Building SEM Campaigns

If you've never built a SEM campaign before, it's best to keep it simple.  A SEM campaign (for example in Google AdWords) is typically structured as follows:

Campaign > AdGroup > Keywords

It's best to start from a bottom-up approach when making your campaigns. You should try and identify all the keywords you'd like to bid on and then group them together by relevance to make an AdGroup with respective relevant Ads. You can then decide if it makes sense to have several campaigns. Budgets are primarily set on a campaign level so if you wish to push one product/service more than another, it might make sense to create different campaigns for each product/service. 


Similar to SEO, you'll need to consider what keywords are relevant for your product/business. If you haven't done so already, you should conduct a simple keyword analysis.

  1. To start, make a list of all the keywords you think could be relevant to your business/products/services. Don't forget your brand/business name and localized keywords!
  2. Plug in this list to a tool like the Google Keyword Tool to find out their popularity and competitiveness in your market.
  3. The keyword tool may also give you additional keyword ideas that are relevant.
  4. Revise your list with the keywords that are most relevant, realistic for your budget and have a potential to drive search traffic to your site.  


Once you've gathered a solid list of keywords you think will drive relevant traffic to your site, it's time to group them together.  You should group keywords together in terms of their similarities and eventually you can define these groups as AdGroups. As a rule, AdGroups should contain no more than 50 keywords. 

Ads & Destination URLs

For each AdGroup you you should create at least two ads in order to find one that works best in driving clicks. Ads are comprised of a headline, up to 2 description lines and a display URL and non-visible actual destination URL.  Make sure to incorporate keywords from the AdGroup to help increase relevancy and click-throughs. You should make sure your ads point to pages (destination URLs) that also have relevancy to keywords in that group.


Campaigns should comprise of several AdGroups around the same theme (product, service, etc) and market/language. You set your overall daily budgets, region and language settings, and network settings at a campaign level so it's important to consider the ideal mix. 

Got the basics?

Learn more advanced tips and tricks when it comes to SEM and AdWords in order to increase the success of your campaigns.