3 SEM Strategies for Staying Ahead of the Curve

By: Amanda Short

“The world has changed.”

This opening statement by Google’s Director of Conversational Search, Behshad Behzadi, kicked off a week of exploring the future of search marketing at SMX West Conference in San Jose, CA.

The future of search is changing – and shifting to a mobile-first, user-centric strategy.

SMX Post

Here are 3 ways search engine marketers should evaluate their SEM strategy to stay ahead of the curve:

  1. Think Differently – Think Mobile.

In 2015, people conducted more searches on mobile than on desktop. While optimizing your campaigns for desktop is still important, don’t underestimate the power of mobile.

                Campaign Tactics:

  • Segment Reporting by Device: Work with your vendor to segment your campaign reporting by device and analyze the source of clicks from your ad. If a significant number of clicks can be tracked back to a mobile device, consider increasing your bid for searches on mobile devices.
  • Optimize Your Landing Page for Mobile: Make sure your landing page is mobile-friendly. When users click on your ad, is your call-to-action (CTA) just as accessible on your mobile device as it is if you were viewing your landing page on your desktop? If you have to endlessly scroll or hunt to find a click-to-call button or link to make an appointment, you can be sure your patients will not share your tenacity when trying to locate your CTA.

Don’t let a poor landing page be the reason your patients drop off in the conversion process. Work with HCA’s Web Support Team by submitting a Service Cart request (search for ‘dotCMS content request’) to make changes to your website and optimize your landing page for mobile.

  1. Be the Search Assistant for Your Patients

According to Behzadi, Google’s goal is to become “the ultimate assistant” for any user – to help you find “whatever you need, whenever you need, wherever you are.”

When determining your targeted keyword list for your campaign, think about user intent. The beauty of search marketing is having the ability to connect active searchers to your facility’s services when they need it most. Spend time thinking about why  someone would search for your selected keyword phrase and make sure you can effectively answer that question on your landing page.

Campaign Tactics:

  • Understand Your Searcher: Work with your vendor to analyze your keyword list – does it speak to the language of your patients? Are your keywords reflected in your landing page content? While stuffing your landing page with keywords is not a recommended Best Practice, make sure your keywords are naturally incorporated into your site to ensure your landing page is relevant to your ad – and most importantly, to your searcher.
  • Tap into The Long Tail: For top-performing (and more expensive) keywords, consider adding words to create a relevant keyword phrase and bidding on these related (less expensive) phrases, rather than devoting significant budget to bidding on more competitive keywords that would likely yield less ROI. Bidding on “long tail keywords” expand your keyword list and help you maximize bidding on terms similar to more competitive keywords.
  1. Don’t Forget It Takes Two: SEM + SEO

A clear theme at SMX was the symbiotic value of both paid and organic search – they should work together.

Campaign Tactics:

Make sure you are reviewing your site’s Google Analytic performance to see the full consumer journey. Work with our SEO and Content Optimization team to pull website performance and rankings reports. By analyzing your site performance, you can assess the effectiveness of your paid campaign and how well your website is performing in organic search.

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