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Elevate Your Online Presence: 5 Strategies to Optimize Your Paid Search Campaign

Small business owner at computer optimizing online SEM ads.
  • September 1, 2023

Want to boost your business's visibility online, attract a targeted audience and increase conversions on your website? If so, then a meticulously crafted paid search or search engine marketing strategy is the key. Running a paid search campaign is an essential part of digital advertising, but running an effective paid search campaign requires continuous enhancement and optimization.

Below are five actionable ways to enhance your paid search campaign from good to great! 

1. Improve Landing Page Experience

Have you ever searched for something online, clicked on an ad, and nothing related to your search was on the website? Pretty frustrating right? The disconnect between ad messaging and landing page content can frustrate users, tarnish your campaign's effectiveness, and hurt your brand. Aligning your SEM with your customers’ search intent enhances user experience and influences your Quality Score, a pivotal metric in paid search success.

Optimizing page load speed, incorporating clear and compelling call-to-actions, and removing distractions that hinder conversions create a user-friendly environment, paving the way for a more successful campaign.

2. Focus on High Performing Keywords

Distinguishing the gems from the pebbles in your keyword arsenal can significantly impact your campaign's performance. But how do you determine what is a gem and what is a pebble? One way is to look at the CTR (clickthrough rate) metric.

However, don't merely examine which keywords drive clicks or have the highest CTR. Delve deeper by assessing which keywords have a high CTR and a low conversion rate. If you discover you have keywords with a high CTR but a low conversion rate, consider pausing them for now and revisiting them later.

Your ad budget is limited, and you want to focus on the keywords that will drive users to your website and help drive those conversions that will help you reach your marketing goals and get the maximum return on your investment. 

3. Build Out Negative Keyword Lists

Negative keywords prevent your paid search ads from matching with irrelevant searches. Have you ever searched for a specific chapter of one of your favorite Harry Potter books but received an ad for Chapter 5 bankruptcy? This scenario underscores the importance of a robust negative keyword list. Negative keywords shield your ads from appearing in irrelevant searches such as this example. 

Here are some actionable examples for how to help build that negative keyword list: 

  • Run a Search Term Report to help you identify what search terms match your keywords. That will give insight into the searches that trigger your ads and how those searches perform. 
  • If irrelevant searches match your keywords, add those searches as a negative keyword or edit your match type.

Remember, ads that bring in irrelevant users could lead to wasted clicks, so reducing those irrelevant clicks will reduce wasted ad spend. The more ads you send to irrelevant users, the less likely they are to click on that ad, leading to a lower CTR%.

The Quality Score of each keyword is determined partly by the CTR%. So increasing that CTR% can help improve your Quality Score, which can improve your Ad Rank and lower your Cost Per Click.

4. Take Advantage of Ad Assets

Ad Assets allow you to add additional information to your ads, such as phone numbers or reviews, and take up additional real estate when your ad appears in the search results, making your ad more noticeable to users. A more noticeable ad could lead to a higher CTR, which will help your Quality Score.

One popular ad asset is sitelink extension assets. Sitelinks make your paid search ads even more helpful by showing additional links that take people directly to specific pages on your site. These sitelinks can help provide additional information to potential customers, such as specialty brands or current promotions. Research suggests having at least four sitelink assets, as according to Google, advertisers can gain a 20% increase in clickthrough rate on average when four sitelinks show up with their Search ads.

You can add even more detail to your sitelinks by including descriptions with them, as this will help users learn even more about your business. Adding descriptions will add an extra layer of depth to help your sitelink assets stand out even further and provide value to users before they click your ad.  

5. Know Your Mobile vs. Desktop search result rankings

As mobile usage increases, remember that search result rankings can differ between devices. Recent research from SEMRush indicates that only 11%-13% of URLs get the same search result rankings on mobile and desktop devices. That means your paid search ad could be in the top three search results on desktop but not mobile.

Considering this discrepancy is crucial, especially if your website attracts primarily mobile users. Staying informed about your ad's positioning on each device and optimizing your campaign for desktop and mobile platforms is a strategic move for success, letting you construct SEM ads that work on all platforms. 

Elevate Your Web Presence with Optimization 

When it comes to digital advertising, a well-executed paid search campaign is invaluable. By embracing these five strategies, you will be primed for a cost-effective campaign and positioning your business for success ahead of your competition.

But implementing a search campaign yourself is challenging and often too time consuming to implement yourself. McClatchy has the expertise to develop and implement paid search and many more campaigns. Reach out today to learn how McClatchy can help!

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