It’s what you say, not where you say it

Nine times out of ten, when a company gives us an existing Google AdWords campaign to look after, the focus until now has been on ‘keywords’. Similarly, when we start a company off with search advertising, nine times out of ten the first thing they want to know is what keywords we’ll be using. This is the wrong priority.

Here’s an analogy I often use. The ‘keyword’ you define is the Google results page where you want your advert to appear. Now, imagine your search advertising campaign is a poster campaign around the town. The keyword equivalent in a poster campaign is the location of the poster – a bus stop, by the motorway, whatever.

Now, of course you’d want your advert in the best location, where the most possible customers might see it. But I suspect that in a poster campaign, you wouldn’t spend nearly as much time discussing the merits of the bus stop versus motorway as you would designing the poster itself. The text, the images, the message: these are the real key to a successful advert, right?

Search advertising is no different. Sure, the keywords have a role to play. More customers might see the advert on one search results page than another. But it’s the message which matters. It’s the message which you should be devoting the time to creating. And it’s the message which you should be constantly testing and improving.