Done properly, search engine marketing (a.k.a. SEM, paid search, PPC) is a powerful complement to SEO and an effective tactic on its own. SEM enables enterprises to rank for specific search terms immediately (including terms for which it would difficult to rank organically), target traffic to specific landing pages, test everything (keywords, bid levels, ad copy, landing page design), and precisely quantify ROI based on sales or leads generated. Of course, done improperly, it can also be a tremendous waste of money.
How can you improve quality scores to get a higher ad position at a lower cost? How can test to increase conversion rates while reducing the cost per conversion? How can create dynamic landing pages, and are they worth the effort? Discover the answers to these questions and others here in seven noteworthy search engine marketing guides from the past year.
Three strategies for improving quality score, which results in high ad positions with low cost per click (CPC), such as creating small, tightly focused ad groups (“breaking down your campaigns and ad groups into smaller ad groups…allows you to write more relevant ads for a select number of keywords in your ad group. Google and Yahoo both say that by including your keywords in your ad title and descriptions will greatly help increase your quality scores”).
How to quadruple a conversion rate by Google Website Optimizer Blog
Trevor Claiborne shares lessons learned from the Voices.com search engine marketing campaign on optimizing conversion rates, among them: knowing your customers (“time and again, the greatest conversion rate increases I’ve seen have come from a better understanding of the customer”) and testing everything.
Andrew Goodman discusses the importance of testing ad copy and important considerations to keep in mind when doing so, like measuring both click-through rate (CTR) and cost per acquisition (CPA) when evaluating ad copy, and running tests long enough to generate valid data for decision making.
Dynamic Landing Pages by PPC Hero
Amy Hoffman explains why dynamic landing pages are helpful (“The more specific a landing page is, the more likely it is that the visitor will convert”), how to create one using either dynamic keyword insertion or IP targeting, and best practices to follow when using dynamic pages.
How to Double Your Conversion Rate in the Next 5 Minutes by KISSmetrics
Cameron Chapman offers a half-dozen tips for increasing your conversion rate by making your sign-up form more friendly, such as by removing unnecessary fields, making as many fields as practical optional to complete, and explaining why you’re collecting the information requested.
Lessons Learned from 21 Case Studies in Conversion Rate Optimization by The Daily SEO Blog
Paras Chopra uses several case studies to illustrate the role of design, headlines, copy, and calls-to-action in landing page and conversion rate optimization.
A half-dozen tips for “PPC housekeeping” to get you account shaped up for the coming year, including reviewing your negative keywords, segmenting your analytics by device (to determine, for example, if you get enough traffic from mobile devices to make it worthwhile to set up separate mobile campaigns) and replacing under-performing ads with new copy.