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Get more traffic, leads and sales with MediaOne’s smart campaign optimization. Our experienced SEM Specialists will help you optimize your landing pages to get higher quality scores and hence lower CPCs. These in effect cuts wasted ad spend and boost your campaign ROI.


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The MediaOne Difference

MediaOne SEM Specialists have decades of combined experience dealing with all the particularities of varied industries. So they have the ability to find sweet spots in order to get great ROI for you.

You will be appointed a dedicated SEM Specialist who will have the necessary creative and technical experience to get you that unfair advantage. While other agencies superficially pump in generic keywords which make no sense to your ads and offerings, MediaOne is well known in the industry for deep-dive research to capture terms that make sense to you and your clients.

Our Performance Marketing zeros in on what makes the most money for you by pin pointing profitable keywords, creating converting sales pages, smart tagging to bring important insights, and creating strategies which gives you the biggest bang for your buck.







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PPC management is tedious and time-consuming work best left to the professionals like MediaOne. Your staff can be better deployed in top-level marketing planning and broad marketing deployments.

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Ad Copy

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Our SEM Case Studies


Chua Li LiDirector, Digital Business & Marketing, Fuji Xerox Singapore Pte Ltd
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"We engaged MediaOne in 2016 as we felt that although Fuji Xerox had cutting edge products and value for money services for the Singapore enterprise, it did not have the online visibility to match. In a few short months MediaOne's digital marketing expertise managed to help us gain and maintain our rightful leadership in the marketplace."
Keith WongSL Clinic
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“Undoubtedly one of the best digital marketing agencies in Singapore! Bravo!”
Pauline TanHealthway Medical
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Sindy from MediaOne is very responsive and professional. She is very prompt with all requests and proactive in solving them as well. Highly recommend using their services.
Wilson LeongNoel Gifts International
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“Have been working with MediaOne since Sep 2018. It’s a year long project for Noel Gifts and I must say I greatly appreciate the professional support and quality customer service provided by account manager, Giselle.”
Paul HoiCompareLoan (the top loans review site in Singapore)
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“MediaOne is our partner in Website Design and Search engine Marketing. We find them very honest and very knowledgeable. There is no BS and no painting a too rosy picture. What you see is what you get.”
Wilson LeongNoel Gifts International
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“Have been working with MediaOne since Sep 2018. It’s a year long project for Noel Gifts and I must say I greatly appreciate the professional support and quality customer service provided by account manager, Giselle.”

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There are millions of brands competing for visibility on search engines, and it is now more important in the modern era to do online advertising and marketing. However, you should consider a wide range of digital marketing types to ensure the success of your digital marketing campaigns such as search engine marketing (SEM). To date, many brands in Singapore have tried to wrap their heads around SEM with little success. This is why they prefer to hire SEM agencies to handle all the activities involved in search engine marketing. With that said, we hope that these questions will shed light on what SEM is, what you can expect from SEM agencies, why you should do it, and how to do it right.

Search engine marketing is the process of marketing a brand using paid advertisements that appear on the search results pages. Essentially, digital marketers bid on keywords that search engine users enter when looking for products and services.

This gives them an opportunity for their ads to appear alongside the search results for particular search queries. These ads, which are also known as pay-per-click ads come in a variety of formats ranging from small text-only ads to more visual product listing ads (PLAs).

An SEM agency in Singapore works on your ad campaign and website to increase impression-share, clicks and actions to get more targeted engagement and leads. This includes keyword research, ad copywriting, ad campaign setup, campaign monitoring and optimisation, optimising the landing page.

The SEM agency will also guide you on the best type of ads to use for your SEM campaign to yield maximum ROI. They will then put your ads in front of potential customers who are motivated and willing to make a purchase.

When done right, none of the other digital marketing practices can come close to delivering results like SEM. For this reason, you need to hire a knowledgeable and experienced SEM agency to ensure that the ads are effective in growing your online brand engagement.

While they all work to ensure more visibility for your brand in the online platform, there is a stark difference between SEM and SEO. Search engine marketing involves paying search engines to display your ads alongside the search results.

SEO, on the other hand, involves using relevant content and keywords, without the need to pay search engines for visibility. This requires that you stay on the trends of search engine algorithms to know the best practices that will help your site rank higher on the results pages.

With that said, SEM agencies tend to double into both PPC and SEO practices since they are complementary. However, if you are looking for an SEM agency, ensure that you review their past works. Contact their current and previous clients and gauge how it is like working with a particular agency.

On top of this, SEM and SEO both rely on the proper use of keywords and this should be high on your agenda when choosing an SEM agency. The agency ought to have the resource and the capability to carry out proper keyword research and competitor analysis to ensure the success of your campaign.

Despite their differences, SEO and PPC are two sides of an SEM coin, and they each have their pros and cons. However, time and money are the biggest determinants in which strategy you should employ.

For example, if you have a hefty marketing budget and you want instant results, paid advertising is the better option. A professional and experienced SEM agency can set up a PPC campaign in less than 24 hours, as well as tweak it in real time to maximise your ROI.

On the other hand, SEO takes longer to realise results and a lot more work, which makes it more expensive when you consider the time value of money. With that said, constant search engine algorithm updates can affect the results of your SEO campaigns. However, if you are operating on a low budget, then SEO is the better strategy.

Wirth that said, the SEM agency ought to know the trends shaping the online marketing and advertising circles. Ideally, the agency ought to use a combination of both PPC and SEO, which will ensure that you dominate the search engines results and visibility on your niche.

While the choice of strategy depends on your overall goals, paid advertising will work best with high competition keywords that are relevant to user queries, while SEO works best with long tail and easy to rank keywords.

The agency ought to ask as many questions about your goals as possible to understand your business objectives and the desired outcome. Without this part of the process, the chances are that you will not receive your desired return on investment.

According to statistics from Google, it can take a high-quality website close to a year to scale up the search result rankings. On top of this, high ranking is dependent on undertaking several best practices and monitoring what your competition is doing.

With that in mind, SEM positions your small business at either the top or bottom of the first page. What this means is that while your SEO tactics might not get your website to the first page as soon as you want, you will get visibility by virtue of your ad is on the first result’s page.

You will need an SEM professional, and since small businesses are cash strapped, it is best to outsource the services of an SEM agency. With their experience and workforce, you will be able to generate revenues quickly from your online platforms and scale your business.

The good thing about SEM is that by applying the proper strategies and ad copies in place, you can expect to record sales on the same day. However, the SEM agency must do proper maintenance in order to attain the desired ROI on your SEM practices.

It takes many hours to master the art and science of combining different SEM factors to generate the best results. With that said, there are certain qualifications that you ought to look out for in order to ensure that you are getting the best value for your money when hiring an SEM agency.

Preferably, the team working on your SEM campaigns should be Certified Search Partners with Bing Ads and Google Ads. On top of this, they need experience with bid management, as well as creating and implementing PPC strategies.

More so, the SEM agency should have a team that knows its way around ad copy development and testing, keyword research, budget planning, and pacing, lead generation, landing page optimisation, shopping ads, and more.

The only way to ascertain the SEM agency’s competences is by contacting their current and previous customers. They will give you more insight into the professionalism of the agency as well as the results you can expect.

The cost of SEM services in Singapore varies greatly from one agency to the other. However, your preferred agency should work around your budget and deliver the best possible results.

Common practice has seen a majority of the agencies offer SEM services as part of a larger digital marketing package that includes SEO, social media marketing, content development, keyword research, and analysis, and more.

With that said the average PPC advert goes for between $1 and $2 for every click. On average, businesses in Singapore spend between SGD 3,000 and SGD 20,000 per month on paid advertising.

While paid advertising is all about paying for ads placement, businesses with the largest marketing budgets do not always win. They might have the financial might to create and deploy targeted ads using highly competitive keywords, but this will not translate to SEM success.

This is because the ads go through an ad auction process before they appear on the search results. To explain this concept, we will take the example of ad auction on Google Ads. The ad auction for a specific keyword takes place every time a user enters a search query into the search bar.

