Search Engine Marketing (SEM) in 2019

Your potential customers are doing searches all the time, in all sorts of ways – questions, a few words, or detailed phrases.


To do search engine marketing (SEM), you just need to figure out which searches match your business and make sure your ads show up in the search results. That’s why picking the right keywords is so important.


So who’s the best person to choose keywords for your SEM campaign? You. Even if you have an agency doing your SEM, you still know your business best.


A huge part of creating a keyword list is drawing from what you already know about your business, customers, and competitors.  Where should you look for keyword ideas?


Keywords are in tight spaces within your business like: questions your customers ask you, and your competitors’ website.


To start a keyword list, brainstorm 3 to 5 “seed” keywords first. After that, you can expand your list by researching your website, customers, and competitors.


For those first 3 to 5 keywords, it’s important to start small and be specific. “Karaoke,” for example, is too broad of a keyword for Connor. He’d get a lot of search results competition from karaoke singers, karaoke bars, and so forth.


Since 1 keyword can contain multiple words, choosing a short phrase instead of a single word will help you avoid falling into the broad and generic trap.


Instead of just “karaoke,” Connor chooses“karaoke party rental,” “karaoke machine rental,” and “rent karaoke equipment.”


Notice that every single word in every single keyword is hardworking – no ifs, ands, or buts...literally. Connor chose “karaoke machine rental,” not “a karaoke machine for rental.”


Once you have your “seed” keyword list, it’s time to make it grow. That’s where your website, customers, and competitors come in.


Review your website for product lines, packages, bundles, and brands. These can all become keywords.  

Next, think like your customers. Talk to them about your business and products, and look at what type of searches they’re making on your site.


 Finally, check out your competitors’ websites.


To find even more keywords, you can use tools like Google Keyword Planner and Bing Keyword Research, as well as for Google Analytics.


Keyword planner tools and analytics tools can give you ideas for keywords you haven’t thought of yet or might not come across in your own research.


Let’s look at keyword planner tools first. Different ones have different formats, but it generally works like this: You plug your best starter keywords into the tool and it gives you related words that you could turn into new keywords.


While keyword planner tools are helpful, they’re unfortunately not psychic. Not every suggestion they give you will be right for your business and SEM campaign. Just go with your gut and only use what works.


Analytics tools, meanwhile, can tell you which keywords people have searched that have led them to your website. You can usually find that information in your search report.


When you look at these searched keywords, there’s a good chance a few will be more popular than the rest. These keywords are most likely good ones to invest in.


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