Search Marketing (SEM): Beginners Guide

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Have you recently heard about search marketing (SEM)? Or do you need to sharpen your knowledge on the subject? In this guide, we share with you extensive information that allows you to create a cash machine using search marketing.


Chapter 1: What is Search Marketing?

Chapter 2: Google Adwords

Chapter 3: Search Marketing on Google 2018

SEM Guide for Beginners

Chapter 1: What is Search Marketing?

Search marketing is part of digital marketing and comes from the “Search Engine Marketing”, which is also usually shortened to SEM.

For us, search marketing works just as the word describes – to market with the help of text ads on search engines. However, today, many words associate with Google Adwords and all the ad formats and web ads they offer.

But what’s the difference between search engine optimization and search marketing? So with search engine optimization, you compete with other sites in the organic search result. This is a longer term work that requires both technical efforts, but also a lot of content.

Search marketing, on the other hand, is about purchased ads in search engines like Google and Bing. Given that Google is the most popular search engine, we will focus on Google in this guide.

You have probably encountered paid ads when you searched for something on Google.


Chapter 2: Google Adwords

As we mentioned earlier, many today associate SEM with Google Adwords and all the ad formats and web ads they offer. Therefore, in this chapter, we thought we’d deepen in Adwords and its various ad formats.


First and foremost – what is a web ad?

A web ad is (according to me) an ad space where a company can be seen with either text, image and / or video. According to Wikipedia, web ads mean the following:

“A web ad, advertisement box or banner [a] (plural: banners; after English banner is an advertising advertisement that appears on web pages. It is one of the main sources of income for publications on the Internet. A webpage often appears above or next to the news material and may consist of text, image or animation. ”

Different web ads and their formats

  • Text ads
  • Image ads
  • Moving ads
  • video ads

Text ads

Text ads are the most common type of web ads. It’s also those that appear above the organic search result when you do a search on Google or other search engines:

Google Ads

Image Ads / Banner Ads

Unlike text ads that are only visible in search results, image and banner ads can be viewed on multiple millions of websites:

Google display ads banner ads


A banner often occurs at the top of a webpage, but it may also appear on the page or further down the web page. Some sites also offer so-called “take overs”. Then it pops up a webpage on the entire site, and in some cases you need to manually shut down the banner to proceed.


Video ads

Video ads are just as it sounds – Ads using videos. Through Adwords, these ads can be featured on YouTube, but also on the rest of the web.


What is Google Adwords then?

As you may already know or understood at this point, Google Adwords is a platform for creating different web ads.


Start a new Google Adwords account

Now that you’ve got a closer look at what Google Adwords is and what types of web ads that can be created through the platform, we’d like to tell you how to do it in practice. 

To begin with, you should register with a gmail address . When you do this you go to Adwords . Then follow this list to create your Google Adwords account:

  • Click New Account and enter the name to be visible. (this can be changed then). Then create account.
  • Button: Click create your first campaign
  • Create Campaign: Enter a name for your new campaign.
  • Type of campaign: Can choose default or all features. (Recommends all features)
  • Geography: The next thing you need to fill in is what geographic location you want your ad to appear on.
  • Language: Recommended languages ​​are ex- English.
  • Bidding: There are a few different options but for the beginner but I recommend manual CPC.
  • Default bid: It’s the maximum amount you want to pay for a click. This can be adjusted later.
  • Budget: The actual budget / day.
  • Ad Extensions: There are different extensions that you can add to your web ad. For example. sitelinks and phone extensions.
  • Then click Save and Continue.

Ad Groups in Google Adwords

Tip: When creating a new campaign in Google Adwords, I recommend starting from the menu structures on the web page. Then you keep the structure and it will be easier to set up the campaign.

If the menu on the site looks like this:

First level: Male

Second level Jackets

Third level: Everyday jacket, scarf jacket, hiking jacket

So I recommend designing the campaign as follows:

Campaign: Company Name

Ad Group 1: Everyday Jacket

Ad group 2: shell jacket

Ad Group 3: hiking jacket

When you assume the structure of the website, it will be easier not to float away.

Return to the ad group

The first thing to do is enter a landing page for the ad group. To the landing page, the user arrives after clicking on the text ad. Then create a name for the ad group according to the wizard above. Enter the keywords that match the ad group. If the ad group is called everyday jacket, you should include keywords that are about everyday jackets. You will also get keyword suggestions from Google and an estimate of the number of searches per month. (This is something that has been updated very recently)

Keywords and Matches

Keep in mind that Google Adwords has different matches on their keywords. You may become visible on a few different search phrases depending on which match you choose. See explanation below.

