If you clicked on this article looking for the magic button for your Search Engine Marketing campaigns – I apologize for duping you.  Ironically, that is exactly how and why these types of “Tips & Tricks” articles are developed and written in the first place.  Each one claims to have the magic button, and each one has the secret that, somehow, no one else knows about; offering a plug-and-play solution for all marketing purposes.  In other words, clickbait for the chance at a sale. 

I’m here to tell you that this is a load of $h*&!  

This is not to say that “Best Practices” and “Tips & Tricks” are not still great foundational pieces. I have never read a single one that was completely bunk. However, I think it’s really important to recognize where this strategy comes from, what the actual intent is, and what you should do with it. Though they are sold as the “Holy Grail,”  I implore you to accept them for what they actually are, which is a guide, and use them to your advantage instead of letting them define your approach.

So, how do you do that? 

First, recognize the basic point of these articles, self-help lists, and strategy “must-haves,” that are shoved down your throat by publishers.

As I have already stated, these are great for understanding foundational concepts that can help make campaigns perform better. They can establish a base level understanding for building for success.  The closest thing I can relate this to is the example of using a car navigation app to help you get around efficiently through a city.  The technology in this example is intelligent: it gets you from point A to point B, it suggests things to search for on the way, it detects traffic and gives you an ETA from that detection. BUT – it can’t take into account the road conditions, how much gas you have, the condition of your engine, the kids screaming in the backseat, or any of the other various internal and external conditions that may impact your ETA. The point to be made by this example is that while there are obviously huge advancements in ad tech all the time, nothing can ever be totally “packaged” when your business or your client’s business has its own goals and nuances.

Second, recognize where these best practices originate from. 

They are usually written about e-commerce, and are often sourced from publishing giants. Something to keep in mind is, the last time I checked, Google is in the business of making money. Now, I am not saying that they are strategizing best practices solely with the end goal of making money, but I’m more so asserting that they are created with an incredibly broad stroke i.e. pairing all search campaigns with remarketing, blindly adopting automated bidding strategies, or perhaps opting into targeting expansion. So, if your business and goals align, great! You can hit the “that was easy” button and call it a day. If they don’t, your strategy will require more than the broad stroke articles can offer. It will take creative and analytical action, as well as letting data speak for itself.  Make sure that you are testing and learning from the results to continue to evolve what best practices work for you.

Finally, recognize what your best practices are, and how do they align with your goals and success metrics? 

While every business’ goals include being more profitable, there are many ways to get from A to B.  The ones that are successful find different ways of doing this that don’t always fall in line with the way everyone else does things.  Figuring out your or your client’s goals is the first step.  The rest is expanding on those by testing and listening to what the data is telling us.  Do not be afraid to do something different.  Even when things are working, ask yourself if they can be better.  If we aren’t trying different things and studying their impact, what are we truly learning?

My opinion in a nutshell is, though Tips & Tricks and Best Practices are helpful, digital marketing and marketing in general is never one-size-fits-all. So take them and learn from them, but also be sure to continue applying everything else you know as well.

“The person who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The person who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever seen before.” – Albert Einstein