7 SEM tools to add to your marketing stack in 2021

I know you’re busy.

With so much to do and catch up on, it can be hard to keep track of all the latest trends in marketing, let alone the growing number of modern tools readily available for your business.

But…

If you don’t take time out every now and then to explore new and exciting opportunities, how will you ever expect to stay ahead of your competition?  

To help you not fall behind in the competition, I will share with you 7 SEM tools worth exploring in 2021.

These tools have been around here for a while now, but they’re continuing to evolve and improve to meet demand as more and more people are starting to use them.

With so many options available, there’s something here for everyone: big brands looking for an enterprise solution to small businesses that need a simple tool or even solo entrepreneurs looking for something to help them get started.

Before sharing these invaluable tools with you, let’s first see what SEM (Search Engine Marketing) is, why you need SEM, and why you should use an SEM tool.

What is SEM?

Search engine marketing (SEM) is a digital marketing strategy that uses paid advertising on search engines such as Google to increase visibility and drive traffic to a website. It’s also known as PPC (pay-per-click). As a strategy, it entails everything from creating and optimizing paid ads to managing accounts and boosting conversions and returns.

In short, search engine marketing SEM works through identifying the keywords that your potential customers are searching for in search engines and creating campaigns that target these keywords through ads and various content.

It is also a great way to compete with your competitors by targeting the keywords that your potential customers are looking for when they searching for your competitors.

Why you need an SEM strategy

sem strategy

A SEM strategy is a great way to increase brand awareness, drive traffic and generate leads. 

If you don’t already have a SEM strategy in place, now is the time to get one. 

Why?

SEM is a great way to reach customers right when they are actively looking for what you offer.

To illustrate how this works, let’s say your business sells hammers and assume that people will search Google for “where can I buy hammers?” or something similar when they need one. With proper SEM, you will be able to get found on Google for this type of search.

But, if you don’t run a SEM campaign, then your competitors will most likely generate more traffic to their websites that would otherwise be all yours!

SEM produces immediate results, and it is, without the slightest doubt, the fastest way to increase the number of visitors to your website.

Why should you use a SEM tool?

There are many reasons why it’s a good idea to invest in a SEM tool, including:

  • Ability to see the impact of your campaign in real-time.
  • Tracking and measurement options to optimize the campaign setting it up for success.
  • Opportunity to track your competitors and see what they’re doing so you can stay one step ahead.
  • Ability to manage multiple campaigns from a single tool.
  • Easy access to reporting and historical data to keep you updated on how the campaign is progressing. 

We’ve only just scratched the surface of the importance of SEM tools. There’s still far more to be explored!

Some SEM tools allow you to automatically create ads and track their performance on search engine results pages. Others offer advanced analytics capabilities, and this way, advertisers can measure the effectiveness of a campaign across multiple channels.

The SEM tools I’m going to share with you can be helpful in various ways and applied by any business regardless of their size.

Since some of these tools are also available for free, you may consider exploring them before investing in a more expensive option. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at my list of seven SEM tools worth exploring now:

Best SEM tools in 2021

1- SEMRush

SEMRush SEM tools

SEMRush is a powerful SEM and online marketing tool enabling you to analyze your competitors’ keywords, ad copies, traffic sources, social strategies, and more. 

It helps you make informed decisions to improve your own search marketing and advertising.

You can even compare up-to-the-minute data on two different sites’ traffic, rank, organic keywords, and more – making it just perfect for strategic planning purposes!

This powerful tool has a wide range of features such as keyword tracking (both short and long-tail), backlink analysis, ranking reports, social media monitoring, and competitor research.    

You’ll get an overview of all the keywords your competitors are bidding on using its Advertising Research Positions report, and you’ll be able to see if they’re rising or dropping over time.

The headline metrics for keywords, traffic, and traffic cost can all be seen at the top of the page.  

You can compare the keywords from up to 5 competitors with its Keyword Gap tool. The report will instantly generate high-value keywords that your top rivals are bidding on, but you somehow seem to be overlooking. This report can be generated for both paid search and PLA (Product Listing Ad) keywords.