Vardagsjacka = wide matched variant and here you can basically become visible on virtually anything that has to be done with jacket.

“Lifestyle jacket online” = phrase matched variant and this phrase needs to be included for the ad text to appear. The ad text can not be seen if you add more words.

+ Living jacket + online = broad matched keyword with modification. Here you can become visible on several different search phrases, but the basic phrase must always be included in some way.

[Everyday Jacket] = Exact matched keywords that only make you look for everyday jackets.

Summarization: Broad-matched keywords give you more spread and can be seen on multiple search phrases and find new, good keywords. While precisely matched keywords are more specific and you get a closer look at the keywords and exposure.

Click Continue to Ads

Now you’ll create your first web and text ad in Google Adwords. The first thing you do is to enter the final text ad URL. The next step will be to fill in Box 1, Heading 2, path (for visual purposes only) and description. When done, click create ad.

Then press; save and complete. Now you’ve created your first campaign, ad group, and keywords in Google Adwords. Now you just fill in billing information and you’ll do it under the gear in the top right. Then the campaign will start automatically.

For those who are used to and creating many ads, I recommend downloading the Google Adwords Editor. Adwords editor greatly facilitates the creation of larger campaigns.


Chapter 3: Search Marketing on Google 2018

Since you now get a better idea of ​​what SEM is, what types of web ads are available, and how to proceed to create these in Google Adwords, we thought in this chapter to review some of the recent updates recently in AdWords, as well as helpful tips on how to succeed with search marketing in 2018.

AdWords “new” user interface

If you used to go to search marketing and use Google AdWords, you probably have not been able to miss the “new” user interface. I’m saying “new” because Google announced this interface already in March 2016. However, it was not at the end of 2017 that this update became available to all AdWords users.

Google Adwords AI

When Google announced this new look, it was described as “the most powerful change made for advertisers visualizing and managing their campaigns for over 15 years.”

Exactly what new features added and how to find in the new interface deserve a very own guide. What I think is most significant and remarkable with the new look, however, is how much better overview you get over your campaigns.


Assisted Conversions

One of the new updates I find among the most useful is the ability to see how some ads have assisted conversions.

With the new updates, you can easily see how some campaigns, ad groups, and even keywords have assisted conversions. This applies to both search and ad network ads. Something that allows you to make more informed decisions when optimizing your ads.

To check which of your ads as Assisted Conversions, select Tools> Search Allocation> Conversions> Assisted Conversions.


Days for conversion

Once you’ve implemented conversion tracking, it’s important to understand how long it takes customers who click your ad to complete the goal you set up. Sometimes conversion takes place quickly, within one day, while in other cases it may take several weeks.

With a new update you also have the opportunity to do just that. To see how many days it takes for conversion, select the desired campaign or ad group. Then choose Segment> Conversions> Days for Conversion.


AMP ads and landing pages

As we mentioned in many of our earlier posts, mobile phones are becoming increasingly important for search engines as more and more searches are made via the mobile phone.

As a result, Google introduced 2016 so-called AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) landing pages in the organic search results. This was done to speed up the charging time of those who visit a web page from a mobile device.

Earlier this year, you also announced that you are now introducing AMP pages as landing pages for your search ads. Below you can see a comparison of load time on a landing page using AMP and one that does not:

With this, you also announced that you begin to download ads displayed on the Display Network using the same technology that makes AMP pages so fast. Below you can see comparison:

Tests have shown that ads in the display network shown in the new AMP ad format upload up to 5 seconds faster than the usual ads. By using this new format, it is ensured that your ads are seen.


ad Rotation

With the right rotation of your ads, you’ll be more likely to show your best ads to people who are looking for what you have to offer. By the end of September, Google introduced two new ad rotation settings:

  • Optimize – Show ads that give better results the most
  • Rotate indefinitely

Thanks to the optimisation setting, you can easily improve the performance of your ads and search marketing. To access this setting, simply select the desired campaign or ad group> Settings> Ad Exchange> Optimize.

Reviewing all updates that have been or will be made in Google AdWords would be impossible, but in any case, we hope that you will get a little better glance at some of the new updates. And how you can use these to better manage your search marketing.

If you want to stay up to date with the latest updates in Adwords, check out New AdWords features.



Congratulations! You have now reviewed our search marketing guide, which means that you should have basic knowledge about SEM. We hope that you have already started creating your own web ads and using the tips you learned in this guide to create a cash machine using search marketing.

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