click experience is key towards digital growth.
- Sitelinks: These allow you to provide links to additional landing pages. They allow your organization to take up additional real estate on search result pages as well as
provide quick links to improve user-experience.
- Callouts: These are little, bullet point messages where you can provide more information about your offer or business in a reader-friendly format.
- Structured Snippets: These will allow your team to add a list of items to your ads. If you sell different brands then you could create a list, or if you provide different services, you can list them for your customer to easily peruse.
How To Formulate A Profitable Search Marketing Bidding Strategy
Google released a statistic that 80% of digital marketers’ time is spent on manual tasks like bidding, the remaining 20% is spent on strategy. The problem is, this division of time should be reversed for digital marketers to create truly effective digital marketing campaigns.
Digital marketers need to be smarter and more efficient with their time management and Google wants to help, that’s why it’s important to test Google’s Smart Bidding. It was introduced to help your clients or your business solve these time management issues and tackle this increasingly complex bidding landscape.
Why use Smart Bidding?
- Because bidding impacts account performance
- Because a search auction is dynamic
- Because the user journey has become more complex
Why Smart Bidding Is Relevant For Your Business
- Smart Bidding strategies will free up time so your paid media strategists’ and marketing teams and focus on brand strategy and creative visions.
- Auction time bidding improves the performance of your accounts.
- You’re able to bid on exclusive signals for an increased quality in account management.
Auction Time Bidding Improves Search Marketing Account Performance
Smart Bidding allows any organization to tailor their bids to each user’s unique search context, using relevant signals present at each auction time improves performance.
Basically, they allow your brand or client’s to bid on exclusive signals.
This is how smart bidding can help your brand bid on exclusive signals that will help segment your audiences online and increase the relevance of your content.
Let’s say there are three different users searching the same search query of “Hilton Hotel London.” However, these users are all in three different locations. By utilizing smart bidding you’ll be able to garner more information about them even though the searches were identical.
- A man searches for Hilton London and he’s looking for room availability and pricing for booking.
- A woman that’s currently staying there and she’s looking for what time the gym and spa are open until.
- Another woman is searching for directions to Hilton London.
Take Action In Your Search Marketing Strategy With Smart Bidding
Do comprehensive keyword research and define your audiences and their “jobs-to-be-done” and how your search engine marketing strategy can accomplish those jobs as efficiently as possible.
Enable three or more expanded text ads per ad group.
- When your organization creates at least three distinct pieces of ad creative within the same ad group, you’re ensuring that Google can test each variation to make sure it’s serving the right ad to the right user at the right time, which will incrementally boost the likelihood of achieving your targets and goals.
Apply lists for any audience groupings that you wish to target at the campaign or ad group level
- By adding audience lists to your campaigns, Google’s algorithms will automatically take into account rich user signals, such as intent, context, recency and adjust bids for your true market audience.
Ensure each ad group is focused around a specific theme and directs a user to a detailed and keyword focused landing page.
- Building ad groups that push users to a singular landing page will allow your brand or your clients to be extremely targeted and specific with your keywords and ad copy. As your messaging gains specificity, you’ll increase quality score and ROI.
There are typically two factors that impact how long your organization should wait before assessing data:
- Learning Period: Google’s algorithms are constantly learning and adjusting to meet your or your client’s needs. The more stable, long-term data points you can attain, the better you can form predictions and optimize to surpass goals.
- Time Lag For Conversions: Most clicks don’t result in immediate conversions. Know your standard time lag for conversions and factor this into the waiting period to make sure you’re measuring conversion performance accurately.
For search campaigns: identify your time lag by vising search attribution reports and setting a 30-day window and view the conversion lag from first click.
For display campaigns: set your date range to a 90-day window and segment your campaign level conversion data by “days to conversions.” Utilize that data to calculate your average conversion lag.
After your organization has allowed sufficient time for the algorithm to learn and for your conversions to register, you can begin to analyze your performance. That’s the final step towards success in your search marketing strategy. It’s a constant state of testing and optimizing so you can hone your search marketing focus for continued growth.
To Sum Up A Profitable Search Marketing Strategy
When it’s all said and done, planning out a data-driven and creatively strategized Search Marketing strategy will not only give your brand or your client’s new insights on how to improve ROI, but you’ll also help accomplish potential consumers “jobs-to-be-done” and by doing that you’ll produce a generation of brand-loyal users.
If your organization is still shaking its head over Google Ads search marketing strategies and what your company should be doing to increase brand awareness and maximize profits, reach out to Evolve Digital Labs for your free consult.