In the first part of this SEO/SEA synthesis, we have been through the SEO best practices to improve your website ranking.
But as we have seen, SEO is not enough. To have all chances to be well positioned, you will have to always be up-to-date (as far as digital and technical trends are concerned), you will have to regularly monitor your website not to be surprised and to anticipate the necessary changes but more importantly, you will have to understand and use SEA (Search Engine Advertising).
As mentioned in part one, I had the opportunity to recently follow a course on SEA basics and best practices taught by Mr Arnaud de Terline (https://www.linkedin.com/in/arnaud-de-terline-55540914). Today I would like to share with you this very useful knowledge.
Best practices to improve your ranking thanks to SEA
1- The principles of SEA (or more widely SEM)
““Search Engine Marketing” (SEM) was once was used as an umbrella term to encompass both SEO (search engine optimization) and paid search activities (SEA). Over time, the industry has adopted the SEM acronym to refer solely to paid search”. http://searchengineland.com/guide/what-is-paid-search
Today SEA is the process of gaining website traffic by purchasing ads on search engines. SEA includes all activities that aim at enhancing the visibility of a website. It is no longer strictly limited to search engines, but is also open to social networks.
2- SEA, search engine and Search Engine Result Pages
“A web search engine is a software system that is designed to search for information on the World Wide Web. The search results are generally presented in a line of results often referred to as search engine results pages (SERPs)” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_search_engine
On one hand, research on the web is and will remain very important. The main challenge for the search engines is to answer in the best way possible to any request coming from users; to always improve the quality of their SERPs.
Of course, there are several search engines locally but if we take a closer look at Google, we can see that it is dominant in the world.
On the other hand, the main challenge for companies being present on the web is to make sure their website will be present in the consistent and qualitative results (SERPs) that will be returned to the internet users’ requests. To be present within the results is one thing but to be among the first results is something else: this is the true business success. To have all chances to reach that target, the use of paid ads is a very useful way. And if we consider that Google is leading the dance, Google AdWords (Google advertising program) could be a very good option to improve the ranking of your website’s ranking.
3- Better understand the AdWords auction system to improve your campaigns
If the use of Google AdWords and the launch of campaigns is definitely part of your success on the web, it is by far very important to understand what a campaign is and how the AdWords auction system works.
A campaign is a “set of ad groups (ads, keywords, and bids) that share a budget, location targeting, and other settings. Campaigns are often used to organize categories of products or services that you offer.” https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/6304?hl=en
If you want to create a campaign with Google, you will have to use AdWords. And to do this in the best way possible AdWords, the auction system is something that you should definitely understand.
Firsly, one must bear in mind that ads have to be relevant. Indeed internet users want to have information related to what they are searching for. They don’t want to be bothered with anything else. On the other side, the advertisers want ads to be relevant so that users click on them. As for Google, the company wants everyone to be happy, to have a good experience so they will come back and use their system and services again.
When talking about paid ads, the first element that is to be taken into account is the amount advertisers are willing to pay for the users to click on their ad: here we are talking about “bid”. But this amount doesn’t mean they will actually pay that amount, neither that they will be better positioned if they pay more. Ranking is not all about money, neither limited to “bid”.
There is what we call a second price auction. This mean we don’t have to pay the full amount of our bid. We just need to pay just enough to beat the competition.
In the Google system, the advertiser only pays when he receives a click. But here again the price is not only linked to the bid. Google wants to encourage good quality ads and this way Google shows more useful ads in a higher position.
In fact there are many factors that will impact your ads positioning:
Expected Clickthrough Rate : It corresponds to Google’s prediction on how many times an ad will be clicked on when shown; This prediction is based on users’ feedback: in fact users are voting by their clicks. They are helping to decide who the best to answer to search query are;
Landing page experience: Highly relevant landing page lead to higher score. To reach that, the landing page has to have relevant and original content that helps the user completing his task. This page should be easy to navigate and transparent about the nature of your own business and how you intend to use this information;
Ad relevance: There should be a clear relation between the ads and the search query. Only useful ads are shown; this system prevents advertiser to promote unrelated elements;
Ad formats: All information (site links, website domain phone numbers,…) you can add on you ad that will give more information about your business. This information should give more reasons to click on your ad: your ad is to be useful for the user.
All these factors will create a score that will directly impact your ads’ ranking. To improve your ranking, you can play with all the different factors. The objective – to always better support your campaign – is to have the better score possible. As we have seen, the good news is that this score is not only about money: we can actively influence it!
Would you like to know more about it, please go to www.adwords.google.com/support .
SEA, a true support to support your business on-line
With these two articles we have been through the main basic actions (SEO and SEA) that you can do to improve the ranking of your website.
But one important thing should be kept in mind: all this is not magic. Before doing any of these actions, and especially launching any SEA actions, you should follow this process:
- Define your strategy – define your business objectives – define your budget
- Set up adwords
- Assess the performances – define the KPIs – monitorize
- Optimize the campaigns
Indeed SEO and SEA are there to help you to promote your business on the web. But in no case it should replace your own knowledge of your own business and all basic marketing actions that should be put in place to drive a business correctly.
A good start on the web, might be to first validate all these basic marketing points?