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Simple Search Engine Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

By Adeline Teoh

2 min read

For any business with an online presence, search engine marketing (SEM) can be extremely helpful when done right or a costly waste of time when mismanaged. Here are some common SEM mistakes that businesses often make and how to avoid them.

1. Not Understanding the Terminology

Don’t know the difference between a ‘cost per action’ and a ‘cost per click’? Avoid paying for services you don’t understand by learning SEM terminology. This will help you fine-tune your campaign and optimise your marketing spend.

2. Competing with Yourself

Good search engine optimisation will give you solid organic results and SEM optimises your online advertising. Many people don’t understand the difference or the relationship between the two, which often means search engine results feature their business as the top organic result as well as the top ad. Effectively, they’re paying to compete with themselves.

If you have good SEO results for certain words, consider using your SEM budget on a campaign to increase engagement for search terms that aren’t receiving as many organic hits to maximise your spend.

3. Giving Customers the Wrong Impression

If your ad takes customers to a product that’s totally different to what they were searching for, a landing page that’s difficult to navigate, or a site that doesn’t load properly, it’s worse than having no ad at all. Giving customers the wrong impression up-front has the potential to damage your brand beyond the bad click.

Make sure your ad is as engaging as possible and leads through to a landing page that works. Also, align the ad to the search terms you’ve bid on so you don’t waste customers’ time (and your money) by luring them to a particular page under false pretences.

4. Advertising at the Wrong Time

If you’re trying to convert clicks to visits but your ads run outside of your trading hours, then that’s wasted money. If a popular item is out of stock while your SEM campaign brings in more orders for it, you’ll disappoint those buyers. Identify the best times to advertise and adjust your SEM campaign accordingly to bring in customers when you can serve them best.

5. Not Changing your Campaign

Are you bidding on words that no longer have the traction they used to? SEM needs to be tweaked to accommodate changes in the way people search as well as adjusted to better your competitors. If you set and forget, you’re paying for what might have been good traffic yesterday but doesn’t work today.

Search engine marketing welcomes beginners but is hard to master, so make sure you start savvy by avoiding these common mistakes today.


Information may be abridged and therefore incomplete. This document/information does not constitute, and should not be considered a substitute for, legal or financial advice. Each financial situation is different, the advice provided is intended to be general. Please contact your financial or legal advisors for information specific to your situation.

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