9 Essential Tips to Create SEM Ad Copy That Converts

Do you want to create SEM ad copy that converts but don’t know where to start?

With this guide, even those without prior copywriting skills can craft engaging and effective ads that’ll drive clicks and conversions.

Eliminate subpar ads and missed opportunities by learning the essential elements of crafting SEM ad copy and increasing campaign performance for measurable results.

Continue reading and discover how to supercharge your SEM ad copy today!

Understanding SEM and Ad Copy

What is SEM?

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a form of online marketing that involves promoting your website by increasing its visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs) through paid advertising.

SEM campaigns can be run on various platforms like Google Ads, Bing Ads, and Yahoo Ads, to name a few.

The Importance of Ad Copy

Google Ad by Express VPN
Google Ad by Express VPN.

Ad copy is the text content of your online advertisement that appears on the search engine results page. It’s a critical element in SEM campaigns, as it’s the first thing users see when they come across your ad.

A well-written ad copy can entice potential customers to click on your ad, increasing your click-through rate (CTR) and ultimately leading to higher conversions.

9 Tips to Create Effective SEM Ad Copy

Writing effective ad copy involves using concise and persuasive language, highlighting unique selling points, and focusing on the needs and desires of your target audience. 

By following these principles and continually testing and refining your ads, you can improve your SEM ad performance and achieve your advertising goals.

1. Effective Keyword Research and Selection

Before writing your ad copy, it’s ideal to conduct thorough keyword research to identify relevant and high-performing target keywords for your campaign. 

Use keyword research tools like Google Ads Keyword Planner or Ahrefs to find keywords with high search volume and low competition. After you find low-competition keywords, you’ll want to spend the time to learn the search intent for each keyword you are considering.

An Ahrefs keyword research for the keyword 'canon video camera'
Ahrefs keyword research for the keyword ‘canon video camera’.

This will help you understand where your customer is in the buyer’s journey and as a result, support your ad copy because you’re targeting your audience and aligning with their search queries.

Tip of The Day

To get a better understanding of the search intent behind a keyword, use some time on analyzing meta titles and descriptions of the top search results on the search engine.

2. Writing Clickable Headlines

Not to be misconstrued with “click bait” headlines. Clickable headlines are well-crafted headlines that entice the user to click to read more. This is a good signal to Google that your ad and content being promoted are worthy of reading.

  • Be concise: Keep your headlines clear and to the point. If it’s not clear from the headline, what’s on the other side of the ad, then it needs to be reworded.
  • Use numbers: Including numbers in your headline can increase your click-through rate. In this study by Moz, their results showed a 15% lift!
  • Highlight your value proposition: Communicate what makes your product or service unique and worth clicking on. If the headline is too long, consider moving the copy to the body of the description.

3. Adding Benefit-Driven Descriptions

Aside from your headline, the next most important part is the body of the ad. Here you’ll want to consider the following:

  • Focus on benefits: Explain how your product or service can solve the searcher’s problem or fulfill their needs. No one needs to know your hair dryer has 3 different settings. They want to know how they can save 5 extra minutes a day when they use your product.
  • Use power words: Words like “exclusive,” “proven,” and “limited-time offer” can create a sense of urgency and encourage clicks. Make sure the language fits within your communication style and brand. You don’t want to sound overly salesy. 
  • Match the search query: Incorporate the primary keyword in your description to make it more relevant and boost your ad’s quality score.

4. Clean Display URL

Display URLs are the URLs that are shown in the SERP of the ad. They indicate how relevant your ad is to the searcher’s intent or problem. If a man was searching for comfortable socks, then a URL that shows “/mens/socks” might entice a click.

A Google Ad by Lululemon highlighting the display URL
The display URL in a Google Ad by Lululemon.
  • Keep it simple: Use a clean and straightforward URL that is easy to remember.
  • Use relevant keywords: Incorporate your primary keyword in the display URL to increase relevancy and credibility where it makes sense. 
  • Use the extra display path options: There are two additional display path options in the Google Ads manager after the primary domain. You should utilize both of these spaces to showcase your benefits. Once used, they will display as if they were subfolders in the URL paths.
Display paths for a Google Ad
Display paths for a Google Ad.

5. Call to Action (CTA) Tips

The call to action is usually embedded in the description beneath the ad headline. Here are some tips to make an impact.

