In a perfect world, the words you use to describe your product or service would be exactly how people search for it online and your website would use those same words and phrases. Unfortunately, that doesn’t usually happen. Website developers and traditional media advertisers who have experience developing advertising copy; brochures, articles, advertisements, believe they can use the same vocabulary that worked for traditional media when they build web pages for visitors from search engines. But that can be a costly mistake!
Achieving a truly optimized search engine advertising campaign goes beyond the elements of your PPC campaign, such as keywords, bid prices, ad copy, etc. It also includes how you design your website, the use of custom landing pages, the words you use on your landing pages and the rest of your website.
Many advertisers, including myself, at one time designed their website from the inside-out. In other words, how they see themselves in the market or how they see the market niche they are in. Instead of from the outside-in, meaning how visitors from search engines think and what they actually search for. The inside-out approach may work fine for prospects from other channels or existing customers. However, visitors from search engines are a unique kind of prospect. They may be somewhat naive about the topic they are interested in. They can also become overwhelmed or confused by the variety of content for what they thought was a very specific topic. They can also be quite cynical and usually have very little patience.
The way you have designed your website may make perfect sense to you, your existing customers and even industry pundants. However, if it doesn’t relate well to how prospects from search engines actually search for what you offer, what I call the search vocabulary of your market, then your campaign will be far from optimal.
There are two important reasons why you need to be aware of this. The first has to do with what prospects are thinking when they use a search engine. The second has to do with how the Google AdWords game is played. Let’s take a closer look at each of these.
If you haven’t already done so, this would be a good time to pause and read my article titled A chain of success and the subsequent linked articles.
If the way you describe your product or service and the keywords you use to build your campaign, do not match how prospects search for what you offer, you will not only limit your exposure to real prospects, but if they do manage to reach your landing page and you do not use their search vocabulary, you will have created what we call friction. It would be as if you were having a conversation with someone with a very heavy foreign accent. For example, you may advertise yourself as a psychotherapist or a psychiatrist. However, when real people with real problems search online, they are more likely to use words like therapy, counseling or help. If you don’t take this into consideration when building your campaign, you will be missing out on the biggest segment of your target market. If your landing page does not quickly and efficiently alter their thought process and bring them around to your way of thinking, you will have missed the opportunity to engage with a legitimate prospect. When a visitor from a search engine lands on your website for the first time, you have 3-5 seconds to make a connection. If you don’t, they will bounce!
When you think of using PPC advertising, whether it’s Google AdWords or Bing™Ads, you must understand that there are rules that manifest themselves in the form of a quality score. These quality scores are a way of incentivizing or punishing you for being relevant or speaking the same language as the search engine user and the search engine’s robot. If your keyword, ad copy, landing page and website do not speak the same language as your visitor, you will not only pay a hefty penalty in the form of a higher CPC, but your ad may not display for a significant number of real prospects!
If you think about the process I discuss in the A chain of success, article it is possible to pull the prospect around to your way of thinking and not break the chain, but you need to be very careful. Keywords and keyword matching options, especially negative keywords will insure that your ad only displays for the right suspects. Proper ad copy can perform a valuable translation and qualifying function. Custom landing pages, if designed properly, will keep a qualified prospect engaged long enough for you to pull them into your sales process.
When you have the benefit of historical data in your AdWords and Analytics accounts, you are on your way to learning what I call the search vocabulary of your market. On the other hand, if you are just beginning your online advertising experience and you have built your website with little or no knowledge of your market’s search vocabulary, you are at a distinct disadvantage. It means you will essentially have to buy this knowledge. By this I mean you will have to learn it over time, at some expense by buying clicks in order to capture the data. There is no keyword tool in existence that can compare with a rich search term history from your own website, AdWords or Analytics account.
Where you stand in relation to the processes I’ve discussed will determine where you are along the path to having a truly optimized PPC campaign.