Although Google Ads has been around for 20 years, many advertisers have continued to use the same PPC strategies they always have — resulting in an average conversion rate of only 4%. This used to be an acceptable standard, but not anymore. If your PPC tools and methods cost you 96% of your ad budget, then it might be time to rethink your strategy.

Below, this SEM agency in Chicago, Illinois is going to review four SEM best practices that have been shown to increase conversion rates and improve return on advertising spend, or “ROAS.”

1. Get rid of the “more clicks” mindset.

Ask any good SEM agency in Chicago, Illinois and they will tell you that adopting a conversion mindset is the first step toward a successful SEM strategy.

Given that digital marketing strategies are heavily driven by the networks selling ad space, it is not surprising that marketers’ primary goal is to get as many clicks as possible. However, they sometimes take what happens after the click for granted, which is why the average conversion rate is so low (4.10% on the search network).

When the focus is exclusively on maximizing clicks, you will most likely generate a few good leads and a lot of bad ones. And when 95.9% of paid clicks fail to convert, that’s a lot of money wasted.

Therefore, your SEM strategy should be focused on earning conversions — not just clicks.

2. Target the right keywords.

Focusing on conversions does not mean ignoring keywords; rather, it means targeting the right ones. Your goal should be to target as many high intent keywords as possible.

Long-tail keywords are relevant to fewer competitive businesses due to their narrow focus. As a result, they are generally less expensive — but they are also more likely to signal buying intent. Someone searching for a “Patek Philippe Nautilus Aquanaut,” for example, is more likely to buy than someone searching for an “Ultra-Luxury Watch.”

Targeting the right keywords will help you boost the relevance of your ads, improve your Quality Score, lower your cost per click or “CPC,” and maximize your conversions.

3. Personalize your SEM campaigns.

Many SEM agencies in Chicago design their paid search campaigns using a formulaic approach that supports features like dynamic keyword insertion (DKI), allowing them to create granular, highly targeted ads that scale easily. However, from a customer’s perspective, these ads can seem cold and clinical. And, unsurprisingly, customers prefer personalized experiences over keyword-stuffed ads.

How does this look in practice? Begin by sketching out a clear image of who your customers are. Segment your target audience based on information such as age, gender, income, geographic area, interests, purchase history, and so on.

The key is harnessing consumer data for personalization in a way that adds value to the customer experience. Personalizing your ad campaigns can increase your marketing spend efficiency by up to 30%.

4. Focus on regular testing and optimization.

Best practices will get you off to a good start, but they are not a replacement for testing. Even if you create seemingly flawless ads, you might be surprised at how far regular testing and optimization can push conversion improvements.

A/B Testing: A/B testing involves separating various variables and comparing one landing page design to another. You could, for example, A/B test two pages with different titles to determine which converts better.

Multivariate Testing: Multivariate testing involves testing changes to many page elements simultaneously to see how they interact with one another. Testing two different page titles, two header images, and two starting paragraphs, for example, would allow you to test six different page variants in total.

By constantly testing your post-click landing pages against different versions and implementing the results into new page designs, you will consistently boost your conversion rate while revealing insights that can be used in future SEM campaigns.

Looking for the Most Trusted SEM Agency in Chicago, Illinois?

Do you need help building and optimizing your SEM campaigns? Are you ready to partner with the top-rated SEM agency in Chicago, Illinois? If so, the SEM experts at Digital Destination can help. Contact us today to learn how we can optimize your SEM campaigns and drive conversions for your business.