The SEM agency will identify the keywords they want to bid on and indicate how much money they are willing to spend to have their ads appear on Google’s search result pages, in order to participate in the auction. If your keywords correspond to the words or phrases in the user’s search query, they will be entered into the auction.

Not every keyword has an adequate commercial intent to justify it is displayed next to the results. On top of this, two factors determine who wins the ad auction; the maximum bid you have placed and the quality score of your ads.

An SEM agency, in this case, ought to ensure that your ad wins as many ad auctions as possible. This includes knowing the optimal amount of the bid, as well as creating high-quality ads that have proper commercial intent.

In Google Ads, quality score is the metric used by Google to rate the relevance and quality of the displayed ads. More so, it is used to determine your ad position and the cost per click. For this reason, you need to ensure that an SEM agency can deliver a high quality score.

It can do this by creating an ad that uses the relevant keywords, a good click-through rate to a high-quality landing page.

When done right, SEO will bring you a considerable amount of organic traffic to your site. However, search engines regularly update their algorithms and this will affect your organic traffic.

For this reason, SEM is the better solution to keep a steady flow of traffic to your website. For starters, user demographic is changing not only in Singapore but also across the world. What this means is that you will get fewer organic traffic as time goes by.

Besides this, an SEM agency will do keyword analysis to display your ad to a wider range of which will give a better guarantee of traffic to your website. Irrespective of the amount of site traffic, you need to stay on top of the game with professional SEM services.

The ads are available online until your daily budget is exhausted. With that said, a competent and experienced SEM agency will have bidding systems in place that will interact with search engines several times a day to ensure that the ads are visible to the right people.

However, several factors will determine how fast your ads daily budget runs out. They include

  • Cost per click
  • Keywords
  • Competitiveness of the industry
  • Click fraud

Preferably, the agency will choose the most relevant keywords for your business needs and bid on them for a monthly rate. For most agencies, if you have budget surplus, they will roll it over to the next month. On top of this, the agency should advise you on the best keywords to buy before launching your SEM campaign.

Only experienced and professional agencies will offer the appropriate tracking mechanisms to ensure that you know the performance of your SEM campaigns. For instance, the agency you settle upon should give you a monthly report that will outline the performance of the campaign.

This should include information such as:

  • The number of times your ad has been viewed
  • The number of clicks derived from your ad
  • The number of phone calls you have received from your campaign

This is only but a snippet of the metrics you should expect from your SEM agency. Some agencies will have an online reporting tool that you can access 24/7. The tool allows you to monitor the most popular keywords, the day-by-day ad click operations, and the activity charts tied to your SEM campaign.


The use of negative keywords will make a huge difference in attracting the right people to click on your ads. It requires that you identify a term that is irrelevant to your campaign and add it as a negative keyword.

The result is that whenever someone does a search containing a negative keyword, your ad will be hidden from the results page. There are several benefits of adding negative keywords to your SEM campaigns including:

  • They lower your overall conversion costs
  • They increase the click-through rates
  • Negative keywords are instrumental in improving your quality score

With that said, researching, and compiling an effective negative keyword list can be a daunting and challenging task. It is for this reason that you need to hire an SEM agency that is knowledgeable in your niche.

Before you add the negative keywords to your Google or Bing Ads account, you need to be certain of their irrelevancy to your SEM campaign. This will help you in identifying the correct match type that you should put in your negative keyword.

The SEM agency needs to understand and advise you on the match type you will use for your campaign. This includes knowing whether to exclude a specific term or any term that includes your negative keyword.

There are three categories of match types for use on an SEM campaign:

  • Negative broad match – and this filters out any term that has a word or words of the negative keyword anywhere in the search query irrespective of the order with which they were entered
  • Negative phrase match – will filter out the search term where it is included in the keyword in the exact order you entered it
    Negative exact match – this will filter out the queries that are an exact match to your negative keywords

For the negative exact match to work, the queries cannot contain any additional words to the negative keywords, and it needs to be in the same order that you entered them. With that said, the SEM agency ought to study your business objectives and choose the right match type for your campaign.

After you have created your list of negative keywords, the next crucial decision is in identifying the ideal level to add them. As any SEM agency will tell you, you can add the negative keywords in three different levels:

  • Account level – here you add the negative keywords to a shared library, and you can use them for a variety of SEM campaigns
  • Negative phrase match – will filter out the search term where it is included in the keyword in the exact order you entered it
  • Negative exact match – this will filter out the queries that are an exact match to your negative keywords

An SEM agency ought to know where they should apply the match types to ensure that the intended people see the ads. For example, if they mix up the negative keywords, you will have unqualified leads viewing and clicking on your ads.

Reports indicate that every PPC campaign undergoes some degree of click fraud. For some businesses, they experience it more times than others, but the bottom line is that you are losing money due to click fraud.

You would think that search engines would be making an effort to stop this action, but they do not. They make money from PPC ads, and that is why your best bet is with your SEM agency. The agency ought to have click fraud detection software.

The software will detect the people who are fraudulently clicking on your ads without making a purchase. By taking specific actions, the agency can stop this action and in the process save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars.

This is always a touchy issue since you have more control of your campaign when you hire in house experts. However, the trend in Singapore is that companies are outsourcing the SEM and other digital services.

Established companies have in-house personnel, such as a Digital Marketing Manager or a Webmaster, but they still end up outsourcing SEM services to a trusted agency. There are different factors to consider whether you should outsource or hire an in-house SEM expert.

These factors include:

  • Business objectives
  • Timeline
  • The available internal resources and marketing budget
  • Level of expertise

The biggest advantage of outsourcing your SEM services is that the agency will remain professional and emotionally unattached to the ideas. This will increase your chances of success and winning at the ad auctions.

Most small businesses are looking to get more things done on a shoestring budget. For this reason, they prefer doing SEM campaigns on their own by investing in training manuals and online video tutorials. The downside to this approach is that they usually end up using more money than professionals at an SEM agency would and with dismal results.

What they do not realise is that an SEM agency will work around their budget in order to give the best possible results. With that said, we will give you a proper quotation of the minimum bid you should make to ensure you get substantial returns on your investment. Contact us today for professional SEM services in Singapore.

What Is Google Ads?

  • Google Ads, previously known as Google Adwords, is simply Google’s proprietary advertising platform. It allows businesses to create unique audience ads.
  • A business can run ads on the Google Search network or the Google Display Network. Google Ads offer diverse targeting, bidding, and campaign options.
  • In the same way, affiliate marketing works, the advertiser will pay only and when a visitor clicks on an ad.
  • Google Ads, just like in the world of affiliate marketing, advertisers on Google Ads, pay only per results.
  • You might ask whether Google Ads has any connection with keywords. Truly so, businesses must identify keywords that they intend to target. Based on these, a business needs to pay to get their Ads on top of the SERP pages.
  • Google Ads run on search network; that entails pay-per-click advertising. Here, advertisers have to bid on business-relevant keywords to get the opportunity to display their Ads to users who key in those keywords on Google’s search bar
  • On the Display network, advertisers have the chance to place visual, banner style Ads on websites affiliated to the display network. Quick fact: Google’s display network is accessible to 90% of internet users worldwide. That, right there, is phenomenal?

Does Google Ads Also Incorporate Pay-Per-Click (PPC)?

  • Otherwise referred to as the PPC model, AdWords allow you to place bids on a set of keywords in a bid to target a specific market. That way, your link gets to show up at the top of the search results shown, thus instantly connecting you with prospective consumers with a stronger intend to purchase your product or service.
  • Google Adwords also has other advertising models such as Cost Per Thousand (CPM) which is defined as also called cost per mille, is a marketing term used to denote the price of 1,000 advertisement impressions on one webpage (source: Investopedia).

Why Is Google Ads So Powerful and Versatile?

