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What is SEM? Tips and hints for success on Google...

Search engine marketing (SEM) promotes websites by increasing their visibility in search engine result pages (SERPs), through the use of paid placement, contextual advertising, and paid inclusion.  Google Adwords is the world’s largest and most popular SEM platform allowing businesses to target specific key words or key phrases on Google’s network of websites and services.  Other SEM platforms include Yahoo Paid Search and Microsoft Ad Network.
Steps to a Successful Google Adwords Campaign:
(The below tips can be applied to other SEM platforms too).
  1. Research your target audience. 
  2. Build an initial list of important keywords and key phrases that represent your most important products and product categories.
  3. Check the popularity of your keywords with tools such as Yahoo Keyword Selector, Google Keyword Selector, Google Trends and Keyword Discovery.  These tools will tell you how often people search with your keywords both globally and locally.
  4. Optimise your proposed advert landing pages by improving your web design and web page content.  Make sure that the products you are advertising are competitively priced, well photographed and well described.
  5. Write effective ad copy.  Be specific, include your keywords and product price if possible, include a call to action and highlight your Unique Value Proposition (UVP).
  6. Install Google’s tracking software to track and analyse your campaign performance.
  7. Create your campaign(s) using Google’s online ad builder (
    1. Bid high initially to increase your click through rate (CTR).  You can lower this later once you are achieving results.
    2. Set a daily budget higher than Google recommends.  This will prevent your ad disappearing temporarily. 
    3. Include both broad and exact matches for your keyword phrases.  Set the bid higher for the exact match.   This helps to ensure that you achieve higher rankings in results that match your targeted keywords exactly.
    4. Use negative keywords.  Negative keywords help to reduce low converting click throughs and control ad spend.   Your ad will not be displayed if the search includes a negative keyword.
    5. Test multiple versions of your ad copy.  Different copy can achieve very different click through rates.
  8. Monitor your ad performance on a daily basis and take up Google’s offer for free Adwords support (they typically offer this free live support to all new Adwords users.)
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