8 Ways to Boost Your SEM Results


In the last session of the SES NY event, attendees were rewarded with 8 awesome tips to boost Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Results. This session used real-life examples to teach attendees the secrets top online marketers are using to beat the competition and squeeze the greatest results possible from their SEM efforts. Topics included: PPC, SEO, landing page optimization and social media.

Speakers are Michael Mothner, Founder & CEO and Michael Stone, Vice President, Sales & Strategy – both from Wpromote. Some tips you may know and some you may not, but there is definitely something for everyone.

1. Always. Test. Everything
Assume that everything is broken. Ask your self by how much is it broken and how do we reduce the delta between where we are and where we want to be? Always be improving.

Make sure your ads are fresh. Tailor copy to seasonal or world events to give the sense of freshness and relevancy.

Using Google to test messages, headlines and landing page copy is more cost effective and real-time than a focus group. Understand what messages resonate prior to creating entire campaigns.

What’s hot to test right now:
a. discounts and deals
b. sense of urgency

2. Tell the Right Story to the Right Person

Know your product, know your audience and be consistent to avoid frustrating your audience.  Connect the dots between the search query, your ad and the headline/copy on the landing page.  Understand the specific keywords your target is using and deliver specific content to them.

3. Don’t be Fooled by Google Broad Match
Google broad match allows you to match 1000’s of queries to a single keyword. While it’s easy and quick, it’s not always the best option. It can match to bad keywords, just as easy as it can match to good keywords.

The problem with Google Broad Match is that the keyword phrase you see in your dashboard, isn’t necessarily the word that your ad was shown for.

How do you get the good without the bad?

Track, Learn and Adjust.
a. use search query reports. Be careful though, the bad keywords are hidden in a line item ‘all other keywords’
b. Google Analytics Raw Query Hack – Use the good keywords for AdGroups, to bid higher and customize ad text.  Use the bad keywords to update negative keywords
c. server log analysis (doable, but hard)

4. Blogging & SEO
If you launch a blog, blog 3-5x per week and on average 300 words per post. Make sure you interact with the blogosphere including linking, commenting and guest blogging.

Use keyword hyperlinks and refrain from hyperlinking ‘read more’ and ‘click here’.

5. Usability Testing. Do it!
Perform user testing. It doesn’t have to be expensive or intimidating and shouldn’t only align to the HIPPOs (highest paid person’s opinion).

Put on your client hat because what’s easy to you, may be hard for others.

Use tools like crazyegg to track user actions on pages.

Make sure your site is 100% compatible with Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer (and its different versions).

6. Forms, Funnels and Fun!
Limit navigation to make sure users don’t get lost and to minimize distractions. Make sure that you are pointing the user toward the offer so they can take an action.

Get smart with forms. Capture the information even if the form or cart is abandoned and then follow up with abandoned leads.

7. Analytics is Your Friend
HITS – how idiots track stuff. (j/k :)) Think about analytics as a way to study online behavior to answer questions.

What can analytics answer?
a. how do people get to my site
b. which version of my email campaign worked better
c. where are people dropping off in the buying process

Get granular with analytics.
a. segment the total number of visitors to identify who came from where and who did what
b. document changes and compare the before-and-after to see if the change had an impact
c. create funnels and see visually where failure occurs

Goals give analytics more value. With goals you move beyond bounce rate, exit rate and time on site and dig into questions like:
a. does my blog lead to sales
b. what is the traffic source with the highest ROI

8. Social Media
Do you tweet? Look at examples like Zappos (twitter.zappos.com).
Share your company culture and build relationships with new and existing customers.

Promote video content on YouTube to drive additional targeted users through engaging media.

Feel free to share other tips below on how to improve SEM success.


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