  • Google AdWords has greatly advanced within a short span of time to emerge as one of the largest advertising platforms in the world. This makes it an incredibly powerful marketing tool for small businesses, especially those looking to gain visibility in the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) in the shortest time possible.
  • Even better, the network boasts a friendly learning curve, simple enough to be understood by virtually anyone that’s willing to give it a whirl. Not to mention that it only requires a palatable initial investment, with a guarantee for instant results if done right.
  • Understanding how the network works is a no-brainer. At the core we have a prospective customer searching for a product or service they’re interested in buying. In which case, the first place most of them are likely to turn to is Google search. They’ll simply enter their search query and wait for the search engine to work their magic and reach back with results and recommendations.
  • As a business owner looking to rake in massive profits, AdWords allow you to place your business at the forefront of the results presented, which goes to increase the amount of traffic you’re driving, and to ultimately increase the number of sales you’re able to make at the end of the day.

How SEM Ads Could Help Your Business

Gets You Noticed

Search Engine Marketing is one of the most effective ways to generate targeted traffic to your website. Utilizing keywords as the medium, SEM isn’t just cost-effective but also a good way to reach out to people who may be interested in your product or services.

So, What Exactly is SEM?

In simplest of terms, SEM is a digital marketing strategy that relies on paid tactics to gain visibility in the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs).

The objective is to drive specific traffic to a website by paying search engines (Google, Yahoo!, Bing) for ads displayed along with organic results.

Why Choose SEM?

It’s cheaper compared to other advertising options. You only pay when people click or engage with your ads. Plus, there are no monthly fees.

It’s highly targeted. You can choose the geographical location that you want the ad to be shown and the keywords that trigger them.

You have complete control over your spending and can stop or pause your campaigns whenever you feel like it. It also helps that Google offers a fantastic Ads product with excellent customer service behind it.

A few months of solid SEM will have your business website climbing the SERPs, and you’ll soon be on your way to building a strong brand online.

Where To Start?

First, it’s important to understand that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) are two different things. SEM is a paid strategy, and it only kicks in after you’ve done some ‘free’ SEO to improve your site’s ranking.

To start, you’ll need to research the keywords that best describe your business or products and send them to us to check their popularity on search engines. Once we have this list of keywords, we can develop a good SEM strategy and structure your campaign.

We have all the tools you need to become an SEM pro and manage every aspect of your campaigns: Keyword research, ad group creation, managing bids, setting budgets, and creating ads.

Best Practices for SEM Campaigns

  1. Research Your Keywords: You should do this before you even think about your SEM campaign. Get an in-depth understanding of your industry and the keywords people use to find your business and products.
  2. Be Specific: Targeting is everything in SEM. The more specific your keywords are, the better your ad will perform. Don’t just aim for a high volume of generic terms; you should be targeting long-tail keyword phrases (3-5 words) that are highly relevant to your product or services.
  3. Keep it Short: The best way to go is to keep your SEM campaigns focused on a specific product or service. The shorter your ad, the more it’s likely to be clicked on and lead to a conversion.
  4. Make Sure Your Keyword Appears in Your Ad: This is crucial because your SEM campaign might not bear results if your ads don’t have your keyword as part of the title/description.
  5. Change it Up: Don’t be afraid to change your ad often. You can even add new campaigns and keywords to test different messages for the same product or service.
  6. Use Negative Keywords: Using negative keywords is a great way to prevent wasting money on irrelevant traffic. Having a negative keyword list in place means your ads won’t show for a broad range of irrelevant searches.

4 Key Benefits Of SEM

High ROI – SEM is great because you only pay when someone clicks on an ad or performs a search that triggers it. You can set daily budgets and stop/pause your campaigns whenever you feel like managing costs.

Visibility – Everyone who’s logged in to their Google / Yahoo! account will see your ads. Your SEM campaign will be targeting people who are actively looking for a service or product like yours; it’s the most targeted form of advertising.

Selectivity – Every penny you spend on SEM is completely under your control and can be stopped or paused at any time. It will also only be targeting people who are actively looking for a product or service you’re offering.

Ease of Ad Optimization – SEM provides detailed data on every aspect of your campaigns, such as clicks, impressions, CTRs and much more. That allows you to constantly refine your messaging and landing pages until you find one that generates the best conversion or ROI.

SEM Agencies Vs. Inhouse SEM Campaigns

  • If you go with a specialized SEM agency, you’ll get someone who knows what they are doing and can manage every aspect of your SEM campaign. The downside is that most agencies charge by the hour, which can quickly become very expensive if you have any in-depth SEO needs.

    Hiring an in-house SEM specialist sounds like a viable option.  You’ll have someone on hand 24/7, and they’ll get to know your business inside out. The downside is that you will need to be prepared to pay for their salary, office space, equipment and any training courses taken to gain experience.

    Worse still, you might hire a person who just doesn’t cut the mustard. In this case, they might end up costing your business more in terms of lost time and money.

    We believe the best option is to go with a specialized SEM agency because:

    • They can use their experience to manage PPC as part of your marketing mix.
    • You get complete transparency because everything is managed under one roof. There’s no head-scratching should you need new pages added or existing ones changed/updated.

They can also provide a “ready to go” package that works right from day one.

What To Expect from SEM Agencies?

SEM agencies will typically charge you a monthly retainer fee but for that price tag, expect them to: 

  • Manage your SEM campaign.
  • Show you detailed reports of how your campaigns are doing or performing.
  • Put together a strategy that works best for your business and is scalable over time. Spy on your competitors’ SEM campaigns (if necessary).

When choosing an SEM agency, be sure to look for a few key things:

  • Make sure you know how often they will be reporting: It might be once a month, once every two weeks, or even weekly. It’s important to have good communication to ensure everyone is on the same page at all times.
  • Find out if the SEM agency has SEM/PPC experts as part of its staff: That’s crucial because SEM (and PPC) can be pretty much challenging if you don’t know what you’re doing.
  • Don’t sign any contract that’s too long or restrictive: You need to get out of the SEM agency relationship if things fail to work out for you.
  • The SEM agency you choose to work with should be able to provide references from past clients: If they can’t, take it to mean that they can’t be trusted.
  • How Much Does the SEM Agency Charge? Not all SEM agencies charge the same. SEM agencies typically charge a retainer fee that’s calculated as a percentage of your SEM spend. That is usually around the 5-10% mark, but some SEM agencies can charge anywhere up to 50%.

Why are SEM Agencies Important?

SEM agencies have a strong SEM knowledge base and plenty of SEM experience.  They know what keywords to target, what messaging to use on your SEM ads, which SEM ads to run (e.g., Google Ads, Bing Ads), where to place them (e.g., Google’s Content Network), and how much you should be paying per click.

SEM agencies provide SEM management on an ongoing basis. They will ensure your SEM campaigns are always updated and adhering to the latest SEM best practices. They also take care of all the grunt work that comes with managing an SEM campaign, like optimizing your landing pages, updating metadata, and managing bids.

Types of SEM Agencies

Not all SEM agencies are created equal. Nor do they all offer the same services.  Here are a few SEM agency types you may have come across:

  • PPC SEM Agencies – these only deal with paid SEM campaigns (such as Google Ads, Bing Ads, etc.) and nothing else.
  • SEM agency – SEM experts work as SEM marketers. They are in charge of SEM campaigns and making them perform well in the SERPs.
  • Digital Marketing SEM Agencies – these SEM agencies can manage everything digital marketing-related (SEO, PPC, social media advertising, and more). They aren’t SEM experts, but they know enough about SEM to manage your SEM campaigns for you.
  • SEM Media Buy Agencies – The SEM media team specializes in managing SEM budgets. They know which SEM tools to use and how to get SEM media buys at the best SEM prices (which, as SEM marketers already know, is important for generating a good ROI).
  • Google PPC Agency – SEM experts who focus on pay per click (PPC). They work with clients to create SEM ad copy and SEM keywords for their Google Ads campaigns. They also build SEM landing pages for conversions and manage SEM keyword bids. They might also help you improve your quality score.
  • Facebook Ads Agency – these SEM agencies manage your Facebook Ads campaigns. Their specialty is Facebook ads, and they know how to work around them to achieve the best ROI.

