Search Engine Marketing Top Tips

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This week we’re going to explore how Search Engine Marketing can help your dive center increase the number of leads and bookings you get.

We’ll discuss possible campaign structure and bidding strategies, some suggested Ad Copy writing techniques and other top tips.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) basically refers to Google Search Ads, but it can also include Bing Ads – you can automate Bing so that it replicates any changes you’ve made in Google Ads.

SEM is a method to get to the top 4 places in Google Search results. It can be a very effective marketing technique if you know what you’re doing, it can also be a costly mistake if you don’t.

The basic principle of SEM is that you bid on Keywords that are relevant to your business. These Keywords have a Cost Per Click (CPC), as the name suggests every time a person clicks on these Ads you pay Google the CPC. We’ll discuss how you can lower the CPC later.


Keywords or words or phrases that are relevant to your Business. Such as PADI Dive Center, PADI Courses, PADI Open Water Course, Fun Dives, IDC etc. There are 4 ways in which you can set up Keywords.

Broad Match – We don’t recommend using this one as it’s so broad that you’ll end up with lots of irrelevant clicks. Eg “PADI Courses”, would trigger the Ad to be shown if “PADI” or “Courses” are used in the search query. Do you really want to show for Yoga Courses or Cooking Courses?

Broad Modified Match –  With this match type, it requires all the keywords to be present in the search query, but in any order. E.g. +PADI +Courses, would trigger Ads for PADI Diving Courses or PADI Open Water Courses.

Phrase Match – This requires the search term to include the keywords in the order that you define them. “PADI Courses” – would trigger Ads for Open Water PADI Courses or PADI Courses in Bali.

Exact Match – As the name suggests, the search term has to match exactly to what you are targeting. So, [PADI Courses} will only trigger for PADI Courses and nothing else

Close Variants – Google will also use close variants to the keywords that you have set-up so  the words “Course” and “Courses” don’t need to be set-up separately.

Negative Keywords – These are crucial to make your campaign cost effective and to improving your Return On Investment.  When you add negative keywords, it means search terms that include any of those keywords will be automatically excluded. E.g. Free is always a good idea to use as negative keyword.

It’s important to check your search terms report, which shows you the actual terms people used before clicking on your ad, in order to identify additional keywords that you want to add to your negative keyword list as well as identifying other potential keywords that you want to add to your campaign.


Quality Score & How To Lower Your Cost Per Click

Gooogle ranks each of your Keywords by giving it a Quality Score (QS). This is a score out of 10, and has a dramatic effect on how much you pay per click (PPC), see the table for an estimate of the prices increases or descreases based on QS. So how do you improve your QS?


1. Click-Through Rate: Biggest component 

The more users click on your ad, the more Google rates that your Ad and offering is relevant to the search terms used.  Take the time to split test different Ad Copies, thinking about what your customers are looking for and write compelling relevant Ad Copies.

It’s also critical to split up your keywords into a large number of Ad Groups. If someone is searching for Open Water Courses, you want to fire them an Ad that includes that specific offering, rather than a generic one about PADI Courses.

A useful tip to improve the CTR with your ads is to utilize ad extensions. These can play a huge role in improving the CTR of ads, so it’s no surprise that Google rewards advertisers who have CTR-boosting extensions.

2. Relevancy: Second largest component

Relevancy of keywords to the ads, as well as ad relevancy to the users’ search query, is also an important factor in your quality score. Google determines relevance by analyzing the language and context of an ad and query, determining how well it relates to the keyword.

Google places focus on the relevancy of keywords so that only useful ads are displayed to users. This also prevents advertisers from paying their way to the top of search results for unrelated products or services.

Ensure that the keywords that you are targeting are used in some way or another within the ad copy, as well as the copy on the website. This will help boost the relevancy of your keywords.

3. Landing page quality: Third largest component

Where you send them on your website and how long they spend there is critical for this third component. If they searched for Open Water Courses, and you send them to the home page, rather than the specific page on your website that deals with Open Water, Google will mark you down as the user has a lower experience of the website. The page you send them to should have the keywords you’re targeting, should be quick to load, and designed to convert your visitors into customers.

Take your visitors to the most relevant page on your site or directly to a custom made landing page. Monitor the bounce rates and time on-site to gauge how your users are interacting with your content.


Use as many extensions as you can. Google won’t always show all extensions, the more you have set-up then the more likely you are to gain additional real estate on the Google search page. Do you use all of these extensions?

Bidding Adjustments

Another way to improve you cost per lead, is to dig deep into your campaign to really start to understand who converts, using what device, and when.

Using the various reports in Google Ads allows you to understand if a lead is more likely to come from a mobile, tablet or a desktop computer. Which day of the week are people more likely to enquire? What countries or even cities are your leads coming from? What’s the demographic profile?

It’s also important to understand where you’re spending money and not getting a return. Google allows you to put positive and negative bidding adjustments, based on a %. Although you can no longer technically exclude via bidding adjustments, in effect putting a -90% bid adjustment on a keyword will exclude it.

Just remember that each bid adjustment has a cumulative effect when combined. So bidding +20% on a Tuesday and +20 Mobile, means that you’re bidding +40% on the CPC you set originally.

  • Days of the week
  • Times of the day
  • Mobile
  • Tablet
  • Desktop
  • Geographical Area
  • Gender
  • Income Bracket
  • Age
  • Call