3 simple Search Engine Marketing mistakes

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Without a solid search engine marketing strategy, you’re throwing away your online advertising budget.

Rather than just relying on people to find your business via Google, you can bid for Google AdWords in order to advertise alongside organic search results. AdWords offers a great way to grow your business but, as with any advertising campaign, you need to plan your strategy rather than just throwing money at it and hoping for the best.

1. Paying for customers you might already have

It’s important that your Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategies are in alignment to ensure you’re getting the most bang for your advertising buck.

When it comes to advertising with Google AdWords, the temptation is to only bid for the obvious keywords around your business name and your industry. Don’t put all your eggs in this basket, because if your SEO is working well then people searching Google for those terms might already be finding your business through organic search results.

Rather than spending all your AdWords budget on search terms you already dominate, also think about bidding on relevant keywords for which you don’t have a high organic search ranking. This gives your business wider exposure than simply advertising to people who were probably going to find you anyway.

Also consider bidding on common misspellings of business names, products and other industry terms. For example, people who misspell “accommodation” with one “c” or one “m” still have money to spend on a holiday.

If your SEO isn’t in order and your business is practically invisible on Google, then it’s worth addressing this rather than putting all your efforts into an AdWords campaign. AdWords can produce faster results, but SEO is still an important part of your long-term strategy.

2. Making a bad first impression

Don’t rely on a dull one-line Google ad. Instead grab people’s attention with a large and engaging ad which tells potential customers more about what you have to offer.

Rather than only listing your business name and slogan in your ad, include a concise description of what’s on offer. You can automatically incorporate extra details from your landing page using dynamic structured snippets, to ensure your ad is always fresh and up to date.

Beyond these, AdWord extensions let you add lots of important extra information to your advertisement. The Sitelink extension displays direct links to important pages within your site, such as your opening hours and list of current special offers. You can also add a location extension to help people find you, along with a click to call button and a link to your mobile app.

Use these features, and people are more likely to see your ad, not just because it’s larger but also because ads which utilise AdWord extensions are more likely to appear at the top of the page, above organic search results, rather than down the side of the page.

Best of all, AdWord extensions are free, so it’s foolish not to make the most of them.

3. Lining up customers when you don’t want them

If you’re paying to bring in customers, you need to be ready to serve them, so investigate features like AdWords dayparting to control when your ads run.

Late-night shoppers are always welcome on e-commerce sites, but if you’re relying on customers to pick up the phone or visit your store, then you might not want to reach them when they can’t reach you.

Depending on the nature of your business, limiting your ads to business hours when customers can immediately respond to your call to action could help lift your conversion rates to help your advertising dollar go further. You might even customise your ad to display your phone number during business hours and your website link after hours.

Alternatively you might already have more customers than you can handle during peak times. Rather than leaving customers waiting in the queue, you could stagger your Google ads to attract customers during slower parts of the day or week to help smooth out customer demand and ensure you’re ready and waiting to serve them.