Best practices for SEM agencies

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Search engine marketing managers at agencies manage millions of keywords across dozens of clients every day.

They do this using Excel spreadsheets and some basic math calculations, typically applying intuition, best practices and some Excel rules to optimize bids. Optimizing against all the variables of cost, revenue, traffic and estimated profits using Excel for such a large number of keywords and connecting with the search engines in real time is a nearly impossible task. It is equally difficult for automated algorithms to predict sudden changes in the marketplaces, such as a sudden surge in traffic because of an unexpected event. Only a well-organized process can catch this surge and remedy it quickly.

Therefore, striking a balance between process and automation is essential to a successfully managed account.

Let's start with the critical SEM process. The focus should be on better understanding your client's needs and expectations, learning more about your client's business and establishing a regular line of communication with them. It's important to ensure they have access to the right performance data in a format that explains performance fluctuations.

On the automation side, drop the Excel sheets and consider teaming up with a search marketing management platform provider. In selecting a provider, find out if they can support bid, creative, keyword and landing-page management from one place. This will provide you with total control and immediate, comprehensive transparency into how your clients are doing against their key performance Indicators. The team's focus should be on strategy, creative development and tuning and exploring new avenues to generate traffic for your customers, not on tedious Excel work. Following are other important areas SEM teams should consider:

  • Establish how conservative or aggressive your client wants to be in terms of time, budget and performance metrics.
  • Make certain your campaigns are uniform across search engines. This will ensure that performance comparisons and data can be used to optimize across engines and eliminate the need to convert.
  • Ensure your campaigns are well ordered to match your client's products and services, connected with the right landing pages and in line with your client's unique positioning.
  • Confirm campaign settings are established for budget, language, country, local and network options, such as search, content and mobile.
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