One of the most tried and tested ways to reach your customers online and communicate your brand, product or service, is through using search engine marketing (SEM). This could be through paid marketing, such as display or search ads on Google, or through free organic search efforts, like writing blogs and content that’s search engine optimised (SEO).
If this is sounding like jargon to you so far, or perhaps you know a little about both SEM and SEO and are looking to create more impact - don’t worry, we’re here to help. The first place to start is to truly understand where your audience lives digitally and specifically what they’re searching for.
Fortunately, there are a number of tools available online to help make answering “what do my customers search for” simple and effective.
From the most basic tools to advanced options for marketing savvy people, we’ll outline some of the best tools available, how to use them and break down what search analytics mean, so you can supercharge your digital marketing efforts.
Before we dive into it, there are a few key terms to wrap your head around! If you already know the definition, feel free to jump straight to our best tools and tips.
Short for ‘Search Engine Optimisation’, SEO refers to the practice of continually improving and changing your ads and website to improve the chances of ranking in search engines. These optimisations can range from technical to simple copy changes and are based on recommended best practices.
SEM or ‘Search Engine Marketing’ is the act of using paid strategies to increase search visibility. These typically include the various forms of Google Advertising, such as search ads and display ads.
SERP stands for ‘Search Engine Results Page’, and refers to the web pages served to users when they search for something online using a search engine, such as Google. This is quite literally, the page that appears when you type in a google search term.
PPC or ‘Paid Per Click’ is one of the most common models of search engine marketing in which advertisers (usually business owners like yourself) pay a fee each time one of their ads is clicked. This is usually how Google charges for their ads.
Organic traffic refers specifically to the traffic that lands on your site through efforts that you’ve not used ad spend to generate. For example, customers that visit your website off the back of your social media or blog efforts, or click on your google search results that appear for free.
Paid traffic is the opposite. This refers to website visitors that have found your website or landing pages thanks to your SEM efforts. Usually, they’ll have clicked on a Google ad - and you’ll have paid for this interaction (PPC).
Put simply, how many times your website URL or advertisement has appeared on the screen of your audience.
The first question you’re likely to ask, especially if you’ve not yet created any advertising campaigns and just want a feel for how your website is going, is “what are my customers typing in Google before they click on my website”.
The best way to see a quick overview of this is to use Google Search Console.
As Google explains themselves, Google Search Console offers “tools and reports to help you measure your site's Search traffic and performance, fix issues, and make your site shine in Google Search results.”
Essentially, by plugging in your website address (URL), you’ll be able to see a snapshot of what you’re already ranking for, and where your traffic is coming from.
These breakdowns include:
There are a few limitations with Google Search Console, namely you’ll only have access to this if you have a Google Ads Account and it’s specifically a top-level look at your organic results. This is perfect if you just want a snapshot of your site analytics.
There are a number of tools you can use to achieve a more detailed lens on what your customers are searching for, most of which require a monthly paid subscription to use the full features, but offer a free version too.
Here are our favourites and the insights they offer.
SEM Rush is a complex tool used by marketers and business owners alike to deep dive into search traffic and website optimisation. Using an API to scrape data straight from Google and formatting into an easy to read and user friendly interface to provide amazingly granular details on everything from how your website is performing to extensive keyword research. We really could write a whole blog about the best ways to use this tool (and maybe we will!), but for now, here are the essentials.
First thing’s first, SEMRush offers a comprehensive domain overview tool. All you have to do is type in your website address and the country you’d like to see results for, and SEMRush will automatically pull through useful insights and details.
UberSuggest (developed by SEO guru Neil Patel), is a tool that’s really similar to SEMRush and functions using a similar API scraping tool. The main difference is UberSuggest is designed to be a bit easier to read and simpler to use for those who aren’t specifically markets and want to get the insights without the complexity.
If you want to get an idea of:
We’d highly recommend UberSuggest as a tool.
Finally, if you’re looking to gain an extensive understanding of what your customers are searching for, both paid and organic results and really master your Google advertising and SEO strategy, we can’t look past the Google Suite tool: Google Analytics in conjunction with Google Ads. These are both more complex to learn (there are full courses offered by Google on each), but they’re a direct path to connect with your customers more effectively.
Integrated with your website and Google Ad account, Google Analytics covers the ‘who, what, when, where, how and why’ of visitors interacting with your website, and campaigns directed to it.
The insights offered by Google Analytics include (but are not limited to):
The opportunities for insights and in-depth metrics are endless - it’s all about knowing how to use them. That’s what we do here at Yellow - we’re trained in understanding exactly what your customers are searching for and how to set up ad campaigns that connect and convert. If you’d prefer to leave the legwork to an expert, we're here to help. Talk to one of our Digital Experts today.