SES NY | 6 Strategies for Superior SEM Results

By Lauren Kade | Mar 22, 2011
More Articles by Lauren

Today’s the first day of Search Engine Strategies Conference and Expo in New York!  I am so excited to be in the Big Apple and at my first SES conference.  I’ll be live blogging from the conference all week, and it looks like there are going to be some great sessions.

After a fascinating keynote from Duncan Watts of Yahoo!, my first session today is “6 Strategies for Superior SEM Results” with speakers Michael Mothner and Michael Stone from Wpromote Inc.  This session will cover PPC management, SEO, social media, and testing and conversion optimization.  It sounds pretty broad, but that’s a great way to get our toes wet here at the first session in the conference.

Strategy 1:  Always Test Everything

What Should We Test on a Landing Page?

  • headline
  • images
  • sub headlines
  • form fields
  • button

Why should we test?

What marketers think will convert is not always what will actually perform better.  And in today’s session, with attendees voting on which page would convert better, most of us were wrong!  For example, in one test of different buttons, 83.4% more people converted just because of different text in the button.  Look at what you can test on your page, and “ATE” – Always Test Everything!  You can’t always guess which version will convert better.

What Tools can you use?

  • Optimizely
  • Google Website Optimizer
  • Adobe Test & Target

Strategy 2:  Facebook Advertising

There are many differences between SEM and Facebook advertising:

  • People are not already searching for what you’re looking for.
  • People on Facebook may not want to leave to go to your site.
  • There’s a quick drop-off in CTR with Facebook ads.

How does the Facebook targeting work?

You can target people based on their interests, which is composed of pages they’ve “liked” with the like button, interests they’ve input into their profile, as well as status updates including those interest terms.


ATE!  You still want to test many different ad copy variations in Facebook.  Also, refresh your creative over time.  The ad click-through rate drops significantly in Facebook ads over just a few days old.  So you need to change your ads every few days to compete.


  • Facebook fan page
  • Website (such as like buttons on the homepage)
  • Facebook fan page with option to purchase (New!  Allows for users who don’t want to leave Facebook)

Strategy 3:  Infographics

Infographics are visually interesting and interactive ways to quickly communicate large amounts of data or information, specifically beneficial to link building.  When creating one, make sure the infographic is interesting so people will tweet, blog, and link back to your site.  It doesn’t necessarily even need to directly relate to what you do, since it will create quality links back to your site.

What makes a good infographic?

  • educational
  • humorous
  • controversial
  • newsworthy

How do you distribute it? First, create a page with the infographic, a little content about it, and a place where users can share the link.  Next, you can do an email blast, write a blog post about it, and just get it out there!

Strategy 4:  Quality Score

Ad Rank= Maximum Bid x Quality Score

So what is Quality Score?

Your measure of relevance.  Search engines want users to trust that the higher ads will be more relevant to what they’re searching for.  On a score of 1 to 10, 10 is the best quality score and will ultimately lead to lower cost per click and higher ad positions.  What goes into the quality score?

  • keyword relevance to the search query
  • landing page quality (navigation, credibility)
  • landing page load time
  • keyword click-through rate
  • ad click-through rate
  • account click-through rate
  • historical click-through rate of display URLs in the ad group

How can I improve the quality of my landing page?

  • depth of site
  • unique content
  • build trust (privacy policy, contact page, awards)
  • tightly focus your ad groups

Strategy 5:  SEO vs. Sales: The Battle of Content

SEO vs. Sales webpages.  SEO pages have a lot of content, but are not as user-friendly from the sales perspective.  But search engines don’t like sales-oriented pages that don’t have a lot of content, or have a lot of flash.  So how do you marry the two strategies?

Implement a blog!

  • try to create a new blog post every day
  • use 300+ words in every post
  • include goal keywords in title of blog post

Consider using an expandable text box.  These are text boxes with tons of content, that users can expand to show all of the content, that can help you put keywords on a content-lacking page.

  • use 300+ words
  • use primary keywords as the tab titles
  • make sure to have keywords every 100 words

Resources, FAQs, and industry glossaries also help create content on your site.  Additionally, you can include user generated content such as user comments.

Strategy 6:  How to Craft the Right Message

Ideally, we would tailor our sales pitches to each individual visitor to our websites.  Since that’s not a reality today, we can use segmenting or bucketing to segment users into different categories to better tailer your message.  Use what the users have told you: their search query!  If a user searches for a coupon, and your site doesn’t have a coupon, you should either make a coupon or not advertise on that search query.  Give them what they want.  If they want a page comparing your product to your competitor, you should create a page that specifically compares them.  You know that they’re in the market for your product, so you don’t want to miss those potential customers because they included the name of your competitor in the query.

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  • Lisa Kaslyn


    You take EXCELLENT notes. I know because I was trying to copy from you during the presentation! Great summary of a terrific session.

    Thank you!
    Lisa Kaslyn