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    Search Engine Marketing (SEM for short) is one of the most important areas of digital marketing. Wanting to conduct effective search engine marketing activities, in addition to using the advertising systems themselves, various additional tools can be very helpful. Today I will introduce you to the ones without which I can’t imagine my daily work as an SEM Specialist.

    tools every SEMer should know

    Tools to work with Google Ads

    As we already know, an SEM Specialist mainly deals with paid ads. Therefore, at the very beginning I will introduce you to those tools that will be directly related to the Google Ads account, more specifically, those that help us create or edit advertising campaigns. 

    Google Ads Editor

    This is a free application that you can install on your computer. Its purpose is to help you manage your Google Ads campaigns, and its biggest advantage is the ability to make changes quickly and in bulk. Google Ads Editor is also useful in situations when you want to easily manage multiple accounts at once or when you need to copy or move items between campaigns or ad groups.

    What also distinguishes this application is its ability to work offline. We will only need internet access when we want to publish the changes we have made.

    Keyword planner

    This is a tool without which it is hard to imagine the work of an SEM Specialist. The Keyword Planner can be found in our Google Ads account under Tools & Settings → Planning → Keyword Planner.

    With its help we can discover new keywords and check their popularity (monthly number of searches). In addition, we can also find information on the competitiveness of given keyword phrases and even their rate per click. This allows us not only to accurately plan advertising activities, but also the budgets themselves. 

    Google Merchant Center

    This is a free tool dedicated to online stores. It allows you to preview and manage your product feed. Using Google Merchant Center advertisers can also provide the necessary information about the products they offer to Google Shopping or Google Ads. This allows them to be later displayed in search results and in the Google Shopping tab.

    Analytics Tools

    Wanting to conduct effective advertising activities, we need to be able to measure conversions on our site or analyze traffic flow from different channels. In such a case, web analytics tools may prove indispensable.

    Google Analytics

    This is the most popular analytics tool that really every SEM Specialist should use. It allows us to track and analyze traffic to our website. With its help, we can see how users behave on our site and what actions they perform on it. 

    What’s more, the latest version — of Google Analytics 4 collects data not only from our website, but also from our application, allowing us to analyze our consumer’s path even more accurately.

    Google Analytics can also be linked to a Google Ads account, giving us insight into the effectiveness of our advertising campaigns, comparing them to, for example, social media efforts or organic traffic. 

    Google Tag Manager

    Google Tag Manager allows us to manage the tags on our website without having to constantly modify the website code. Its biggest advantage is that we are able to easily add, remove or modify tags ourselves, without the help of a programmer.

    The most commonly added tags are Google Analytics tags, which allow us to collect data about events on our site, as well as the Google Ads remarketing tag, which allows us to track conversions more accurately and is used to create remarketing lists. In addition, we can also use it to add non-Google tags, such as Facebook’s Pixel.

    In Google Tag Manager, we can really tag a lot of micro and macro conversions. Starting from the most basic ones, such as clicking on an email button, downloading a PDF file or adding a product to your shopping cart, to the more valuable ones, such as filling out an inquiry form or making a purchase yourself. 

    Google Tag Assistant

    If we’re already at Google Tag Manager, it’s impossible not to mention the extremely useful plugin that is Google Tag Assistant. It is available for the Google Chrome browser. Its main task is to signal us the correctness of the tags we have installed on the site. If there are errors in any of them, it will show us where they occur and suggest corrections that we can implement. Google Tag Assistant is able to verify the correctness of most Google tags, such as: Google Analytics, Google Ads conversion tracking or Google Tag Manager. 

    Google Optimize

    This is a free tool for usability testing and optimizing our website for UX (user experience). With its help, we are able to create A/B tests to check which version of our site is more readable for our user, and at the same time which one generates more conversions. Thanks to Google Optimize, we are able to find solutions that will be more friendly to Internet users visiting our site. 

    Hotjar/Yandex Metrica

    Sometimes we may find that Google Analytics is not enough for us to analyze our users in depth. In that case, tools such as Hotjar or Yandex Metrica can come to our aid. With them we can create heat or scroll maps, form analysis, session recordings, etc. In a nutshell, they make it easier to analyze traffic on our site. 

    Implementing these tools can help you understand which elements of your site most strongly encourage interaction, and you’ll also be able to find out if your site is too long or complicated, which could be the reason users interrupt their sessions. 

    Additional tools

    Looker Data Studio

    Looker Data Studio, still known by many as the old Google Data Studio, is used for SEM and SEO data reporting. Using it, we can create interactive visualizations of our data. It is the only tool that allows us in one report combining and present with each other results from different advertising platforms like Google Ads, Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads, TikTok Ads, etc.

    Looker Data Studio also has a gallery of templates that we can use to report data from systems including Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Google Ads, BigQuery, and even spreadsheets from Google Drive.


    This is a tool that I’m sure each of you is very familiar with. In a nutshell, it is a spreadsheet program. However, in the work of an SEM Specialist, Excel comes in handy extremely often. With it, we can create simple reports, comparisons, or calculations. We can also export data to it from systems such as Google Ads or Google Analytics, and then easily analyze them.

    While discussing Excel, we also can’t forget about Google Sheets. This is a free online tool for creating and editing spreadsheets that largely have the same features as Excel. What’s more, by connecting, for example, to a Google Merchant Center account, they allow you to create data files with product data and update them directly in Google Sheets.

    Google Trends

    This tool allows us to view statistics on search trends for specific key phrases in Google search. It provides us with information on the number, origin or seasonality of queries for a specific country or region. Thanks to Google Trends, we can find out what the most important search trends were in a given year, and even which ones are currently gaining in popularity. 

    This tool, unlike the Keyword Planner, is not used to show the popularity of a particular phrase in the current period, but presents search trends regarding users’ interest in a particular topic in a given time frame and geography.

    Answer the Public

    This is an online tool that helps you search for key phrases, both short tail and long tail. The biggest advantage of this platform is that it helps find Internet users’ queries directed to search engines based on a given keyword. 

    After typing in a specific phrase, you get results with query suggestions for specific categories:

    • Questions — questions;
    • Prepositions — prepositions (expressions with prepositions);
    • Comparisons — comparisons (e.g., SEO vs. SEM);
    • Alphabetical — phrases arranged in alphabetical order;
    • Related — related expressions;


    The suggestions I have described are just a few of the many tools available that any SEM Specialist can use. However, it is the above ones that are the most popular and that I find useful in my daily work. It is definitely worth testing all of them and choosing the ones that will prove to be most helpful to you.

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    Aleksandra Wrońska
    Aleksandra Wrońska

    She has been involved in internet marketing for two years, but despite her relatively short presence in the industry, she has already conducted advertising campaigns for small and large companies, both on the Polish and foreign markets. He treats digital marketing not only as a job, but also as a passion, which is why he tries to expand his knowledge and skills every day. She joined Up&More in January 2023, where she manages projects in Facebook Ads, Google Ads and Apple Search Ads.