7 Signs It’s Time to Outsource SEM

If you want to know if SEM is right for you, consider these seven signs:

  1. You Don’t Have Time for SEM. Let’s be honest: SEM takes time. It can even take up all your time if you let it. SEM is a time-intensive activity requiring extensive SEM knowledge and SEM experience to get the campaign running smoothly. Since SEM agencies manage SEM campaigns on an ongoing basis, they know how to operate SEM accounts correctly.
  2. You’re Wasting Money on Low-quality Scores: SEM agencies are experts in Google Ads Quality Scores (and SEM in general). Come to think about it: it takes time to build up SEM history, SEM link building, and SEM campaigns. A bad score (QS) can be a sign that you’re wasting money on SEM.
  3. You’re Not Getting Enough Sales: SEM agencies have experience with different SEM campaigns, SEM account structures, and SEM keywords to know what works and what doesn’t. If you’re not getting enough from your SEM campaign, then you might want to outsource it to an agency that knows what they’re doing.
  1. Your Keyword Research Skills Aren’t Up to Snuff: SEM experts know where to find the best keywords for SEM campaigns and which ones are worth bidding on (and which are not). They also know how to build SEM accounts around keyword lists.
  2. Your SEM account Structure is Inefficient: SEM agencies have a solid SEM account strategy that they follow for every SEM campaign and client they manage. They have the required SEM knowledge to create great SEM account structures, so you don’t have to waste time figuring one out yourself.
  3. You Don’t Know What Works: SEM agencies don’t rely on one tool or one SEM management method – they use a variety of different SEM strategies, tools, and techniques depending on what SEM campaign they’re running. They’re always learning and perfecting how they run their SEM campaigns.
  4. You have low-quality SEM content: SEM experts know how to create great SEM content tailored around your target audience and search intent (what they are searching for). They also know how to link SEM content to landing pages for the best results.

7 Common SEM Mistakes People Make

When your SEM campaign isn’t working, your agency will do everything it can to make it work. But there are times when SEM just isn’t enough. SEM is a vital part of the marketing mix, but for your SEM campaign to achieve great results, you need to avoid these common SEM mistakes:

  1. You’re Targeting the Wrong Audience. If your business is selling something that not many people are searching for, SEM won’t work. SEM only works if your target customers are actively looking for what you’re selling on the Internet.
  2. Poor SEM Account Structure – An SEM expert has to consider all aspects of your SEM campaigns when designing an SEM account that works. They know how to create SEM account structures that can increase your SEM ROI.
  3. You’re Targeting the Wrong keywords/ad text — SEM only works if SEM keywords and SEM ad texts are closely related (if they’re not spot on, it won’t convert). SEM experts know which keywords work for SEM campaigns. They also know which ad texts can get you the most SEM conversions.
  4. Misusing SEM PPC Keywords – SEM agencies know the best keywords and how to use them in SEM campaigns for the best results. They also monitor SEM keyword performance closely and adjust them accordingly when necessary.
  5. Poor Link Building – SEM experts know the best SEM strategies and tools for link building. They also know how to build links and make them count towards ranking your SEM campaign higher in the SERPs.
  6. Low-Quality SEM Content – SEM experts have access to the best SEM content creation tools on the market because their content is tailored around your target audience and SEO goals. If you create your SEM content in-house, an agency will help you polish it for even better results.
  7. Not Paying Attention to SEM Quality Scores – SEM experts monitor quality scores on an ongoing basis to correct problems and adjust their SEM campaigns accordingly.
  8. Not Using the Best SEM Tools on The Market – SEM tools can be costly. However, with an SEM agency, instead of incurring this cost alone, it will be shared among a long list of their clients. Meaning they do not get to experience the brunt of it.

7 Questions to Ask Your SEM Agency

When outsourcing SEM, here are seven questions to ask a potential SEM agency:

  1. What SEM strategies do you use?
  2. How does your SEM strategy vary depending on the SEM campaign you’re running?
  3. How do SEM tools and SEM content contribute to SEM ROI?
  4. Do SEM campaigns require link building?
  5. What are SEM quality scores, and how can I improve them?
  6. Why is SEM account structure important for SEM campaign success?
  7. How will my SEM campaigns be tracked and measured, and what data will be provided?

Asking these questions will make the SEM expert know you are serious about SEM. So, they’ll try to give you their best answers — which is what you want as an SEM client. In fact, the SEM agency may even throw in some free advice on how to improve your SEM performance.

4 Tools for Managing an SEM Campaign

Tools play an important role in running a successful SEM campaign. SEM experts use them all the time to manage their SEM campaigns and track performance.

They need these tools to improve their quality scores, speed up campaign execution, and get the most out of their SEM budget.

That said, here are four tools SEM agencies use to manage their campaigns:

#1 SEMrush

SEMrush has all the features and functionalities you’ll need to plan your PPC campaign from start to finish. It pretty much combines the functionalities of so many other tools into a single platform.

However, unlike the other tools on the list, it’s not PPC dedicated. You can’t use it to manage bids or exclude certain keywords. 

But if you know how to use it, it can be an excellent choice of tool for researching, planning, and analysing your PPC campaign.

Top SEMrush Use Cases

Here are four ways to use SEMrush:

  • Analyse your Competitors’ Keywords and Ads Spend: you can use SEMrush to get an overview of your competitors’ SEM strategies and success.
  • Research SEM keywords — You can use the SEMrush database to get hundreds of daily updated SEM ideas that will help you find new SEM opportunities for your SEM campaigns and follow your competitors’ SEM footprints.
  • Track SEM keywords — SEMrush’s SEM Keyword Magic tool will help you generate thousands of SEM keywords in seconds. You can use SEMrush to track and manage your keyword bids and get daily reports on SEM performance.
  • Create and optimize SEM ads — SEMrush’s Ad Builder is an easy-to-use web-based SEM ad planner. You can use it to create ads and analyse their performance on the fly.

SEMrush Pricing: The basic SEMrush package comes with a 14-day trial and starts at $119/month. It’s worth the investment as long as you know how to use it.

#2 Google Ads Editor:

Google Ads Editor lets SEM experts create, edit, and update SEM accounts in bulk.

Google Ads Editor Use cases:

  • Manage SEM ad groups — Google Ads Editor has many features to help you organize your SEM ad groups. It has an SEM ad builder, keyword research tool, and copy generator.
  • Update SEM accounts — Google Ads Editor can help upload banners and new text ads faster than most SEM tools.
  • Track SEM keywords — Google Ads editor lets SEM experts simultaneously monitor and manage their SEM performance across multiple accounts. That’s something SEMrush lacks in its SEM toolkit.

Google Ads Editor Pricing: The Google Ads Editor is a free tool that SEM experts use to manage their SEM accounts, keywords, and ad groups.

#3 SeoQuake SEO Browser

When you need a second opinion on your SEM campaigns and strategies, the best platform to turn to is SeoQuake.

SEM experts use this tool to track SEM keywords, campaigns, and ads, all from the same panel. It also provides valuable SEO data like search volume for different keywords (which SEMrush lacks).

SeoQuake Use cases:

  • Track SEM keywords — SEOquake lets SEM experts track SEM keywords across different SEM accounts and campaigns.
  • Check SEM Rankings — You can use SEOquake to check competitor SEM rankings.

SEOquake Pricing: SeoQuake is a free browser extension.

#4 Ahrefs

Ahrefs is a must-have SEM tool for SEM experts looking to boost their SEM traffic and conversions. 

Ahrefs SEM toolkit includes SEM keyword research tools, analysis tools, data explorer, and more.

Ahrefs Use Cases:

  • Research SEM keywords — SEM experts can use Ahrefs to get SEM ideas using keywords, search volume, backlinks, and other SEM metrics.
  • Track SEM keywords — SEM experts can track SEM performance across different accounts with just a few clicks.
  • Analyse SEM rankings — As your needs grow, you might need more advanced SEM tools. Ahrefs SEM toolkit will come in handy then as it lets you track your SEM rankings, the share of voice, and links for over 600 million domains worldwide.

