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Paid Search: Debunking the SEM Myth

“What can you tell me about ‘Paid Search’?” This is how my recent interaction with an apparently senior marketing official of a local company started with. I briefly touched upon Paid Searches and talked about organic search, but most importantly the main objective of Search Engine Optimation (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM): maximizing conversions for a business by driving productive traffic to their websites. I talked about a team effort in optimizing SEO/SEM and not just an individualistic role as no big business can achieve SEM opulence without a team. However, my answer did not satisfy this self- proclaimed guru and the conversation abruptly proceeded towards “Quality Score” (QS) and  “Influencer marketing.”

In retrospect, when I think about how marketing professionals on-contract for businesses are approaching the SEM world it makes me ponder about their sling- shot strategy.  Do they actually believe there is a magic formula, to discover for maximizing Quality Scores on their websites. Let me break your bubble Mr. Pro marketing official. There is NO perfect score to get higher ad rankings.

Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines constantly update their algorithms as a rebuttal to these marketing guru’s out there whose claim to fame is to know the secret for “the perfect SEM Quality score” which  in reality does NOT exist. Google states the higher the QS the better. Remember though: QS is not used at auction time to determine Ad rankings. If the marketing guru’s can understand this simple request from Google they will not be out their searching for the ideal QS score.

Image result for SEM

If I play the devil’s advocate for a minute, I get why these guru’s are so focused on achieving optimal quality scores. They want to prove to the stakeholders in the business they know how to get the optimum score to continue winning the next contract. The truth is a minor update in the algorithm can bury your website down to oblivion.  Allocation of hefty advertising budgets towards improving quality scores, CPCs and Click- through- rates can prove to be an exercise in futility if are stuck in the QS bubble.

Quality Scores as per Google depend on three basic factors : CTR, Ad relevance and the landing page loading and quality experience. QS is simply a general estimate based on average past performance. It is not a short cut to Paid Search success.

I hope this helps marketing officials to debunk the myth that SEM Paid Search triumph is not measured in a unilateral quality score based world. It depends on a number of factors. As a webmaster is very important to keep on top of both Organic and Paid searches to stay ahead of the game.

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