search engine advertising

The Advanced Search Engine Advertising Guide 2023

Today, we’ll explore the magic behind search engine advertising and discover why it has become such a game-changer in the digital marketing space.

How does search engine advertising work

You might already be familiar with search engine advertising, but may not know how it works. Imagine you are searching for something like a “web design company” on a search engine. The search engine Results page presents you with numerous options. 

You will see the organic results—the links that appear here don’t cost anything.

organic search result

Search engines display these sites because they consider them to have the most relevant content. 

But what about the listings on the right column and across the top of the page?

search agency advertising example

These are paid advertisements, and search engine advertising provides you with an opportunity to occupy this valuable space to advertise your business.

When potential customers search for specific words and phrases relevant to your business (known as keywords), your ads can appear.

The benefit of search engine advertising

What makes search engine advertising unique is you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. Yes, you heard it right—it’s called “pay per click” advertising. Imagine you own a web design agency, and you want your ads to show when someone searches for “web design agency in lagos”. 

With SEA, you’ll only pay if the searcher clicks on your ad. This is significantly different from traditional advertising methods like newspaper ads or billboard posters, where you pay regardless of whether your target audience sees or interacts with your ad.

By leveraging search engine advertising, you can reach a highly targeted audience. When someone clicks on your ad, it’s a strong indication of their interest in your offerings. 

Unlike traditional marketing, Search engine advertising allows you to specifically target people who are actively looking for products and services, making it a more efficient and cost-effective approach.

Instead of broadcasting your message to a broad audience that may or may not be interested, search engine advertising ensures your ads are seen by individuals who have already expressed their intent through their search queries.

Search engine advertising auction

So, how does the auction work? 

It’s similar to any other auction. You place a bid, which influences your performance in the auction. 

However, it’s not just about the bid, relevance plays a vital role too. Success in the auction comes down to having a competitive bid and strong relevance, and striking a balance between the two is the key to search engine advertising success.

Let’s say two businesses compete on the same keyword, “web design agency.” Adeoluwa bids three pounds, but his ad’s relevance is rated as just 4 out of 10.

On the other hand, Ejiro bids two pounds, but her relevance is 9 out of 10. When we calculate their auction scores, Adeoluwa’s ad rank is 12 (3 x 4), while Ejiro’s impressive score is 18 (2 x 9). Despite Ejiro’s lower bid, her ad wins the auction and secures a higher position on the page.

As you can see, merely increasing your bid doesn’t guarantee a top spot. The auction system prioritizes relevance, ensuring the most relevant ads win. If your ads lack relevance and receive a low Quality Score, it will be challenging to compete effectively. 

In fact, search engines may not display your ads at all if the relevance is too low. To improve your performance, focus on continuously enhancing the relevance of your ads. Ensure they closely align with the terms people are searching for, allowing you to achieve better ad positions without necessarily spending more money.

How to make your ads stand out

To ensure your ad shows up in search results, align your headline closely with the searcher’s words. Remember our example search for “web design agency in Lagos”?

web design agency in lagos

If you want your ad to appear when someone uses that keyword, use the headline “web design agency in Lagos” By doing this, your ad will perfectly match what they’re looking for.

But how else can you make your ad stand out from the crowd? 

Consider including a unique time-limited offer or promotion. If you’re running a sale or have a special benefit that customers can enjoy, it’s an effortless way to grab attention.

search engine advertising ads description

You can write something like this in your ad description “Get 20% discount for your responsive business website” Instantly, your ad becomes more exciting and provides customers with a clear reason to visit your website. 

Lastly, ensure your ad includes a strong and clear call to action. In other words, tell visitors what you want them to do once they land on your site. You could say “Browse our awe-inspiring portfolio” or “Request a Quote.” Research shows that people respond when you guide them with specific instructions.

The Importance of Landing Pages

Relevance is also crucial when it comes to landing pages – the first page users see after clicking on an ad.

Just as your ad should align with the user’s search query, your landing page should be relevant to the ad they clicked. It’s all about ensuring a seamless experience for the user.

Structuring your ad campaign

Your Ad account can be created using platforms like Google Ads or Bing Ads. Within the account, you have campaigns, each controlling essential aspects such as the daily budget, geographic targeting, and advertising networks.

For instance, let’s say you’re a web designer specializing in eCommerce websites, corporate websites, and small business websites. To maintain relevance, you’d create separate campaigns for each specialty. Within each campaign, you can create ad groups, which consist of relevant keywords and corresponding ads.

Imagine having a web design campaign with ad groups for “shopify website design”, “online store website design”, and “ecommerce design agency”.