Ahrefs Pricing: The basic SEMrush package comes with a 7-day trial and starts at $99/month.

7 Important PPC KPIs Every SEM Marketer Should be Tracking

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are the metrics you use to measure the success of your marketing effort, be it in SEO, PPC, SMM, SEM, or CRO.

SEM KPIs help SEM professionals track their SEM performance and make necessary adjustments.  

Below are seven KPIs every SEM expert should be tracking if at all they want their SEM campaigns to be successful:

That said, here are seven KPIs You should be tracking:

  1. Clicks: Every conversion that happens on your site started with a click. They’re the ignition to everything that follows. As SEMs, we should be tracking clicks closely because they can tell us whether or not our SEM efforts are working.
  2. Click-Through Rate (CTR): There’s a difference between clicks and click-through rates. While clicks on measure the number of people who visit your site, CTR measures the number of people who click on your ad and visit your landing page.
  3. Conversions: Conversion is the ultimate goal of every SEM strategy. The conversion that happens could be in the form of an online sale, completing a form on your website, making a phone call to you, or anything else that’s important to your business mission and success.
  4. Average cost-per-click: SEM campaigns run on keywords, which means your SEM agency should be able to tell you how much it costs for someone to click on your ad. For example, if the SEM agency tells you that it costs $10 for someone to click on your ad, this is your SEM cost-per-click.
  5. Lifetime Value (LTV): Calculating your LTV is complex, but it’s by far one of the most important SEM metrics. It measures how much money a single conversion is likely to make you over its lifetime. It focuses on retaining existing customers rather than attracting new ones.  In which case, SEMs can use LTV to figure out which SEM strategies are most profitable in the long run.
  1. Number of Keywords: SEM experts usually recommend SEM agencies to monitor and optimize only a certain percentage of the keywords in their portfolio. Maintain that percentage, and you’ll notice your overall SEM performance increasing.
  1. Average Position: SEM experts should also look for an increase in the Average Position as this reflects higher exposure, better domain authority, and improved conversion rates.

Your Quality Score

Quality Score refers to a form of analytics that Google Ads use to tell advertisers whether their ad campaign will succeed or not. It’s measured on a 1-10 scale.  Google weighs up the ad campaign based on the Ads, keyword, and landing pages. These aspects help advertisers to tweak to improve their ad ranking.

  • Google ad relevancy to the search query
  • Google keyword relevancy to your ad group
  • The ad relevancy to its landing page
  • The chronological ad click-through rate and the ad group
  • Account performance over time

What is Ad Rank?

Ad Rank is a Google metric that the search engine employs to determine how search Ads will show up on the SERP rank.

That said, the ad with the highest rank will show in the first position, and the sequence follows according to rank

Do you think that the bidding amount is the only factor that determines Ad Rank? Well, other factors are:

  • Context of the user’s search
  • The Ad Rank thresholds
  • Ad extensions

How Does Google Ads Charge?

Many Singaporean businesses invest in Google Ads campaigns. It would prompt you to ask how much does it costs to run a Google Ads campaign.

Subsequently, it appears that the amount you’ll have to pay for your Ads campaign is dependent on several factors, including whatever that you’re advertising.

Seemingly, ads purely pay per click. You are charged when a visitor clicks on your ad. Since the ads system is a live auction process, what you pay is determined by the level of competition and what they can pay for a click.

If implemented properly, Google Ads drive traffic to the site at a cost that is highly competitive compared to other advertising methods.

Since you’re a prudent business owner, all you need to do is to manage the ad campaign expertly. Lack of it can lead to unexpected costs, and you’ll end up with dismal traffic flow.

When scoping out what you be required to pay, it’s crucial to look at the factors that influence how much it’ll cost for every click. Some of these factors include:

  • Click-through rates
  • Maximum bid and position
  • The average budget
  • Keyword competition
  • Keyword quality score

Also, you need to note that you could end up paying a huge amount id you’re targeting a high volume keyword that clocks big monthly searches monthly. It can range anywhere between cents and ten dollars for every click.

Google Ads Bidding Strategies

So, once you’ve identified your keywords and polished the ad copy, it’s time to let Google know what you’re willing to pay to get your Ads in front of your potential prospects.

You can bid blindly. As such, you need to follow ad bidding strategies they are:


It entails getting clicks on your Ads where the focus is to draw traffic to your website.


The strategy focuses on the number of times that your ad gets displayed. It’s perfect for businesses that want to build their image and brand name


Here, the strategy points to the customer conversion rate. It suits those who want to promote an already established offer to make sales.

How to Set Up a Google Ads Account

What’s the actual Google Ads account set up process like? If you’re a newbie, worry not. The setup process is easy.

There are two ways to go about it. You can create an Ads account using your existing Google account. On the other hand, you can create an Ads account with a dedicated Google Ads account.

Here, you can go for either of two options. The next step involves providing info such as time zone, location, and preferred payment preferences, eventually, provide billing information to enable the process.

  • You can go for automatic payments that allow you to pay once you’ve accumulated clicks.
  • You can pay when you exhaust your billing threshold-usually 30 days after your last payment.

When you go for manual payments, you’re required to pre-pay for the Ads. Your charges will be deducted from the pre-paid amounts. Should you deplete your pre-paid balance, your ad campaign gets suspended. You’ll have to make additional payments for the ad camping to continue.

If you think you’re done, pause. There are several other considerations to ponder over. Given that they’re critical aspects, you need to know so that you don’t skip them and mess.

Google Analytics Can Help You Get Greater Insights

Of course, you want to know what is going on as soon as the ad campaign starts.

This is where you need to incorporate Google analytics. The resource enables you to track and make informed marketing decisions.

Choosing a Google Ads Agency

If you’re too preoccupied to run the goggle Ads personally, there’s always a way out.

The answer lies in finding a reputable, credible Google Ads agency. But how will you know they’re the right fit?

They’re Conversant

The ideal Google Ads agency should be well versed in your niche.

They should know the dynamics of Google advertising.

Make sure that they’re not working for your competitors as well.

They’re Transparent & Truthful

Some SEM agencies are not transparent, and thus they do not give you direct access to the analytics of your Google Ads account.

You should avoid new or unreputable agencies because it is a crucial factor when choosing a good SEM agency to promote your brand.

Cooperation is one of the basics of a successful ds campaign, and thus both you and your agency should be on the same page on most critical issues.

You should choose marketing agencies that provide you with full account ownership.

That way, you will be able to access the entire history of your account and ensure that there are no hidden charges by the SEM firm.

They’re Google Certified and are Google Partners

Suppose a third party is to manage your resources or investment, rest assured that Google needs to see some credibility and accreditation.

A Google Ads agency that works with the back of the alley analysts isn’t a good idea.

Are They Experienced In Google Analytics and Tagging?

A Google Ads agency that doesn’t know Google analytics may not know what to track or report.

Well, they need to display proficiency using metric tools to read, weigh, filter, and give appropriate reports.

Google Certification

Getting Google certification is an important step in jumpstarting your career as a digital marketer, but it doesn’t necessarily make you a professional in the field of marketing. If anything, anyone can take the AdWords exams and get certified.

However, to attain the required level of expertise required to guarantee top results, you’ll be required to attain technical expertise in many areas, some of which may demand that you employ a rockstar staff with many talents and speciality in different fields.

So yes, start by making sure that the agency you choose is Google certified. But that’s just but the first stage of the vetting process that you’re required to employ.

Here are some of the issues you have to consider to determine how your experience with your advertising agency will work, and their probability of achieving your goals.

Dedicated Account Managers

When hiring a Google SEM advertising firm, ensure that you choose an agency whose staff work tirelessly to bring you the best results. Several firms hire other offshore workers or subcontractors and do not optimise your campaigns themselves.

The problem with this type of contracts is that there are extra levels of authority and barriers, which can slow down the process, making it inconvenient for quick reforms. This kind of partnership can be disadvantageous when you want to know what is happening to your account quickly because of poor communication due to the long chain of authority.