With SEMRush’s Ad History, you can see when and how often your competitors bid on each term.

It’s also advisable to look at the Ad Copies for various keywords and see how long they’ve been running on. If you notice that your competitors have been bidding on the same keyword for a long time, then it’s obviously a profitable keyword.

SEMRush’s Ad Copies feature displays each paid ad’s copy as well as every keyword used. You can also view the landing page URL for each term your rivals are targeting and see how they convert paid traffic.

A glimpse of your competitor’s display campaign activity is provided in the Display Advertising overview report.

You’ll be able to view what sorts of display ads are currently being run, such as image, text, or HTML, as well as which competitors are running them. All these insights can give you a great deal of information on the type of content they’re promoting and help you come up with some fresh ideas to improve your own campaign.

Pricing:

  • Pro Plan: $119.95/ month
  • Guru Plan: $229.95/ month
  • Business Plan: $449.95/ month

2- Google Ads Editor

Google Ads Editor is a powerful tool that allows you to manage and edit your AdWords accounts. 

You can create, copy, import, or delete campaigns as well as upload multiple versions of the same ad (for example, images in different sizes) – all from one place.

Google Ads Editor is great for beginners because it’s simple to use and provides a user-friendly interface.

With this tool, you can easily switch between various campaigns or ad groups using tabs at the top of your screen and see how each campaign performs by comparing its data side-by-side in graphs and tables.

You can also save different versions of an ad, so if you want to change things later on, there will always be an earlier version saved as a reference. 

The Logs tab shows all the details about what happens every time someone clicks one of your ads – for example, impressions, conversions, and cost per conversion – to better understand what is working and what isn’t.

Google Ads Editor will also walk you through the steps necessary to set up your account for Shopping campaigns which have become very popular with many businesses today!

You should use it if you’re new to AdWords or SEM in general, if you have an existing campaign that needs some improvement, or as a way to explore different options when setting up other kinds of AdWords accounts such as remarketing lists.

Pricing: Free

3- Optmyzr

Optymzr SEM tool

Optmyzr is a suite of tools for managing digital marketing campaigns. It’s designed to be used by marketers, agencies, and in-house teams, and individual consultants who manage multiple clients’ accounts.

It includes a keyword research tool that analyzes your site content and looks at things like search volume, competition level, available ads slots, and more so you can make informed decisions about which keywords to target.

You’ll also get recommendations for the best time of day to run different types of paid ads – when they’re most likely to show up on the first page or occupy top positions on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).

Trying out Optmyzr’s competitor analysis features will help you find out how your meta-data and ad copy stack up against your competitors. You can see what they’re bidding on, how much traffic their ads are generating, the cost per click of each keyword – all to help you make better decisions about where to invest your time and money.

Optmyzr also offers a suite of apps for tracking your ads’ performance, so you can see which ones are generating the most traffic and what keywords on your site they’ve been triggered from.

The Optmyzr app will also help you set up remarketing campaigns – targeting the visitors who have seen a specific page of your site before but haven’t been converted yet  – to try to get them back into the buying cycle!

This tool is really good at helping marketers optimize their SEM efforts by connecting all aspects of digital marketing together in one place, making it easy to manage multiple client accounts or exploring different options when setting up new kinds of AdWords accounts such as Shopping Campaigns.

If you’re already using this tool, then just keep doing what works! However, if you have never used it before, do give it a try and see that it can make your digital marketing efforts far more successful.

Pricing:

  • Pro: $416/ month
  • Pro+: $665/ month
  • Enterprise: Available on request

4- Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword Planner SEM tool

Google Keyword Planner is a free tool that can be used to find out how many people search for certain keywords, what their search volume is like, and which ones might be worth investing in. 

It’s effortless to get started – just type in or paste your keyword into the text box at the top of the page and you’ll be given certain information about it right away.

