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The Most Common SEM Errors & How to Avoid Them

Mistakes with Search Engine Marketing (SEM) can be disastrous and disastrously expensive. Here, we take a look at the errors which can make or break a campaign and, more importantly, what you can do to give them a swerve. The good news is that most of these are easy enough to put right once you know what you’re doing. However, poor structure can end up costing you time and money, so it’s important to get it right from the outset.

Before we look at the common slip-ups, let’s be clear on the difference between SEM and Search Engine Optmisation (SEO). While the latter uses organic methods to show up in the search results, SEM is all about using paid methods to appear in them. (This is the most widely agreed definition, although actually some believe SEM encompasses both organic and paid search.)

  1. Use more than one match type

Don’t have just a single match type in your SEM efforts. Instead, more precise matching will have greater relevancy.

  1. Don’t do SEM at the expense of SEO

Use the two in tandem. While SEM gives traffic a rapid boost, SEO is all about the longer-term incremental volume – a marathon and a sprint, if you will.

  1. Set a budget – and stick to it

That’s just plain, good old-fashioned common sense. Don’t run your campaigns on autopilot, keep a close eye on spend.

  1. Use negative keywords

We’ve written about this previously. Make sure you do use negative keywords to avoid your ads showing for irrelevant searches.

  1. Get geographic targeting right

This may sound an obvious one, but it’s amazing how often brands target the wrong location. Don’t pay for ads in places where no one is going to be likely to use your services. Bear in mind that, if you don’t change it, new ads in Google default to ‘all countries and territories’. Check this at the start and end of the process. Remember that radius targeting can be powerful – but you need to get it right.

  1. Give your structure time

Once you have an SEM strategy in place, it could take a good couple of weeks for it to hit its stride. Don’t give up too quickly. Finally, you need to think carefully about the type of person who will see your advert and the site or content on which it will link to, otherwise the results can be pretty unhelpful.

Talk to us

At Front Page Advantage, we have many years’ experience of getting SEM right for a wide range of clients of different sizes and from varying sectors and industries. Talk to us today to find out how we can help you to achieve your SEM goals.