Similarly, your corporate website ad group would feature keywords like “modern company website design” or “clean corporate website design” accompanied by an ad such as “corporate website designer – We build responsive at Affordable rates, Request a Quote”.

By organizing your campaigns and ad groups in this manner, you ensure that your ads align precisely with what users are searching for. This structured approach helps customers find exactly what they need while maximizing the effectiveness of your search engine advertising campaigns.

How to target the right keywords

Imagine you already have a successful search engine advertising campaign promoting your web design business. Clients are coming in, and it’s time to expand your horizons by launching a new campaign for your business branding services. This is where tools like Google’s Keyword Planner and Bing’s Keyword Research Tool come into play. Learn more about keyword research

Start by entering a primary keyword like “business branding” into the tool. Instantly, you’ll be presented with a range of related searches.

keyword planner

Take a closer look at these keywords and determine which ones would be a perfect fit for your new campaign.

For instance, you might discover that people are searching for terms like “branding companies near me”, “startup branding agency” “brand consulting agency”, and “digital branding company”. The research tool will also provide valuable insights such as search volumes, suggested bid prices, and competition levels.

Now that you have a list of relevant keywords, it’s time to organize them into ad groups. Create distinct ad groups for terms related to “brand agency”, “online branding”, and “brand consultation”. This approach allows you to craft highly targeted and compelling ads for each group of keywords, ensuring maximum effectiveness.

Optimizing your ad with keyword match type inside Google ads

If you are using Google ads platform for search engine advertising. You will notice that your ads do appear in some search terms you don’t want them to display.

So to get the best result for your ads, you have to use the keyword match feature inside Google ads.

This feature will help you have greater control over the search terms and phrases that trigger your ads. It also provides insights which can help you control your ad spending.

Let’s go through them.

Understanding Broad Match: 

Did you know that search engines might display your ads when people search for terms that you didn’t specifically choose? 

This is where broad matching comes into play. Broad match offers flexibility by showing your ads for variations of your keywords, such as singulars, plurals, and even misspellings. 

While this flexibility can be beneficial in most cases, it may also result in your ads being displayed for searches that aren’t relevant to your business.

Refining with Match Types

Alongside specific keywords, you can further refine your targeting with match types. By default, keywords are set to broad match, but you have two additional match types: phrase match and exact match.

Phrase match: 

To prevent your ads from appearing on irrelevant searches, simply enclose your keyword in quotation marks. For example, if you’re a brand agency targeting customers in Lagos, consider using keywords like “brand agency in Lagos” becomes a phrase match keyword.

With phrase match, your ad will only appear when the search includes the entire phrase, with minor variations like plurals also triggering your ad. So, searches like “brand agencies in Lagos” or “Lagos based brand agency” can still trigger your ad.

Exact Match: 

For even more precision, you can use exact match by enclosing your keyword in square brackets. For example, [brand agency in Lagos] is an exact match keyword. 

With exact match, your ad will only display when the search query perfectly matches your keyword, without additional words. However, minor variations like plurals can still activate your ad.

Finding the Right Balance: 

As you transition from broad match to phrase match and eventually to exact match, you’ll notice a decrease in traffic quantity but an improvement in traffic quality. 

It’s crucial to strike a balance that allows your ads to reach likely prospects while minimizing exposure to unlikely conversions. By adjusting match types and selecting the appropriate keywords, you can fine-tune your ad campaigns to achieve the desired results.

Finding what is working and what is not working in your ad campaign

Suppose you’re a web designer showcasing your portfolio on your website. Alongside successful transactions, you might offer downloadable PDF references. 

Tracking downloads becomes crucial in understanding engagement and potential leads. Additionally, providing the option to receive rates via email allows you to track the conversion of turning interested parties into paying customers.

With these examples in mind, take a moment to envision the conversions that matter most to your own business. What specific actions would you want your website visitors to take? Identifying and tracking these conversions is the key to unlocking valuable insights.

But how do you actually track these conversions? 

Search engine advertising platforms provide user-friendly tools that enable you or your web manager to place a small piece of code, known as conversion tracking code, on specific pages of your website.

How conversion tracking code works

You need to attach the conversion tracking code to a page that you want the visitors to take specific actions. This could be the page that thanks the customer after they’ve placed an order or submitted a contact form.

By attaching the code to these specific pages, you can accurately track conversions and gain invaluable reports on the success of your campaigns. These insights will empower you to make informed decisions, optimize your strategies, and ensure your marketing efforts are truly paying off.

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