You should select certified agencies that have dedicated staff. Ensure that you are comfortable with the expertise and services of your SEM advertising firm.

Size of Agency

The famous brands are increasingly going for smaller SEM agencies to undertake their digital marketing processes because the large agencies lack innovation and speed. If you wish to progress faster than your rivals, you should consider hiring a small firm. Their exceptional expertise and personal connection are beneficial to your business.

The benefit of hiring a large agency, on the other hand, is that you can always get the marketing strategy of the whole company which has run successful campaigns for many different industries.

You should choose an agency with expertise in Google Ads with experience in marketing various famous brands.

High-Quality Outcomes

Determine if the agency offering you their services has excelled the Google Ads certification tests.

However, certification does not indicate special competence – previous outcomes and experience are what matters most. You should inquire about the agency’s internal processes to learn more about their workflow and methodologies.

You should hire an agency that provides you with their internal workflows and processes for handling various tasks like optimisation, development, and communication.

Past Experience of The Agency

Most agencies choose to make the services they offer private. But that doesn’t limit them from having a portfolio or a list of companies they have succeeded in getting them tangible results through AdWords.

It’s however important that you take every case study you’re offered by any agency with a flat of salt, considering most of these case studies are created by the agencies themselves.

It is not always possible to list all the names of the clients in an agency, but it is advisable that they provide you with some insights of the businesses that had previously hired them. You could even enquire if they can connect with any current or past clients so that you can learn about their experience with the agency. Client testimonials are a good indicator that you can trust your agency.

You should look for firms that are experienced in managing large SEM accounts, received good client feedback, and that can bring you profits.

How You Receive Reports

The main aim of receiving reports is to ensure that the company is on the right track with its roles. You must observe the Google AdWords campaign results if you want to monitor the ability of your agency in increasing your sales. The agency should provide you with reports on a regular basis as per your agreement containing the critical performance indexes of your marketing.

You should hire an agency that uses analytics to improve their services, provides you with scheduled reports, and that can assist you with your more urgent queries.

Transparent Pricing

Various AdWords agencies use different billing methods including flat monthly charges, hourly charges, and percentage monthly ad expenditure. These methods have their advantages and disadvantages.

You should choose an advertising agency that gives you value for your money. Make sure to agree upon a marketing budget to avoid runaway costs.

The Expertise of The SEM Agency

Good marketing agencies do not solely depend on marketing information offered by Google Ads. They acquire insights about your ads and your website while still monitoring Google Analytics.

Wrong google analytics can result in biased and inaccurate results. These errors can eventually cause immense loss of money and time. You should choose an agency that has at least one expert in the category of Google Ads marketing to ensure that your tracking functions well before starting your campaigns.

Do They Have Any Prior Experience Working a Company Similar to Yours?

Does the agency have any prior experience working with a company within the industry you’re in? If so, how well do they understand your market?

It’s NOT necessarily a must for the agency to have any prior experience working with a company that’s similar to yours, but other factors held constant, you might want to consider an agency that’s successfully managed to work with a company within your line of business – if NOT for anything else, then it’s for the experience they mustered during their working stint.

The Track Record of the Agency

Start by looking at the companies the SEM agency has successfully worked with in the past. Go ahead and ask about the experience they had while working with the agency. Did the agency manage to help them achieve their marketing goal at the end? If so, which step did they use to help them reach their growth goals?

Do this for at least three companies then use then feedback you get to corroborate case study you were issued by the agency before you can go ahead and make an informed decision on the agency to work with.

What KPI’s You Should Ask for

There’s a whole lot you can learn about an agency and the services they provide based on the Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) they give.

Of course the KPI’s will vary, but more often than NOT, they’ll include the following:

Bad – when all the agency talks about are impressions, ad positions and clicks

Good – When the agency talks about conversion rates, cost per action and profits.

Best – when the agency focuses on real insights, digging in for measurable outcomes, based on individual needs and situations. They also try to come up with a customized plan on how they’ll be helping your business succeed instead of pulling in canned strategies and ideas.

The benefits of SEM lie in the Return on Investment, ROI it offers.

Good agencies generally focus on the significant outcomes they provide for their customers. You and your agency should jointly determine the aspects that are crucial in achieving your goals. If you come across an agency that just starts promising better rankings for your ads and more impressions at a cheap cost, you should avoid their services.

They don’t know much about how SEM campaigns can be used to influence your customers.

You should seek for agencies who focus on enhancing your ROI, revenue, and sales while reducing your hiring prices.

What Is a SEM Campaign: Strategic Guide on How to Build One?

We always talk about SEO and how much it’s changed in the past few years. But what about the other cornerstones of digital marketing?

I’m talking specifically about SEM or search engine marketing.

SEM and SEO (search engine optimization) are considered the bread and butter of digital marketing. While SEO is the art of drawing people to your website organically through things like content marketing and optimization, SEM focuses on the pay-per-click aspect of it.

What’s SEM?

Unlike SEO, SEM is inorganic – whereby you pay search engines to appear in search results.

Here’s an example of a paid listing in search engine results pages:

The “Ad” label identifies paid listings.

In the early days of search engines, PPC wasn’t synonymous with SEM. It was an all-encompassing word that included SEO, SEM, and Display Advertising.

Nowadays, SEM is narrowly focused on paid search, the process of buying ads that appear next to the natural or organic search results.

Why does this matter?

SEM is a great way to get your business in front of prospects actively looking for what you have to offer.

And when done correctly, it can be an extremely profitable channel for your business.

But there’s a lot more to SEM than just slapping up some ads and sitting back to watch the money roll in.

How SEM Marketing Works

Simple, you pay search engines a small fee to appear in search results that match your keywords.

When a searcher enters those keywords into a search engine, your ad may appear next to the organic search results.

When someone clicks on your ad, search engines deduct the cost of the click from your account.

As you can see, SEM is a fairly simple concept. You pay to have your business appear in front of people actively looking for what you have to offer.

What’s Changed?

In the beginning, developing an SEM campaign was more straightforward than it is now. You would pick your keywords and bid on them to show up in search engine results pages (SERPs).

But today, it’s grown to be a little more complicated.

For starters, you can no longer just throw money at Google without knowing what you’re doing.

The days of bidding on a few keywords and seeing instant results are gone.

To be successful with SEM, you need to develop a comprehensive strategy that includes keyword research, competitor analysis, and ad copywriting.

That’s where this guide comes in.

What’s the Difference Between Search Marketing, Search Engine Marketing (SEM), and SEO?

To better understand SEM, it helps to understand the difference between SEM, SM, and SEO.

Search Marketing

Search Marketing is the umbrella term for both SEM and SEO. It’s a blanket term covering any tactic you use to increase your search engine’s visibility (whether paid or organic).

Search Engine Marketing

SEM is a subset of SM. It focuses on all paid initiatives to get in front of prospects or customers searching for your products or services. It includes PPC, Display Advertising, Remarketing & Retargeting, Paid Social (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter), and Shopping Ads (Google Shopping, Bing Shopping).

what is google paid ads

Search Engine Optimization

SEO is the second subset of SEM. It refers to all the activities that organically increase your website’s visibility in the search engine results pages. That includes optimizing your website for keywords, developing high-quality content, and building links from other relevant websites.

what is the difference between seo and sem illustration

A Common Misconception

You might have read somewhere (in some dated blog posts) that defined SEM as “an all-encompassing term for SEO and paid search.” This is a HUGE misconception!

That’s because SEO and SEM are two different things.

They’re both under search marketing, but each has a different ball game.

SEO may influence SEM, but they’re not the same.

Pay Per Click (PPC) Marketing

A key term you’ll frequently encounter when reading about SEM is “PPC.”

PPC is short for “pay-per-click,” and it’s the most common type of advertising on the web.

PPC is a payment model used by search engines and other online advertising platforms to charge marketers for ad placement. Advertisers pay for each click an ad receives, hence the term “pay-per-click.”

How to Run SEM Ads

Now that we’ve covered the basics of SEM let’s dive into the how-to.

First, you need to choose the right platform for your business.

