7 Common SEM Mistakes to Avoid (And How to Fix Them)

A successful search engine marketing (SEM) campaign can help your business get the exposure it needs to raise brand awareness in an instant. Unlike search engine optimisation (SEO), SEM can give you instant web visibility by posting your ads on search engine results pages.


However, while it is an excellent way to attract customers, drive traffic, and gain leads, an SEM campaign is not guaranteed to help you reach your goals. Like SEO, you need to work your way up for the SEM campaign of your company to become successful. Most of all, you must be aware of the many errors and blunders when it comes to SEM.


Whether it is your first time creating an SEM strategy or not, you are always at risk of making a few SEM mistakes. That is why it is crucial to study the ins and outs of SEM before you implement your digital marketing strategy right away. 


The rewards of a successful SEM campaign are worth your hard work. Unlike SEO, you can get quick results and exposure for your business. With that said, it is better to be safe than sorry by preparing yourself for the worst.


Here are some of the SEM mistakes that you could encounter when creating an SEM campaign.





1. Not Enhancing Your Website

The purpose of setting up your paid ads is to get more clicks and drive traffic to your website. The problem, however, is that some people focus more on their ads that they often forget to enhance their website!


When launching an SEM campaign for your company, remember to design your website and enhance its performance. Doing so would help improve the user experience of the potential customers visiting your website. 


Factors such as aesthetic visuals, site navigation, and site speed can affect a person’s impression of your website. That is why as much as possible, you should keep your site up to date with high-quality content and a smooth interface that lets users navigate through your website with ease.


2. Not Using Expensive Keywords

When creating an SEM campaign, most business owners think the cheapest keywords for their ads can help them save money. Contrary to that—doing so would not give the results they need to get more clicks and traffic.


Instead of using the cheapest keywords alone, try to diversify your digital marketing strategy by mixing your paid ads with both cheap and expensive keywords to get the best possible results for your SEM campaign. You should know that some keywords are costly because they have the highest chances of attracting visitors, driving traffic, and getting clicks.

The more expensive the keyword, the higher the chances of you gaining leads. That means more and more people would be able to see your SEM campaign in their search engine results pages (SERPs). Thus, use such keywords to your advantage and take a risk. After all, the rewards are worth the price if your ads reach your target audience.


3. Not Using Negative Keywords

Even though negative keywords sound bad, they are not as bad as you think they are. The truth is, using negative keywords on your SEM campaign can help you attract more customers, drive traffic to your website and gain leads. 


But what exactly are negative keywords?


The only difference is that it allows you to exclude search terms from your digital marketing campaigns and focus on only the keywords that are important to your customers.


For example, if you sell whisky and the search terms that your target market use is ‘how to drink whisky’, ‘whisky mixer, the negative keywords you should add in your SEM campaign should be: how to drink and not how to drink scotch whisky or mixer and not whisky mixer. 


If you use otherwise, there will be fewer people to be able to see your SEM campaign. That is why when choosing and using negative keywords, adjust the match type so it would become more visible in SERPs.


Here are the tools you can use to search for negative keywords.


  • Keyword Frequency Finder 
  • Negative Keyword Pro 
  • SEMrush/Ahrefs 


READ MORE: Types of SEM Services in Singapore


4. Not Making An Engaging Call To Action

A call to action (CTA) is what you use to encourage your readers and nudge them to decide on the SEM campaign of your company. A simple yet effective CTA is enough to help you gain leads. Without it, your paid ads will lose a significant portion of their value.


Here are just a few examples of a CTA:


  • For generic purposes – Learn More, See More, See How, Start, Find Out, Check it Out, Click here, Continue or Read On
  • For ecommerce campaigns – Buy, Shop, Order, Reserve, Save, Add to Cart, Pick, View More


To create a CTA, focus on creating content for your audience and offer them something enticing. For instance, you could insert “learn more” into your meta description so your readers will get motivated to click on your SEM campaign. 


Just make sure to use the least obvious approach as much as possible, or else you might discourage your audience from clicking on your SEM campaign.


5. Not Using Ad Extensions

Google is one of the best marketing tools for many reasons, and one of them is that you can use Google Ads for SEM. Google Ads, formerly known as Google AdWords, will let you enhance your ads by using ad extensions. Use the right extension for your SEM campaigns so you can reach your target audience in no time.


With many ad extensions available, it would be a waste not to use any of them for your paid ads. So, consider visiting Google’s support centre to know how to enhance your SEM campaign by using ad extensions.


ALSO READ: How To Create A Successful SEM Campaign?


6. Not Minding the Default Google Ads Settings

Another SEM mistake that you must avoid is overlooking the default Google Ads settings. You can tweak the default setting whenever you run a campaign so you can reach your goal much faster. 


That is why if you want more people to see the SEM campaign you made for your company, you have to make sure that you tick the right boxes according to your goal.


Listed below are things you should consider tweaking on Google Ads settings:


  • Networks
  • Location
  • IP Exclusions


7. Not Evaluating Your Performance

The efficiency of your paid ads will depend on your keywords and target audience. You must use the right keywords on your SEM campaign to send them to the right audience. Doing so will help you enhance the performance of your SEM campaign.


Some people, however, always forget to evaluate the performance of their SEM campaigns. As such, their SEM expenses increase without them noticing. 


As a responsible business owner, you should avoid this at all costs. To do so, you should often analyse your performance to see how well your ads are doing.


Keep in mind that your Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is crucial for determining the performance of your ads. Therefore, make sure to review your ads based on each KPI so you can enhance your SEM campaign and know which keywords are best for your paid ads.


If you do not know how to evaluate the performance of your SEM, consider asking an SEM agency in Singapore. Since it is currently dominating the digital marketing landscape, many SEM experts can lend you a hand. 


LEARN MORE: SEM Agency In Singapore – How To Choose The Right SEM Agency For Your Business


The success of your SEM campaign for your company depends on your hands. If you learn how to avoid these SEM mistakes, the rest of your digital marketing strategy will also succeed.


For more tips and tricks about digital marketing, SEM or SEO, you can read our blog or reach out to our SEM services in Singapore. Contact OOm at 6391-0930 and let us know about your inquiries.