You will see, for example, how many people are searching for that keyword, what the competition level is, or whether you’re able to add a new phrase into your account.

This helpful tool will even show some related keywords – based on those already used by advertisers with Google Ads accounts. These suggestions are directly obtained from AdWords’ database of search queries.

Google Keyword Planner is really good at giving marketers an overview of potential keywords they could be targeting – all without having to do any heavy lifting themselves!

You can use Google Keyword Planner to generate some more ideas for keywords you might want to target with your SEM efforts; moreover, it aids in learning more about how competitive certain search queries are and finding out what phrases people tend to use most when searching for things like your product or service.

Pricing: Free

5- WordStream

WordStream SEM tool

WordStream is a marketing platform that provides keyword research, PPC management,  and performance analytics. It’s designed to help marketers keep up with the ever-changing digital landscape.

With Wordstream, you’ll get the information about: search volume trends for keywords on Google AdWords (based on auction time), competition levels, bid prices, and your return of investment regarding the changes made to ads or content over time.

The tool will also allow you to track competitors in your niche and see which keywords they’re bidding on and how much traffic each keyword generates.

You’ll also see how much traffic individual SEM efforts are generating. This includes things like social media campaigns, display ads, and links from other sites back to yours – all so you can see what’s working for you and which ones are worth investing in more.

Wordstream offers an intuitive interface with all the latest information at your fingertips so that you can use them quickly and easily! Plus, it comes with its own keyword tool – making it super easy for newbies and experienced digital marketing pros alike.

Pricing:

  • WordStream Advisor: $49/ month

6- SpyFu

Spyfu SEM tool

Spyfu is a platform that helps marketers find and research keywords. It provides information on what people are searching for on Google AdWords, how much they’re paying for those searches, and where the competition level lies – all so you can make smarter decisions when it comes to bidding or targeting new phrases with your SEM efforts!

It’s been designed to give the user quick access to keyword suggestions based on the trending terms on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and ideas from other sites that share the content relevant to your niche. This way, you won’t have to put much effort into creating targeted campaigns at scale!

Here’s an example: 

You might see in your search engine some exciting results coming up for different kinds of food – some that have never once crossed your mind before. You could then choose the top five or so results, and SpyFu will find out how much competition there is for those phrases, how much people pay in AdWords per click/view, and whether it’s worth investing more into SEM efforts around these keywords or not.

Spyfu also offers competitive research tools enabling you to monitor up-to-date stats about competitors’ PPC campaigns as well as your own!

If you’re looking for an all-inclusive marketing platform to help you succeed with SEM efforts, Spyfu is the way to go!

Pricing plans:

  • Basic Plan: $39/ month
  • Professional Plan: $79/ month
  • Team Plan: $299/ month

7- PPC Protect

PPC Protect SEM tool

PPC Protect does something entirely different from all the other SEM tools on this list. It won’t assist you with keyword research or PPC management, but it will significantly help you get a better and bigger bang for your buck with your PPC budget.

There are many ways to determine whether or not a user is genuine, but you can only do so after they’ve clicked, which means your money has already been spent. PPC Protect carefully analyzes every click on your ads and bans any suspicious robots to prevent further invalid activity.

You can conduct your campaign knowing your budget won’t be wasted thanks to its vast database of VPN, proxy, and malicious IP addresses.

The tool will also provide you with information about the potential ROI of your campaign. You can then make wise decisions based on the numbers customized to your own goals and budget!

PPC Protect is one of the best SEM tools out there for marketers who want to get the best return on their investments – not just because it helps prevent fraud, but because it provides a set of metrics, so you know how much return-on-investment (ROI) each ad has generated.

Pricing: Available on request

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a SEM tool to help grow your business, these 7 tools may be worth considering. Do any of them sound like they will work well with the way you do marketing? Maybe it’s time to try one out and see if it helps!

sem tools for success

Serhat Erdem

Serhat is the Creative Content Writer of UserGuiding, a code-free product walkthrough software that 2000+ companies trust in their user onboarding.

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