SEM Best Practices for Growth Marketers

SEM is an ongoing strategy to drive qualified customers to a conversion and ultimately drive business results. Utilize these best practices in SEM to maximize the bottom line of your paid search campaigns.

Deliver Value Across the Decision Journey

There are five major stages of a consumers purchase intent, all of which need to be considered for a successful campaign:

  • Awareness: Obtaining background information to become a more informed researcher
  • Consideration: Exploring options, recommendations, and products or services that meet basic criteria.
  • Conversion: Finding where to purchase, evaluating pricing, availability, etc – eventually making a purchase.
  • Maintain: Now that a relationship has been established, the consumer may venture in other products or services you provide.
  • Expand: A satisfied customer may leave a positive review, or share their experience via word of mouth, etc.

Align Your Campaign and Goals

Paid search is a measurable tool that can help you reach your business goals. It is important to align your SEM strategy with campaign objectives:

  • Brand awareness: Bidding competitively on select keywords that will acquire the audience reach you are looking for in your campaign objectives.
  • Customer Acquisition: Consumers rely on search to make informed decisions; SEM can help in every stage of this process.
  • Drive Sales: One of the main strengths of paid search is driving conversions. It outperforms other marketing channels in driving conversion rates.
  • Enter New Markets: SEM allows a variety of extension options within campaigns that allow you to activate a cross-border marketing strategy. For example, you could drive foot traffic with Location Extensions, calls with Call Extensions, and increased ad clicks with Sitelink Extensions.

Take Audience Targeting To The Next Level

Take your engagement a step further by reaching as many unique searchers as possible with audience targeting. Consider the following factors when building buyer personas:

  • Behavioral: Past behaviors can be useful for understanding a consumers’ interests.
  • Demographic: Preferences are often influenced by factors such as age, gender, and location.
  • Contextual: Analyzing where, when, and how a consumer searches can be useful for creating more impactful campaigns

Lift Other Investments with Paid Search

Further optimize your search efforts by supplementing organic search with your paid SEM strategy.

  • Search and Social: Consumers clicking on a paid search and social ad are more likely to buy and spend more. You can tailor your bidding strategy for commercial PPC campaigns.
  • Search and TV: Search volume tends to spike after a commercial airs.
  • Search and Display: Running paid search and display at the same time can help you make an educated decision on which channel drives better results.

Pick the Right Metrics to Measure Impact

Focus your reporting by tracking key performance indicators that align with your business goals:

  • Acquiring customers
  • Driving foot traffic
  • Getting phone calls
  • Increasing ad clicks
  • Building brand trust
  • Expanding cross-channel strategy

It is important to understand which channels drive marketing results.  Sales can come from a culmination of marketing tactics that may involve several channels over any length of time.


SEM is vastly important for growth marketing and is the backbone of today’s marketing channels.  One of the biggest struggles we face as marketers is getting the right message to the right audience, at the right time and on the right device.  Following these best practices will help you maximize the reach, impact, and value of your paid search campaigns.


Written by Google Products Media Buyer, Olivia Husby

Share this post

Scroll to Top