How do you get your ad noticed in search engines? Here are eight search tips from AsiaPac Net Media's chief business officer Stella Cheung.1. Select relevant keywords to be associated with your adCommon types of keywords are brand names and names of spokespeople, generic words alluding to the products and services on offer and words relating to promotions."For example, if you are selling sneakers and the World Cup is coming up, or it relates to an ad hoc campaign, you might want to buy related words."As some keywords may be timely, the list of keywords have to be continually optimized to try and get it closer to the top in the list of ads shown when a user is searching for one of your chosen words."You have to keep optimizing the list of key words. Compared to a regular newspaper or outdoor advertising campaign, it’s more complicated because you have to keep changing the words over time as you launch different campaigns," said Cheung."There are more variables that you must decide on - how high up you are hope to get the ad out in, relevant words, how the ad is written, which page is the landing page and cross-media promotion."Cheung says whether the keywords you select will help your ad occupy a more prominent place depends on their relevance because search engines like Google and Yahoo have a quality score that measures how relevant the ad text are to the keywords input by the user.If the keywords are relevant, they may be shown in bold text or highlighted, which makes the ad more eye-catching to the user. Also, the more relevant the ad to the keywords input by the user, the more likely the user will click on it, meaning a higher-click through rate, increasing the chance that the ad will be placed higher up.2. Choosing more keywords is not necessarily betterThere is no limit on how many words you can ask the search engine to associate with your ad, as you only pay the search engine every time someone clicks on your ad.Cheung points out that linking your ad with irrelevant words is futile - if it is not related to your product or service, even if a user searches for those words, the ad will not show up on the first page and most people find what they need within the first two pages of search results.The other caveat is that irrelevant words would lower your ad's quality score.She said, "Imagine if you are selling wedding gowns, and then you choose words related to shoes because you want your ad to appear when someone searches for shoes. Google would notice that when the user is searching for shoes, the word is associated with your ad but your landing page has no mention of shoes and even when the ad shows up, no one clicks on it.""Your ad becomes a useless piece of information from the point of view of the search engine. The key words you choose have to be precise and accurately targeting the user you want - otherwise, it could affect the quality score of your entire account."3. Make full use of SEM ad extensions to add extra address and telephone number to optimize for mobileAt the bottom of Google ads, marketers can choose to insert an extra line for an address and telephone number."If you have your own store with a physical location, you should use the location extension by registering your business at Google Places and prove that the address is yours. The Google Places listing is free. This is particularly good for businesses with local services or those selling merchandise," said Cheung.She adds that a link to the address allows the user to easily search for the store in the Google Maps mobile apps, which lets them find the store easily on the go, especially when they are using their smartphone's GPS for navigation.Although there is a function for adding business photos and 360-degree panorama indoor maps for businesses in Google Maps, she says few of AsiaPac Net Media's clients have requested this.Adding a phone number also helps optimize the ad for mobile devices."The advantage of users reading your ad on mobile is they can call you straight away with the click-to-call function without having to input the telephone number," said Cheung.4. Create landing pages that mean content for the search engineThe landing page matters, where having text that relates to your desired keywords could make the world of difference in terms of relevance."For natural searches, the landing page matters. Can you load it on a mobile device? If it's a website made with Flash, it won't work for mobile and to the search engine's spider, there's basically no content because it doesn't know how to read it. Stick to the basics, such as HTML," said Cheung.She adds that landing pages affect the quality score of your ad along with the relevance of keywords and bidding, the latter which means paying more money to get an ad into a more prominent place. While relevance plays an important role for Google, and Yahoo and Bing, bidding has a heavier weighting for Chinese search engine Baidu.Cheung said, "You may need a bigger budget for Baidu, but you have to bear in mind that you are reaching out to a much larger customer base."5. Hard-sell ad text is mobile-friendly and acceptable for users who are already searching for your keywords“When would your ad appear? It's when the user is typing words that you have chosen, meaning that they are proactively looking for your brand, product or service," said Cheung.This is why although the typical SEM ad is text-based, its impact on the user lies in its relevance rather than its visual appeal, she argues.Cheung said, "With display ads, you can only guess who might see it and keep it targeted through the way it looks. Banner ads are good for branding and raising awareness. They may not need the product or service yet but striking graphics can grab their interest.""With SEM text ads, the most relevant people are already looking for words related to the ad so they already have the need."And the trick to keeping SEM ads mobile-friendly is simple: make sure the ad text is clearer and shorter than the version of the ad for desktop because smartphone screens are smaller and less text and fewer ads can be displayed at one time.6. Use SEM to supplement offline media that may be intermittently displayedCross-media promotional campaigns that involve SEM in the mix are useful if offline media such as static or TV ads fail only make a small dent in the prospective customer's mind."If you air a TVC that only lasts for 15 seconds, the viewer may only remember the names of the products or the brand name. They would think, 'I remember seeing this but I can't remember what it is.' Then what's the first thing they will do? Type words into a search engine," said Cheung."Offline media is not something you see all the time. When you have a user who just remembers a little something and they come to you through a search engine, you can show them what you have and help them remember. SEM can sometimes play the role of sustaining interest in cross-media campaigns."7. In-stream YouTube video ads are more suitable for mobile In-stream video ads, grouped into the TrueView family of ads by YouTube, play for at least five seconds before you can skip it to stream the video you originally wanted to watch on YouTube."YouTube's in-stream ads are better for reaching mobile users because most people use the native YouTube mobile app to watch videos on the go," said Cheung.8. How-to videos and micro movies are more effective than TVCsCheung said, "YouTube is the world's second biggest search engine that you can use to promote your videos. You can upload a video for free but in the vast ocean of videos, how do you get people to learn about your brand and products? Relevant keywords are also very important here."Content is the biggest factor affecting whether or not someone is interested in clicking on your video. Cheung says slapping a TVC onto YouTube can help build awareness but micro films, behind-the-scenes videos and video tutorials are more engaging to the user."A make-up tutorial might teach you how to create a certain look and it's a very soft form of product placement because when it looks really good on someone's face and the user likes the look and wants to re-create it, they would go and look for the product in the stores," she said."It's even better if a video uses annotations, which is where the video stops and the user can make a choice between a few options. This is a free feature on YouTube where if you select, say a certain look, it will skip straight to the tutorial just for that look. It engages users to interact and sells the products in a soft way."
Follow us on our Telegram channel for the latest updates in the marketing and advertising scene.
Get the daily lowdown on Asia's top marketing stories.
We break down the big and messy topics of the day so you're updated on the most important developments in Asia's marketing development – for free.subscribe now open in new window