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Why we don’t expect clients to care about keywords

Yesterday I looked at the key concept which all advertisers need to understand when it comes to pay-per-click search advertising: the offer itself. Those people more used to conventional advertising make the mistake of concentrating on the media selection, which in this case would be the Google search results pages where your ads appear, a.k.a. the “keywords”.

So, is the choice of search terms unimportant? Obviously that’s not the case, but you shouldn’t view it as a tightly-focused summary of what you sell. Instead, your list of keywords should try to identify all the Google search results pages that your prospects may be looking at. You may be advertising blue widgets, but they’ll be searching for all sorts of things. BS 16101, the industry standard for blue widgets, for example. Or WidgetEx, the annual trade show. Perhaps they might be asking: “How do I measure sprocket flanges?”, something which blue widgets happen to do just fine. Or they might be searching for a competitor by name.

When we start work with a client, we’ll ask what products and services you want to promote through search advertising. We’ll then work backwards, and identify the best pages on your website to send people. Then we’ll step back further, and write some adverts to highlight the benefits of reading that page. Finally, we’ll start to build a list of searches which might be made by your prospects. If the client wants to help out with that list, great. But it’s only a start, and we’d progressively build it much further. And we wouldn’t expect the client to care about this ‘keyword list’ either, other than coming up with the occasional new addition.

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