The SEM Terminology
Well, to be fair, it's probably twelve. But a few of these really need to be understood together (namely: keywords & search terms, and ads & extensions). So we're presenting them together. These terms mean precise things and their meanings do not vary.
It isn't possible to provide a complete understanding of all these terms right here. But we hope to give you a good start on what they mean and help you to go further in your understanding. These are not vague terms. They mean very precise things. Any vagueness in your team's understanding of all the terms here is going to impact your chance of success. Negatively.
Here we are presenting clear definitions of these terms along with some help to make sure you really understand how they are used
Technically, yes, this is in fact two terms. However, they must be understood together. You should be able to define both of them in terms that relate the two. So we put them together and counted them as one "term". We'd go as far as to say that, if you can't describe how they work together in a few examples, you don't understand either. And you will be wasting a lot of money doing SEM.
- If your potential customer is searching on Google, the words they type in are called: search terms. Those three to five words that the customer typed in to Google (the search terms) are HUGE. In fact, they are the only clues your customer can give you about what they're looking for.
- Keywords are the terms you define in your campaign to use for matching specific sets of search terms. Understanding how different search terms will or won't match with your keywords is key (pardon us) to getting the right searches to show your ads.
Together, these make up what a searcher on Google might see if your campaign (keywords, locations, schedule, and devices) matches with what they're looking for. People use the term ads when in fact they are referring to the combination of both your Ads and your Extensions (information in various formats that is shown wiht your ads; depending on a number of factors).
There are RSAs (responsive search ads) and there are ETAs (expanded text ads). They use three headline fields (up to 30 characters each) and two description fields (up to 90 characters each) to create the ad that is shown on Google.
In addition, RSAs let you provide up to 15 total headlines and 4 descriptions, along with a position preference number to tell Google which position you recommend they put that particular headline or description in when they use it. ETAs are going to be unmaintainable after July 1, 2022. So RSAs are what you use.
In addition to those headline and description fields, you can also specify two 15 character URL suffix fields that will be shown with slashes after your final URL in the ad.
Extensions can include any number of elements such as callouts, snippets, and sitelinks. It is important that you use all these fields to support your effort to attract buyers and create conversions. Not to overload the Google screen with information.
Our experience has clearly shown that bigger ads with more flash and options (sitelinks, pictures, input forms, etc.) will indeed drive more clicks, but reduce conversions (a lot). Stick to the point in your ads and extensions and get only real buyers to click.
The page that Google returns for a search is called a search engine results page or SERP, where Google decides which ads to show and in which order. There is a lot of information on a SERP and your potential customer has to be able to see your ad in that context. Understanding SERPs is very important.
This is, in essense, your competitive battlefield in using Google pay per click advertising. Competing with other advertisers for ad space. Attracting the attention of real potential buyers with your ads.
Some science needs to be applied when review your SERP results. Your search history very much affects what you will see on a Google SERP. So when you are trying to evaluate your campaigns relative to others, realize that you are not necessarily seeing what a new potential buyer will see. Delete your brower data or use browsing tools (such as Browserstack) to ensure you're looking at an accurate picture of what new users would see.
An impression is when somebody somewhere searching on Google was shown your ad somewhere on their SERP.
When the match is close enough and your bid is high enough, Google decides to show the searcher your ad. This is called an impression. Impressions are the result of your campaign aligning with the particular searcher who saw your ad and this alignment has to cover device type, geography, time of day (schedule) as well as match on keywords with no matches on negative keywords.
You should be concerned that the only people who see your ad are trued potential buyers.
When the match is close enough and your bid is high enough, Google decides to show the searcher your ad. This is called an impression. Now. If the ad in that impression is actually clicked on , now you have a click. And a bill from google for some portion of your bid.
The thing to remember here: Yes, you are trying to get clicks. But they are expensive. Typically, $2 to $20 EACH. You want clicks. But you need to make sure your campaign and landing page can convert them. Before you pay for too many.
Adgroups must have a Max CPC amount specified. That tells Google the most you are willing to pay for a click that come from any keyword in that adgroup. Bids are applied to a keyword. See how simple bidding is?
Well, it COULD be that simple. But Google also give you about 400 ways to make it more complicated. Automation. Smart bidding. Keyword specific bidding. Bidding schedules. And many more ways. It is quite easy to create campaigns where you actually have no idea what the bid was for any click you end up paying for.
Keep your campaigns tight. One customer need. Use a default Max CPC bid. Leave it all alone until you REALLY know what is happening in your campaign. Just pick a default bid that is somehwhere in a competitive range.
Your campaign generated 1000 impressions. People who saw your ad. And 100 clicks. People who clicked on your ad. That's a CTR of 10% or 0.10.
It is an important part of your performance because low CTR values make it hard for your ad to get shown Google has little chance of getting paid for one of your clicks, so they charge proportionately more if your CTR is lower.
This is important stuff to understand. However, making ads that have high CTR and yield no conversions is just a great way to throw money away. CTR without a view of conversions is extremely counterproductive.
Conversions are anything your site visitor did that you value. It is up to you to define these. Signups? Downloads? Purchases? Surveys? These are not things you would value similarly. And that's ok. Provided you can value them.
There is a lot of imagination to be aplied to the business of getting website visitors to do what you value. Conversions don't even have to be caputured automatically. Maybe a store visit? Or a phone call? Or a referral?
Creativity in creating, measuring, and exploiting conversion types is critical to doing well with SEM.
How many clicks did that conversion require? That's your conversion rate. Obviously, this can only be compared between similar types of conversions.
The percentage of clicks that result in the user leaving before taking any actions on your site. Bounce rate is the most important performance measurement for new campaigns.
Bounce rate is pure wasted money! And a lot of it. You aren't getting a shot at this customer, even though they clicked on your ad! Fix your landing page or stop running that campaign. (There's more on landing pages in the section: "Five Habits...".)
Start every day with a very serious look at bounce rate/s in your campaigns. There is no single better place to start nor more important measure to be analyzed.