There are a few different SEM platforms to choose from, but the two most popular players are Google Ads and Bing Ads.

Both platforms offer different ad options and features, which is why you might want to test both to see which one works best for your company.

Googles Ads Vs. Bing Ads

Google ads: Google ads is the biggest ad platform. It offers advertisers the ability to serve ads on Google search results (Search Network) while also extending their ads to other websites like YouTube (Display network) and Google properties (Gmail, Google Play app store, etc.).

Bing Ads: Bing Ads is the second largest search engine after Google. It offers a similar ad platform to Google but with a smaller reach.

They claim to connect 3 million search users that Google can’t reach. They also serve ads on partner sites such as MSN and Yahoo.

The 3 Pillars of SEM

There are three main components to any successful SEM campaign:  Keyword Research, Ad Copywriting, and Competitor Analysis.

If you can master these three areas and develop an effective strategy for each pillar (I’ll show you how in a moment), then you’re on track to become an SEM master.

1. Keyword Research

Before creating any paid ad campaign, you need to do a little research and identify which keywords make the most sense for your business.

The more targeted and relevant your keyword list is to your business goals, the better your ads will perform.

That’s where keyword research comes in.

There are several different ways to do keyword research, but the most effective method is to use a tool like Google Ads Keyword Planner or SEMrush.

Google Ads Keyword Planner

Google Ads Keyword Planner is a free tool offered by Google that lets you see how many people are searching for your keywords.

It’s pretty helpful in finding out how much competition exists. However, its data is limited and requires you to be familiar with Google’s search algorithm.


SEMrush is an enterprise-level solution that provides more robust keyword data as well as detailed insights into your competitors. It’s a powerful tool, but it does come at a premium price.

Types of SEM Keywords

There are four types of SEM keywords:

  • Broad Match Keywords: These are the most general keywords and will match with any variation of the word or phrase. For example, the keyword “shoes” would match with “women’s shoes,” “red shoes,” “buy shoes online,” etc.
  • Phrase Match Keywords: These keywords are more specific than broad match keywords. They’re somehow action-driven and match a phrase or sentence that includes the keyword. For example, “buy red shoes online” would be a phrase match for the keyword “red shoes.”
  • Exact Match Keywords: A keyword setting that allows your ad only to show when someone searches for your keyword or close variants. Close variants factor in misspellings, singular and plural forms, abbreviations, accents, the removal and addition of functional words, stemming, same search intent, etc. For example, “running” would be an exact match for the keyword “shoes for running.”
  • Negative Match Keywords: These are keywords you add to your campaign to prevent your ad from appearing for specific queries. For example, if you’re a shoe company, you might add the keyword “Nike” as a negative match to prevent your ad from appearing when someone searches for “buy Nike shoes online.”

different types of keyword match types


When setting up your SEM campaign, you’ll want to choose a mix of these four types of keywords and use them appropriately.

2. Ad Copywriting

Once you know which keywords make sense for your business, you have to create ads that entice people to click through to your website.

The two main factors you’ll consider when writing ad copy are: 1) how to stand out from the competition, and 2) how to make your offer irresistible.

Standing Out from the Competition

One of the best ways to write an effective ad is to focus on what makes you different from the competition.

What do you offer that they don’t? Why should people choose you over everyone else?

Making Your Offer Irresistible

The other key ingredient to writing a compelling ad copy is making your offer irresistible.

People are bombarded with ads all day long. So, your goal with your ad copy is to cut through that noise and convince people that what you’re offering is [exactly] what they need.

One way to do this is to focus on your results by working with you. For example, what will they get if people click through your ad and visit your website? What will they learn? How will it improve their lives?

3. Competitor Analysis

The final pillar of SEM is competitor analysis.

That involves studying your competitors to see what kind of ads they’re running, what kind of keywords they’re targeting, and how their website is structured.

This information can be used to inform your own ad campaign and help you find new opportunities to target.

SEM Targeting

Keywords targeting tells Google or Bing where your ads will show. SEM targeting, on the other hand, takes things a step further.

It allows you to target people based on their demographics, interests, and even past behaviour.

That said, here are the three most common types of targeting:

  • Location Targeting: You can target people by country, state/region, city, or zip code.
  • Demographic Targeting: This type of targeting allows you to target people based on their age, gender, income, parental status, etc.
  • Ad Schedule Targeting: You can target people based on the days and times they’re most likely to be online. For example, you might want to target people only during the workweek.
  • Device Targeting: With this type of targeting, you can choose whether or not your ads will show on a mobile device, tablet, desktop computer, etc.
  • Other Targeting Options: There are other targeting options as well. These include remarketing (people who have already visited your site), affinity audiences (segments of people based on broader interests), and in-market audiences (people who have already expressed an interest in buying a product or service like the one you offer).

SEM Terms You Should Know

To get started, you have to familiarize yourself with the SEM lingo. You can begin by understanding how some terms are used in SEM marketing.

Quality Score: Google hasn’t revealed how much goes into their quality score calculation, but we do know that it takes into account the relevancy of your keywords, ads, and landing pages to users.

Relevancy Score: The Facebook relevancy score is calculated based on how often people see your ad, click it, like it, share it, and comment on it.

Click-through rate (CTR): This score is the percentage of times your ad was clicked when it was displayed. CTR can be calculated using impressions and clicks.

CTR = (The number of clicks your ad received/the total impression (or how many times it showed up in the SERPs)) *100

Your CTR will be shown in the dashboard of your PPC account:

Bounce: A bounce is when someone clicks your ad, goes to your site and leaves without taking any other action.

It’s one of the most dreaded things that can happen in SEM marketing, and it’s usually a sign that your ad wasn’t relevant to the user or your landing page was irrelevant or poorly designed.

A bounce isn’t entirely a bad thing.

In Google Analytics, a bounce refers to a single page or single session visit. That means that the user only visited your site once, didn’t search for anything else on Google or other sites, and left.

It doesn’t matter how long the user stays on your page. If they left without taking any other action, that’s considered a bounce.

Bounce Rate: The bounce rate is the percentage of users who bounce. It’s calculated using page views and sessions.

If, for example, 20 people bounced from your site out of the 100 who visited it, your bounce rate would be 20%.

Why is Bounce Rate Important?

A bounce rate may or may not be a good indicator of the quality of your landing page.

And Google is smart enough to know when to factor it into your quality score.

However, if your bounce rate is high, it could be because your landing page doesn’t match the ad or keyword, or there’s something wrong with its design.

When a Bounce Rate Doesn’t Matter

Picture a business that relies on customers calling it for its services.

Whether or not a person engages with their site doesn’t matter as long as they make a phone call to contact the company.

The customer can order anything from the company without clicking on anything.

Google analytics may count this as a bounce, but your Quality Score won’t be affected. Google might even mark it positively.

That also explains why Google offers call tracking – meaning you could improve your quality score based on the phone calls coming in instead of relying on your landing page.

Ad Landing Page: The landing page is the page that a user sees after clicking your ad.

The content of your landing page should be relevant to the keywords in your ad group and the product or service you’re offering.

Your landing page should also have a clear call to action (CTA).

A good landing page is designed with conversion in mind.

Keywords: The keywords you choose for your ad group should be relevant to the product or service you’re offering.

They should also be high-traffic, high-conversion keywords.

You can research which keywords are best for your business using Google Ads Keyword Planner Tool and other tools like SEMrush and Moz’s Keyword Explorer.

In Google Analytics, keywords with high competition tend to be highly competitive, buyer-centric, and expensive.

dashboard of your PPC account:

how to check the click through rate

Search Intent: The search intent of a keyword reflects the user’s intention when they type it into Google.

There are three types of search intent:

  1. Informational: The user is looking for information about a particular topic.
  2. Transactional: The user wants to buy a product or service.
  3. Navigational: The user is looking for a specific website or brand.

When choosing keywords, you should consider the search intent of your target audience.

Knowing the distinction between different types of search intent will help you write ads closely related to your keywords.

Your landing page should also be designed with the intent of your target audience in mind.

