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The Ultimate Guide to SEM (Search Engine Marketing)

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The Ultimate Guide to SEM (Search Engine Marketing) Search Engine Marketing, or SEM, is one of the most effective ways to grow your business and reach new customers. While it's critical you employ organic strategies to attract traffic over the long-term, sometimes, you can't properly compete on the SERPs without putting money behind it -- and that's where SEM comes into play. For instance, consider what happens when I type "summer shoes" into Google: Zappos clearly has an effective SEO strategy, since its "Summer shoes" page ranks first organically. However, their paid "Summer Shoes" ad, circled above, ranks as the first search result overall. With 35% of product searches starting on Google, and the average Google search lasting only a minute, it's critical your business's product or service appear at the top of a SERP when a user is searching for it. This isn't always possible organically, particularly when other businesses are paying to ensure their products appear above yours. When this is the case, it's critical you invest in a SEM strategy. What is Search Engine Marketing (SEM)? SEM, or search engine marketing, is using paid advertising to ensure that your business's products or services are visible in search engine results pages (SERPs). When a user types in a certain keyword, SEM enables your business to appear as a result for that search query. To ensure you're able to use SEM to properly advertise your products or services on the SERPs, we've...

Everything Our Paid Team Learned From Attempting a Reddit Advertising Strategy

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Everything Our Paid Team Learned From Attempting a Reddit Advertising Strategy With a ranking as one of the top ten most popular sites on the internet, Reddit is undoubtedly an intriguing channel for advertising purposes. However, the site can often seem intimidating, and perhaps even too random to create a cohesive advertising strategy. Plus, since its primary purpose is to expose viewers to the top-trending content of the moment, Reddit users are notoriously anti-marketing. Regardless of its challenges, its potential advantages proved too good an opportunity to pass up. At HubSpot, we decided to implement a strategy to see for ourselves whether Reddit can serve as a promising channel for the future. Here, learn what our team figured out about advertising on Reddit, and whether it's worth the attempt for your own company. Plus, we've provided a step-by-step tutorial on how you can advertise on Reddit if you determine it's a valuable option for your own company.  The Strategy Behind Reddit Advertising 1. Identify subreddit topics which are well-aligned with your target audience. To investigate the benefits of advertising on Reddit, I first spoke with Josh Chang, a Senior Marketing Manager at HubSpot. He told me HubSpot's initial strategy on Reddit involved highly targeted campaigns on specific subreddits, including r/entrepreneur and r/sales. "The goal of the campaign," Chang explained, "was to drive awareness and conversion for our products. In terms of results, we saw cost-per-acquisition similar to what we've achieved on Facebook in North America, although we did notice...

Bing PPC Ads: How They Work (and Compare to Google Ads)

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Bing PPC Ads: How They Work (and Compare to Google Ads) If Googling has ever let you down, you may have come across another search engine called Bing. This search engine is powered by Microsoft and strives to outdo Google at every turn. Bing wants to revolutionize digital search and rival the industry's long-standing powerhouse. It's an ambitious goal, but one place where Bing differentiates itself is through its Pay Per Click ads, or PPC. According to our guide, Pay Per Click ads are, "a form of search engine marketing (SEM) where the advertiser pays for clicks on an ad." Simply put, the advertiser has to pay the publisher whenever a visitor interacts with the ad. In exchange, the ad is added to the search engine's database, which displays the ad whenever the content matches a visitor's searched keyword. While Google Ads offers a popular PPC feature, Bing's has unique advantages that distinguish itself from the search engine giant. And, if you're the owner of a small- to medium-sized business, you may be more interested in Bing's PPC benefits than Google's. In this post, let's break down how Bing PPC ads work, as well as how they compare to Google Ads. Bing PPC Bing PPC ads operate on Microsoft's three popular search engines: Bing, Yahoo, and AOL. When you use Bing campaigns, your content is shared across all of these platforms at once. With over five billion monthly searches being made on the Microsoft network, this makes Bing PPC...

The Plain-English Guide to Negative Keywords

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The Plain-English Guide to Negative Keywords When I woke up this morning, I groggily shuffled to my kitchen, where I made a distressing discovery: I was out of coffee grounds. Suddenly full of energy, and wanting to remedy the situation as quickly as possible, I frantically ran to my desk, opened my laptop, and typed "ground coffee beans" into Google. I received numerous results: coffee alternatives, drip coffee beans, coffee bean blends, listicles about coffee grounds, and even a list of nearby coffee places. But even though I was given all of this information, I still hadn't found what I needed. So, I continued. After scrolling through recipes that use ground coffee beans, and a section labelled, "Research ground coffee beans," I finally located a section where I could purchase ground coffee beans! When I secured my refill, I thought about all of the options I'd been given for "ground coffee beans," and how many ads I clicked on or ignored because they didn't match my search intent. "Imagine advertising coffee and wasting ad spend from queries like mine," I thought. "Surely," I thought, "There must be a marketing method you can use to avoid this scenario." The answer? Negative keywords. Also known as a negative match, negative keywords make sure that certain words or phrases don't trigger an ad being shown on a SERP or website. This improves targeting: When you prevent keywords from being associated with an ad, you can be more certain that it will...

How to Audit Your PPC Campaign & Identify Metrics for Success

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How to Audit Your PPC Campaign & Identify Metrics for Success If you manage a Google AdWords account to supplement your organic SEO efforts, you know there are a plenty of metrics available to track and analyze. Sometimes it can be confusing and overwhelming. Since we all have limited bandwidth, it’s a good idea to narrow down the key metrics that really give you meaningful insight into what’s working -- and what isn’t -- in your paid search campaigns. Before we dive into the key metrics to track, let's review a checklist to look over when you're auditing your pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns. 1. Check your location and target settings. When you're auditing your PPC campaigns, the first step should be to check your location targeting settings. To do this, ensure that you've properly set up the regions that your business serves. Keep in mind that you can also exclude locations where your company doesn't have stores or can't deliver to. Additionally, you can review geo-reports to see what locations perform best. By doing this, you can prioritize your ad budget by location. 2. Evaluate your ad compared to your landing page. After reviewing your analytics, you might realize that your PPC ads aren't converting. When this happens, it's time to look at your ads and see if your landing page follows through on expectations. For example, if an ad markets a "Free CMS," but your landing page is focused on an inbound marketing...