Every so often we get a call from a client asking why they aren’t seeing their search ads show up when they Google their brand’s main keywords. It’s only natural for an advertiser to want to check that their ad campaign is live and performing the way they hoped. But before you open that Google tab, know that searching for your own keywords is the last thing you want to do. Not only can Googling for your ad give you an inaccurate picture of what’s going on, but it can actually hurt your SEM campaign in the long run. Let’s look at why this happens and review a few additional SEM strategies you need to protect your campaign’s success. Don’t Google Your Own Keywords Searching for your own ads can impact auction bidding thresholds and drive up your cost-per-click rate. And chances are, your ad won’t serve on your computer anyway because search results are custom for every user and keyword combination. Plus, if you keep searching for your ad and don’t click on it too many times in a row, search engine algorithms will assume it’s not relevant and potentially lower your Quality Score (QS). Instead, our experts recommend using an ad preview tool. Many search engines provide a tool to simulate the search results page that would appear for your targeted keywords, location, device type, and language. Never Click On Your Own Ad Don’t click on your own ad, even if it appears organically. You might be curious if your ad is redirecting to the correct location, but clicking on your own ad will cost you money that could be spent on converting another user. A better SEM strategy is to simply make sure your website doesn’t have any broken pages or 404 errors. It’s also important to alert your advertising partners immediately if you experience issues or must change landing page URLs. Expand Your Targeting for Better Results Geotargeting a small area can limit the number of users who search for your keywords. Expand your targeting to include a larger radius around a location or include zip codes or cities close by to tap into a larger pool of users who are already searching for you. Also, remember search engines won’t show ads on every search if the keyword’s interest volume is low. So, make sure you aren’t targeting too specific, niche, or long-tail keywords that don’t drive high search volume. Our top SEM strategies also include adding in broader keywords or phrase match types to serve your ads in a wider range of searches and using consumer-friendly phrases rather than corporate jargon. Analyze Your Budget and Schedule to Capture More Search Volume Review the average cost per click of the keywords you’re working with, how often the keyword is searched, and external factors impacting the price, like seasonality or the competitive market, to make sure there are enough funds available to reach everyone searching. Then, decide how many clicks per day you want to achieve and adjust your budget accordingly based on your current average cost per click. This will ensure you don’t exhaust your SEM budget too early in the day. Don’t forget to also research the hours and days when your audience is searching most to ensure your ad schedule matches typical user behaviors. Finally, analyze your keywords, ads and landing pages to ensure they all naturally relate to each other. Making the user experience seamless will help increase your ad relevance and QS so that your ads show more often in the daily search volume. Don’t Overreact if Your Ad Isn’t Immediately Serving The ad approval process for most search engines can take a couple business days, and you won’t see your ads serve until that process is complete. You can check the status of your ad approvals within the search engine’s ad platform, and if your ad is rejected, you can check their policies to quickly determine why your ad didn’t meet their requirements. Ultimately, there are a variety of factors that can impact your search campaign. So, if your ad campaign isn’t generating the results that you want, reach out to us to uncover what’s happening and get real advice and SEM strategies that can help deliver the most value from your media dollars.