My Quick Guide to Search Engine Marketing
by Eboni J.D. Freeman, Former Google BOLD intern & Business Major at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School
From Mom-and-Pop’s to New York’s finest Fortune 500 marketing Directors, I supported hundreds of clients in their Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies this past summer as an Account Strategist, Global Customer Experience intern with Google. During that time I learned the common mistakes that trip up newcomers and old-timers, and now I’m sharing them with you.
Note: These tips are for people who have already established their AdWords account, have found a level of spending they are comfortable with, and are interested in developing their ROI (Return on Investment) and customer engagement performance. Also, my recommendations are just that -recommendations- and cannot guarantee any level of campaign performance. Now that we’ve established the foundation, here we go:
Keyword Planner. First and foremost, check out the Keyword Planner. After working with 260+ Adwords users, this is the feature I suggested to everyone, regardless of skill level. The Keyword Planner can help you find the right words to compete for in search query auctions for just about any industry. Each Keyword Planner suggestion must be taken with a grain of salt and analyzed alongside the business owner’s knowledge of their industry; if you receive the keyword suggestion of “metal bagpipes” for your concrete pipe laying corporation, take a second look before copy-pasting it into your official keyword list.
Search Terms Report & Negative Keywords. Next, I would pair my use of the Keyword Planner with the Search Terms Report and the Negative Keyword feature. The Search Terms Report provides an extensive list of what people are looking for online when they found you. If you notice that 20% of the search queries you appear in have to do with musical instrument lessons, and you only rent out Jazzercise equipment, then you have found a disconnect between what you can provide and what people who found you want. This wouldn’t be too big of an issue, but if they also mistakenly click on your ad you could find yourself paying to engage with people who have no intention of becoming your customer- that’s an issue. After perusing the Search Terms Report and identifying terms that are triggering your ad but don’t relate your services, you should outlaw these words with the Negative Keyword option.
Keyword Match Types. While we are on the topic of keywords, I would be amiss not to mention the importance of watching your match type. You can determine what type of keyword matching option to use by assessing your campaign objectives. Many people come into online marketing with the aspiration to make as much money possible as soon as possible. Honestly, your business may not be there yet; maybe you should be looking into introducing your product type to a broader customer base (broad match), addressing potential clients who are already interested in something similar to what you offer (phrase match), or just going straight for the people who know they need what you have (exact match). It will take time and sincere evaluation to get a clear understanding of what your AdWords goals should be- especially if it doesn’t align with short-term money making- and if you take the time to reflect on where your business is in the customer acquisition funnel, you might be able to save valuable resources later.
Search & Display Campaigns
Managed Placements. Managed Placements and Demographic based Bid Adjustments are two often-overlooked features in AdWords. If your ads are going to be floating in the Google Display Network, you should help dictate which direction they are heading by proactively adding Managed Placements- this is strategic because you only have so much budget to spend on AdWords so it might as well be spent on sites where you know your customers spend time. In combination with demographic based bid adjustments, you can help direct your campaign dollars towards the customer segments you specify.
YouTube Director for Business. During my interview for Google’s marketing department, I couldn’t stop asking about the YouTube Director for Business app. This little baby helps anybody with a smartphone create the type of video ad that you actually want to watch. By providing full-blown templates and the option to upload it to Youtube automatically, the app helps you make the most of the time you have to shoot a display ad. Also, it’s great for personal use. I mean, who doesn’t want to up their film game; and did I mention it’s free? Just wanted to make sure I threw that out there.
Director Onsite Project. Now it’s time for what you’ve all been waiting for; I’m going to spill the figurative beans! Although the Director Onsite Project isn’t still in stealth mode, the program isn’t discussed in most circles.
How it Works: Google sends a film crew to an agreed upon location in 1 of 7 U.S. cities to assist you in shooting a professional-grade advertisement video. In total, it will take you approximately 10 hours over three weeks to complete the entire process: from application to uploading.
The Catch: You must have already spent at least $150 on previous Youtube advertisements- but ehh, there’s no such thing as a free lunch.
Added Value: The filmmakers will even help you set up a Youtube account if you haven’t done so and connect you with a Google consultant to help structure your Youtube campaign strategy.
From this day forward, think of me as your AdWords advocate. Respond to this article with your questions, comments, and critiques- together we will rock the search engine game one female-owned business at a time.