  • Be clear and direct: Use strong, action-oriented words like “Buy Now,” “Sign Up,” or “Learn More” to prompt users to take action.
  • Create a sense of urgency: Encourage users to act quickly by using phrases like “Limited Time Offer” or “Act Now.”
  • Tailor the CTA to your audience: Consider the specific needs and preferences of your target audience when crafting your CTA.

6. Making the Most of Your Ad Extensions

Ad extensions are additional pieces of information that can be added to your SEM ad copy to enhance its performance.

Some common ad extensions include site links, call extensions, and location extensions. These extensions not only provide more information to users but also make your ad more visually appealing and increase its visibility on SERPs.

A Google Ad by Amazon, including ad extensions
A Google Ad by Amazon, including ad extensions.

7. Start and Continue to Run A/B Tests to Optimize

To ensure your ad copy is as effective as possible, run A/B tests on different versions of your ad. The easiest way to achieve this is to clone a previous ad and only change one aspect of the ad.

By modifying these different ad elements you can compare the performance to determine which combination will yield the best results:

  • Titles – Try titles without numbers to test against the ads with numbers
  • Descriptions – Ads managers should always be testing different variations of the body copy to increase conversions. It’s best to only test one sentence change at a time.
  • Display URLs – Try different paths until you successfully increase conversions.
  • CTAs – Similar to the description body copy, these should always be tested until an optimal call to action is resonating with the searcher.

8. Address Potential Objections

If you’re creating ads for Google in an industry where you may face many common objections, you can handle some of them in the headlines of the ads.

For example, if you’re a pet food company and one of the common objections or questions is around the quality of your product, you can simply add “no preservatives” in the headline.

A Google Ad by Blue Buffalo highlighting no preservatives in their dog food
A Google Ad by Blue Buffalo highlighting no preservatives in their dog food.

When you anticipate and address potential objections or concerns users may have about your product or service, you increase the likelihood of conversions.

Tip of The Day

For even better results, combine tip #8 with A/B testing to find out which pain point is the most common to assist in your other campaigns.

9. Be Consistent with the Landing Page

Nothing is more frustrating than clicking on an ad and not landing where you thought you would be. Most of these mistakes can be avoided by using some user experience logic.

If someone clicks on an ad that is selling socks, it wouldn’t make sense to push them directly to the homepage where they would read about the company and what they stand for.

This is where we bring the lesson back to search intent as it pertains to their search terms. By carefully analyzing the SERPs, you’ll have a better clue as to what your searcher is looking for.

If they’re in the buyer’s mindset, they’re nearly at the bottom of the sales funnel. Solidify the sale by having the ad point directly to the product details page.

This isn’t being pushy, this is being smart and it shows that you truly understand what your customers are after.

Wrapping Up and My Experience With Writing SEM Ad Copy

Leveraging my professional experience with Google Ads management and optimization, I understand the challenges involved in developing the perfect ad.

The process of conducting keyword research, setting up, and optimizing campaigns can be demanding and time-consuming.

Based on my knowledge I felt compelled to share my top tips for crafting outstanding SEM ad copy, to assist you in effectively reaching your target audience, boosting clicks, and enhancing conversion rates.

Through dedication and experimentation, you’ll be able to create SEM ad copy that is unique and delivers great results for your campaigns.

Frequently Asked Questions

Woman wondering

What is the difference between SEM and SEO?

SEM refers to paid advertising campaigns, while SEO involves optimizing your website to rank higher in organic search results.

How can I improve my ad’s Quality Score?

To improve your Quality Score, focus on writing relevant and compelling ad copy, optimizing your landing pages, and ensuring a high CTR. Google uses CTR as one of many measurements to determine the quality score. Your ads are less expensive when the quality score is higher.

Why is it important to use keywords in my ad copy?

Including keywords in your ad copy helps users quickly understand the relevance of your ad to their search query and improves your ad’s visibility in search results.

What are ad extensions, and how do they benefit my ads?

Ad extensions are additional pieces of information that can be added to your ads, such as site links, call buttons, or location details. They enhance your ad’s functionality and visibility, making it more appealing to users.

In addition, the more extensions you add, the more space you take up in the SERPs. This can be beneficial as there are fewer results shown on a given page per search term.