For example, if you use informational keywords in your ad, you should write an ad that provides information about your product or service.

If you use transactional keywords, you should write an ad that promotes the purchase of your product or service.

Ad Creatives: These are the ad variations you create in your ad group.

Google has advanced a great deal over the years to the point that they now allow marketers to create numerous different ad creatives to be served for one keyword.

Ideally, you should at least create three ads for each keyword.

Here are a few tips to observe:

You can start by looking at your existing ads. See if there’s any way you can improve them. Experiment with different USP’s and offers and see which ones bring in the best results.

Try changing the verbs in your ad copy. Use different representations of numbers. You can even include or exclude your brand name in some of your ad variations.

Look at your competitors’ ads and borrow a few ideas. Try mimicking some of the ads to see how it’s working for them.

SEM Account Structure

Now that you understand the basics of SEM, the next thing you want to know is how your account will be structured.

Before creating any more ads, you must understand the three layers of Google ads design.

Understanding the relationship between these layers will help you create organized, effective ad campaigns.

The three layers are:

1) Campaigns: A campaign consists of different ad groups that share a common marketing goal, like increasing brand awareness or generating leads.

2) Ad Groups: An ad group contains one or more ads, each with its own set of keywords and targeting.

A general rule of thumb is that an ad campaign shouldn’t have more than ten ad groups.

For example, an ad campaign targeting virtual assistants (Vas) can have two ad groups targeting part-time VAs and full-time VAs.

3) Account: An account is a top-level container for all your campaigns and ad groups. It’s associated with one email address, password, and billing information.

typical google ads account structure


SEM Ad Copy

An SEM ad copy is a short text ad that appears as part of search results. It should include a call to action and an offer.

It mimics organic search results and can show additional information, like an image or ad extensions.

A standard ad has two headlines, a brief description, and a website URL.

Ad copy should be brief, clear, and concise. It should also include a call to action (i.e., “click here to learn more,” “shop now,” etc.) and an offer.

what are the components of a search ad copy

SEM ads also have different ad formats, which allow you to show additional information, like a product carousel, image, callout, and site link.

You can also add:

  • Sitelink extensions
  • Callout extensions
  • Price extensions
  • Call extensions
  • Location extensions
  • Message extensions
  • Structured snippet extensions
  • Advertiser ratings

SEM Ad Auction

Setting up an SEM ad comes with no guarantees.

You’re essentially bidding against other advertisers for a spot in search engine results.

The auction takes place behind the scenes, so you won’t know who’s bidding or how much they’re spending.

SEM platforms have a built-in system that determines when and where your ads will show.

It’s based on a combination of quality and bid price. How much you’re willing to pay determines which positions you can get.

Higher bids lead to higher positions in search results, while lower bids lead to lower positions.

It’s through the auction that Google determines your ad rank, based on the following three key factors:

  • Maximum Bid: This is the most you’re willing to pay for a click on your ad.
  • Quality Score: This is a metric that Google uses to measure your ad’s relevance to a person’s search. There’s no straightforward formula for calculating your ad’s Quality Score. But some people believe it’s calculated based on click-through rate, keyword relevance, landing page relevance, and historical ad performance.
  • Ad Rank: This is a combination of your bid and quality score, and it’s what determines your ad placement. The higher your ad rank, the higher your ad placement.

These three factors work together to determine your ad placement.

The higher your quality score, the lower your CPC will be.

Generally speaking, the auction process is continuous and self-adjusting. Higher-performing ads move up in position while underperforming ads move down.

Since ad rank is directly related to quality score and max bid, it’s in your best interest to optimize your ad for these two factors.

Ad Rank = Max Bid (CPC) x Quality Score

The main takeaway is that brands with high-quality scores receive better ad placements and pay less than brands with low-quality scores.

SEM Best Practices

Now that you understand how to set up an SEM account; so how about we show you how to optimize your campaign performance.

There are a few best practices you should keep in mind:

1.   Know Your Target Audience

In a survey conducted by the CMO Council, 43% of marketers stated that personalization drives conversion.

Autopilot’s finding agrees with this study by revealing that consumers are four times more likely to respond to a personalized offer than a generic one.

The more you know about your target audience, the more effective your ads will be.

Don’t just settle for demographics and interests; build buyer personas so you can create laser-focused ad campaigns based on their unique needs and goals.

The data that can help you personalize your offer include:

  • Language
  • Geographic location
  • Age group
  • Interests
  • Intentions/goals
  • Day of the week that they’re most active
  • Time of the day that they’re most active
  • Device they use
  • Detailed buyer personas

2.   Use the Right Keywords

You can start by creating a list of keywords related to your product and your target audience.

Think of all the keywords related to your product, like “facial cleanser,” “skincare line,” and “anti-aging products.

Use Google ads keyword planner to validate your keyword list. The three things you want to look at are the search volume, competition level, and suggested bids.

Search volume tells you how many people are searching for that particular keyword.

The competition level determines the difficulty of ranking high on search engine results pages.

The suggested bid is the average amount of money advertisers bid on that specific keyword.

The keyword planner will also provide a list of suggested keywords.

Once you have a list of keywords, use them to create ad groups.

Grouping related keywords will help you target your ads more effectively and improve your click-through rate (CTR).

3.   Write Catchy Ad Copy

Your ad copy is what will persuade people to click on your ad.

It should be brief, to the point, and persuasive. The goal of ad copy is to convince people to click on your ad after reading it.

An ad copy consists of three key elements:

  • Headline: The headline should be short yet attention-grabbing. Try using a number or question.
  • Description line 1 (SL1): This is where you provide more information about your product and what it does.
  • Description line 2 (SL2): This is where you highlight the benefits of using your product.

Note that one letter is enough to change someone’s mind. For example, just including the word “free delivery” in your ad copy could increase your CTR by up to 50%.

In addition to personalization, you can also improve your ad copy by including your unique selling point (USP).

That’s what makes your products or services better than the rest.

Knowing your USP can help you write a compelling ad copy and attract more customers.

How can your USP Help You Attract More Customers?

Everyone has things they do better than most. You can use that to your advantage by highlighting your USP in the headline.

For example, if your product is all-natural, you might write “All-natural skincare products” in your headline to attract people looking for organic options.

Being specific about benefits rather than focusing on what your competitors are doing will help you stand out from the crowd.

Also, if there’s a pain point associated with what you do, mentioning it can also be helpful.

Lastly, you also want to add an image containing a human face on your landing page.

Highrise ran an A/B split test on this and found out that users responded better to these types of landing pages.

4.   Your Account Structure

No one likes to fumble through a mess, especially when it takes away time that you could be spending to make money.

That’s why organizing your account structure can help improve performance by making everything easier to find.

You can organize everything in your account by compartmentalizing them into groups for better organization.

You can start by reverse-engineering your SEM account structure from your buyer persona’s path to purchase.

Once you know the steps, you can create ad groups and landing pages that correspond to each step on the path.

You can target users searching for your products or services or intercept those looking for your competitors’ products. You can also target users actively searching for your products or services or target those who don’t even know that your product or service exists.

Each audience belongs to a different stage in the customer journey, and you’ll want to target them differently.


Users who have never heard about your products or services


Users who are searching for your product or service offering. They have nothing specific in mind.


Users who are specifically searching for your brand or product

For example, instead of using a retargeting strategy, you can set up remarketing ads that contain product images and testimonials.

That is more helpful in getting people to convert because it looks like they’re making an informed decision.

5.   Understand Keyword Grouping

A successful SEM campaign has five key elements:

  • Campaigns
  • Ad group
  • Keywords
  • Text
  • Landing pages

how to structure an sem campaign ad group

SEM campaigns feature at the top of the structure. Ad campaigns contain ad groups and keywords; each ad group contains specific keywords that you can use to target your audience for retargeting, branding, or informational purposes.

Your ad text should contain the keyword you’re targeting, and the landing page should be relevant to the keywords in the ad group.

When creating your account structure, think about targeting each stage of the customer journey.

Start with the awareness phase and work your way down to the conversion phase.