5 common mistakes you’re probably making with your SEM

Posted by Meg Bernazzani on February 6, 2018

An efficient search engine marketing campaign can help you get your business in front of lots of potential customers who are already searching for your products. With so much at stake, it’s crucial that you optimize your SEM for success.

Whether you’re just getting started with SEM or you’ve been running campaigns for awhile, knowing what not to do can be just as valuable as knowing what works. We’ve identified five common mistakes to avoid.

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1. You’re targeting the wrong keywords

Broad keywords – the obvious, short, popular terms searchers use – are extremely competitive. To attract traffic that’s relevant to your business, avoid broad keywords that will eat up your budget too fast. Instead, focus on using very targeted keywords that are likely to attract informed shoppers who are ready to purchase a car. Putting your budget toward highly specific search phrases called long tail keywords will help your dealership and the vehicles you offer appear in more relevant searches and increase high-quality traffic to your site.

2. You’re not using the right bidding strategy

Competition for the top spots on search engine results pages is on the rise. In fact, 85% of dealers are spending on AdWords, according to 9 Clouds. This means your bidding strategy is more important than ever. Consider your objectives, budget, and competition, then use technology to research and inform your bidding strategy. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach – your strategy will vary for different types of keywords. When you find your bidding sweet spot, you’ll win more ad auctions and increase your chances for conversions.

3. You’re not creating a unique experience for each ad

Effective ads include features like unique copy, URLs, phone numbers, callouts, and location, and should drive visitors to a relevant landing page. When each ad in your SEM campaign has all of these components, you’re enabling visitors to quickly find the vehicle they’re looking for, ensuring better conversions for your business. Don’t underestimate the power of great ad copy and a unique landing page.

4. You’re neglecting mobile

With the majority of shoppers searching on the go, mobile is becoming an increasingly important part of the buying experience. If your pages don’t resize or are cluttered with text and images, you could be hurting your quality score in addition to discouraging visitors from staying on your site. Make sure that your phone number is clickable so shoppers can connect instantly, your VDP landing pages load properly on a mobile device, and you have suitable content that’s neatly displayed.

5. You’re not looking at the analytics

You need to view SEM as an integral part of your overall marketing strategy – you can’t just “set it and forget it.” Regularly look at your analytics to gauge whether or not your campaign goals are being met, and optimize accordingly. Just looking at one or two SEM metrics doesn’t tell the full story, so make sure to evaluate all available metrics like bounce rate, time on site, and click-through rate. As you identify trends, you can remove keywords that aren’t performing or adjust ad copy as needed. Google and other search engines continually tweak their algorithms, so you must be ready to evaluate and adjust your SEM campaigns if necessary.

Still need help? CarGurus SEM Plus can help you build and manage your campaigns, so that you can focus on what you do best: selling cars.

Get more information about CarGurus SEM Plus.

Topics: Google AdWords, search marketing, SEM, SEM Plus