How Businesses Are Using SEM The Wrong Way With These Common Top 5 SEM Advertising Mistakes

To piggy back off of our popular How to Use SEO the Wrong Way article, I wanted to continue writing on the search results page and what we've seen.

SEM Advertising in search results

(Image source: Search Engine Land)


Getting Started with your business' Google Adwords or Bing AdCenter account can be daunting and fun at the same time. However, if you do not set it up correctly, you may be in a world of hurt and empty pockets as its extremely easy to see your ads get clicks from people who are not interested in your services at all. You may just be attracting people who are bored and looking to click around the internet. It doesn't hurt them at all, but it can hurt you a ton.

Here are the top 5 most common SEM mistakes we see.

1) Driving All SEM Advertising Traffic To Your Website's Homepage


One of the first mistakes that we've seen is directing all SEM traffic to your homepage. While your homepage is a great place to start for new visitors to your website, it might not be the best place to drive your traffic. With people able to hit the back button and change their search query easily, you want to ensure that you are sending them to the right pages, for the right search phrases. Don't kill your relevancy score by sending everyone to a single page.

 2) Setting All SEM Bids Super High

We understand that getting top result on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) is a top priority for some, but that can get expensive. It's great to see your ad at the top of the page, but if it's not doing what that ad should be doing (a.ka. bringing in additional revenue for your business) then should it really be there?


Time and time again, businesses only want their websites to show up in position 1. People on the other hand tend to look around on the SERP and will click on the link, or ad, that looks most like what they are looking to learn about, sign up for more information, or buy. You could be getting more clicks at a more efficient rate, but instead you are over inflating the market and your spending.

3) Controlling Your SEM Advertising Campaigns With Only Budget 

Controlling your ad campaigns with only budget is not an effective or efficient way to run your campaign. Building off of Setting All Bids Super High, you will find that you run out of budget really REALLY fast.


When your campaign is set to bid high, so as to get the #1 top position, your ads stop appearing before the end of the day. That means that you miss out on critical clicks that could have translated into new customers and sales. 

4) Not Setting Efficiency Metrics 

Where would we be if we didn't set goals? From going from 20 push ups to 30, how do we know that we are doing well or improving? The same should be considered for your SEM Advertising initiatives - how do you know it's doing well, or is it just being a budget hog?


There are two easy efficiency metrics that you could use to track your efficiency. Cost Per Click or CPC is one where you can measure how much you wish to pay for a click and how much value you place on achieving that click. Another (and one the sales teams really enjoy) is Cost Per Action or CPA. CPA is great if your website has items on it such as newsletters to sign up for, or products to buy on your site. That way, the ad campaigns cannot exceed the cost of the products you sell - otherwise, you are paying more for each person buying your product VS the money coming in from those efforts.

5) Not Taking Advantage of New Ad Additions 

Are you aware of all the new ad technologies that are out there? What percent of users are coming to your site from mobile and what is your mobile bid adjustment set at such that you capture them at the most efficient rate? And how are your enhanced site links performing?


Every year, the search engines are coming up with new ways to improve the way that your ads are shown. With so many new ways coming out, using the the wrong way can send your campaigns into inefficiencies. You need an agency that will be able to understand the best ways of advertising online that can be applied to your business.

If you are noticing any of these errors plaguing your SEM Advertising campaign? If so, contact us today so we can get your business additional website visitors/ customers and do so efficiently!

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