Today’s article on How to make the most of your SEM campaigns for eCommerce is brought to you by Laura Sánchez-Crespo – Head of Strategic Partnerships & Account Manager at Clever ecommerce.

Let’s welcome Laura in our blog, and learn from her invaluable experience!

Search Engine Marketing, Paid Online Advertising, Pay-per-click… Why is it useful for eCommerce owners?

Search engine marketing is growing at a faster rate than any other mean of traditional advertising. It has become the most efficient way to grow and advertise in a complex business environment in where companies compete for the same public. There are many tools for performing SEM depending on which platform you want to advertise: Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, etc.

Paid online advertising’s unique and main advantage is that it targets ads to individuals already motivated to purchase certain products based on their search history, proving to be a profitable and useful tactic for businesses.

How does it work? Is there a way somebody else do the work for you?

You pay for your ads to show up alongside results potential customers see when they search for keywords related to your business. You are basically purchasing your online market share. These ads are called pay-per-click ads, as you pay for every click your ad received, whether or not there is a purchase in the end. There is a wide variety of shapes and sizes for these ads, some meant for visual display, while others serve to provide useful information (price, reviews, etc.).

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It is important to identify the most relevant keywords potential customers would use to search for you and your products or services. Identifying the keywords and setting PPC campaigns is very time-consuming, so if you want to develop a quality and profitable campaign you should take your time for building it and optimize it often. The online e-Commerce environment is continuously changing and you will need to be prepared to react to them.

 If you do not count with enough time or experience to develop successful online advertising strategies, do not worry! There is some people who can take care of that for you. For instance, Clever Ecommerce builds Google advertising campaigns for e-Commerce, from generating the keywords to optimizing the campaigns and adjusting the bids. It does all the work! This way you will not need to be an expert or to spend time on it. These kinds of tools are very useful for beginners to manage their online ads strategy and learn easily, without dedicating much time to it.

 Whether you design the whole strategy or use some services that do the work for you, the bidding process does not change. When you “buy” your keywords, you are actually bidding for them, entering into the competition: the Ads Auction.

How do I win the Ads Auction?

Not every keyword you bid for will show up. They should have enough commercial intent in order to be displayed as a search result. Every platform has its methods, but all of them are based on similar parameters to decide which Ads will appear and in which order. For instance, Google’s decision is based on a “quality score” and your bids: how much you are willing to pay per click. The “quality score” is very important as it can make your ad reach a higher ad position at a lower cost.

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The quality score depends on several factors, including the following:

  • Your click-through rate (CTR)
  • The relevance of each keyword to its ad group
  • Landing page quality and relevance
  • The relevance of your ad text
  • Your historical AdWords account performance

Top PPC Tips for eCommerce owners

1. Avoid Keyword Inflation: Test – Analyze – Optimize – Repeat

The click-through rate is very important here because it serves as an indicator to Google that users consider your ad relevant and your web page useful. As a result, your ad will be more relevant and will be positioned higher in ad ranking at a lower cost.

You should not think that having more keywords is always the best strategy. Continually monitor your keywords, making note of which ones are not bringing traffic to your site and removing those from your list. Of course you should always try to bid on new keywords you think might be used by potential buyers, but adding possible goldmine keywords can reduce your market share, as your budget is finite and has to be distributed among all your keywords. More general keywords are typically more expensive and don’t bring the conversions necessary to make up for the ad money spent. Narrow your target market and use more specific keywords that will lead to more clicks and conversions.

Paid search advertising produces quick responses, which allows for trial and error when testing certain keywords. Basically, you can addSome account managers and business owners think their ad spending is not useful or cost-effective, even if their campaigns are producing conversions. Implementing the following changes can increase your market share without modifying your PPC budget. This way you can reach a higher number of clicks, conversions and sales!

Research new keywords on Monday, check the results on Thursday and improve your keywords on Friday.

2. Invest time in organizing your Ad Groups

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Some campaigns have extremely large Ad Groups, which leads to low quality scores and positioning, as you would show ads with more than one product. For instance, you cannot advertise for both high heels and tennis shoes in the same ad. These problems derived from vague ad copy are time-consuming, but very easy to fix.

Investing time in the correct organization of your Ad Groups by creating small, homogeneous groups is advantageous to businesses. The more effort exerted, the more targeted ad copies will be, making it much easier for potential customers to find what they are searching for.

3. Pay attention to your URL structure

If you have any broken or incorrect links, Google will reject your ads and they won’t show up. You should always make sure the links in each ad work and land on a specific page where you are selling the specific product listed. Redirecting your ads to your home page is not recommended, as people will have to navigate and search to find the specific product, costing them time and causing many to abandon their search.

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4. Use Broad Match carefully

Broad Match allows you cover more search queries as it includes misspellings, plurals and other variants automatically, resulting in a wider audience. You should use it carefully, however, because you could be stealing traffic from other ad groups by overlapping and it the can take away from your advertising budget, causing you lose out on other potentially lucrative keywords.

 Back to the high heels example, if you are wanting to sell high heels you probably don’t want to receive clicks from people who are searching for trainers, sandals or boots, as these people are not potential clients.

5. Don’t be afraid to use negatives!

Negative keywords are ones chosen to specifically not show your page when searched, preventing irrelevant clicks that would not lead to conversions. By using negative keywords, you will improve your CTR, conversion rate and quality score! Remember, an advanced use of negatives makes the difference in terms of average and expert search marketers.

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6. Don’t believe everything your competitors do

Sometimes following competitor’s strategies may seem like a good idea, after all, it is working for them. Before doing so, consider how your goals and objectives differ from the competition and use that difference to your advantage. You should also take into account that each keyword is a different battlefield with its own competitors, that can be direct, indirect or even not in your competitor’s interest at all: you do not compete in terms of your products and services but in terms of your keywords. Mistakenly copying them can harm your ROI and budget, and can distract you from what is important and profitable for you.


To sum it up, there are some things you should keep in mind as an e-Commerce owner when “playing the keywords’ game”. First, the secret to improving your online marketing share is not to increase your keyword count, but to find the keywords that mean the most to your business. You should also dedicate time to test and optimize strategies; find anomalies that could be fixed or improved as the payoffs will be well worth it. In the end, you should define the online marketing strategy that is the best fit for you and your business and make continuous changes to improve.

However, if you do not have enough time or experience, and need some help at the beginning, you have other alternatives so others do the work for you. Sometimes it is as easy as downloading an application like Clever Adwords.

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We feel honoured to have Laura’s insights featured in our blog, and we are incredibly thankful for the knowledge she has shared with us.

Laura Sánchez - Crespo

About the author: This post is brought to you by Laura Sánchez-Crespo – Head of Strategic Partnerships & Account Manager at Clever ecommerce and a frequent blogger at Clever ecommerce blogIn Clever ecommerce blog we talk about SEO, SEM, & related e-commerce strategies and tips.

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