Jolina Pettice

SES NY: 8 Tips to Boost SEM Results

In the last session of the day, attendees were rewarded with 8 awesome tips to boost Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Results in a sponsored session  “Wpromote Workshop: 8 Things You Aren’t Doing That Will Boost Your SEM Results”.

Using real-life examples, this session promises to teach attendees the secrets top online marketers are using to beat the competition and squeeze the greatest results possible from their SEM efforts.   Topics include: PPC, SEO, landing page optimization and social media.

Speakers are Michael Mothner, Founder & CEO and Michael Stone, Vice President, Sales & Strategy – both from Wpromote.  Some tips you may know and some you may not, but there is definitely something for everyone.

1. Always. Test. Everything
Assume that everything is broken. Ask your self by how much is it broken and how do we reduce the delta between where we are and where we want to be? Always be improving.

Make sure your ads are fresh. Tailor copy to seasonal or world events to give the sense of freshness and relevancy.

Using Google to test messages, headlines and landing page copy is more cost effective and real-time than a focus group. Understand what messages resonate prior to creating entire campaigns.

What’s hot to test right now:
a. discounts and deals
b. sense of urgency

2. Tell the Right Story to the Right Person
Know your product, know your audience and be consistent to avoid frustrating your audience.

Connect the dots between the search query, your ad and the headline/copy on the landing page.

Understand the specific keywords your target is using and deliver specific content to them.

3. Don’t be Fooled by Google Broad Match
Google broad match allows you to match 1000’s of queries to a single keyword. While it’s easy and quick, it’s not always the best option. It can match to bad keywords, just as easy as it can match to good keywords.

The problem with Google Broad Match is that the keyword phrase you see in your dashboard, isn’t necessarily the word that your ad was shown for.

How do you get the good without the bad?
Track, Learn and Adjust.
a. use search query reports. Be careful though, the bad keywords are hidden in a line item ‘all other keywords’
b. Google Analytics Raw Query Hack
Use the good keywords for AdGroups, to bid higher and customize ad text
Use the bad keywords to update negative keywords
c. server log analysis (doable, but hard)

4. Blogging & SEO
If you launch a blog, blog 3-5x per week and on average 300 words per post. Make sure you interact with the blogosphere including linking, commenting and guest blogging.

Use keyword hyperlinks and refrain from hyperlinking ‘read more’ and ‘click here’.

5. Usability Testing. Do it!
Perform user testing. It doesn’t have to be expensive or intimidating and shouldn’t only align to the HIPPOs (highest paid person’s opinion).

Put on your client hat because what’s easy to you, may be hard for others.

Use tools like crazyegg to track user actions on pages.

Make sure your site is 100% compatible with Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer (and its different versions).

6. Forms, Funnels and Fun!
Limit navigation to make sure users don’t get lost and to minimize distractions. Make sure that you are pointing the user toward the offer so they can take an action.

Get smart with forms. Capture the information even if the form or cart is abandoned and then follow up with abandoned leads.

7. Analytics is Your Friend
HITS – how idiots track stuff. (j/k :)) Think about analytics as a way to study online behavior to answer questions.

What can analytics answer?
a. how do people get to my site
b. which version of my email campaign worked better
c. where are people dropping off in the buying process

Get granular with analytics.
a. segment the total number of visitors to identify who came from where and who did what
b. document changes and compare the before-and-after to see if the change had an impact
c. create funnels and see visually where failure occurs

Goals give analytics more value.  With goals you move beyond bounce rate, exit rate and time on site and dig into questions like:
a. does my blog lead to sales
b. what is the traffic source with the highest ROI

8. Social Media
Do you tweet? Look at examples like Zappos (
Share your company culture and build relationships with new and existing customers.

Promote video content on YouTube to drive additional targeted users through engaging media.

Feel free to share other tips below on how to improve SEM success.

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  1. Great article. I couldn’t agree more on testing everything. It only takes a few minutes, but could save you hours of aggravation later.

  2. Jolina – Thank you for the wonderful write up and for featuring our workshop! We hope it was informative & helpful to all.

  3. Avatar Dax Turner says

    Jolina, Thank you for summing it up. Couldn’t attend this session… I really missed it. These are really awesome tips. SES is always rocking!

  4. I have to agree that it is important to test the usability of your website and make sure that it is 100% compatible with all the major browsers, because if its not then people will probably not stay on your site for very long. Where possible I always try not to link the words ‘click here’ and link the words that are more relevant to the page it is going to.

  5. Thank you for giving actual numbers for how often and how much to blog. I never knew how much was enough and how much was too much. Thanks again!

  6. @ Diana Singleton – No problem. 🙂 The 3-5x per week is still a guide, albeit a good one. Anyone who is blogging can identify the number of posts needed to provide value to the audience by looking at metrics, subscribers or reaching out to key readers and asking.

    If you aren’t reaching goals try posting more frequently. If you start seeing a high attrition rate of subscribers try changing up the content, its format or frequency.

  7. Great post Jolina. There’s a lot to be gained by having a good understanding of Google Analytics…it’s not just a stat counter!

  8. Good, solid round up of tips!

  9. #3 is great advice. We have moved away from using Broad match on any accounts. Phrase match works great but using exact match with the conversion optimizer (if search volume is high enough) has been great to our clients.

  10. Avatar Frank Smythe says

    OK article but what makes Search remarkable and relevant tomorrow?

    All of us, ALL OF US, set our expectations on what works based on personal experience and what delivers value. In the old economy, it was about style – making your average product for average people appear to be something special. In the new economy it’s words like friction, authenticity, transparency, relevance, immediacy, etc. that set our expectations. Think about this – why are Facebook and Twitter and Amazon so wildly successful? It has nothing to do with style – You could argue Facebook and Twitter are actually ugly – it’s all about user experience. Can I accomplish what I want to accomplish with the least amount of friction and derive the greatest amount of value in return for my investment (time and effort)? Technology is cheap and the “social model” is well understood at this point. So, how will a company like yours – so heavy on style (flash and creative) – hold up against a cheaper, leaner, more efficient, lower friction alternative.

    In other words what makes your company’s search tactics…remarkable?

    Let me know.