It might seem counterintuitive to be discussing how to use AdWords copy to help with your SEO efforts.
After all, the 2 systems are completely separate, with the organic listings being generated as a result of the fabled ‘algorithm’, where the AdWords ads are displayed based on bids, Click Through Rates etc.
And the days of SEO practitioners peddling the conspiracy theory – that if you pay Google to show your AdWords ads you’ll receive a boost in the organic rankings – are long gone.
So why am I suggesting that there is a useful connection between these 2 different methods of promoting your website?
99.9% of the time, the only thing we want to achieve with an AdWords ad is to generate a click through to our website / landing page.
And there is evidence to suggest that a higher than expected Click Through Rate (CTR), for our organic listings, can boost your page higher in Google’s rankings – see this blog post on SEO expert site Moz.com for more info on how organic CTR can affect a site’s rankings.
So, combining these 2 factors leads us to the conclusion that if the copy in an AdWords ad can be seen to be attracting a good CTR, it suggests that the same copy used in our organic listings will also be beneficial for achieving a high CTR – and thus for boosting our site in the rankings.
So how can we go about utilising AdWords ad copy for SEO purposes?
This method is quite simple:
i) Perform a relevant Google Search – ie relevant to the page you wish to promote.
ii) Record the headlines and descriptions being used in the Top 4 AdWords ads (the ones that appear at the top of the search results).
iii) Replicate relevant keywords and phrases from these ads in your own Title and Description metadata.
The theory here is that AdWords advertisers are spending their own money to promote themselves using Google’s advertising system. So you would expect that they are focusing on their best-performing adverts and keeping these ones live.
On top of this, Google’s Quality Score process for AdWords campaigns essentially leads to them showing only the better ads (in terms of CTR) at the top of the page.
So the top 3 AdWords ads are likely to feature copy that has been successful in attracting click throughs at a high CTR – thus emulating the basic elements of the copy in these ads should help with organic CTR for your website’s pages.
Here you can see the results for a search for ‘Las Vegas hotels’.
The top 4 ads all share the reference to Las Vegas / Vegas – understandably.
One of the other elements that stands out from these ads is the idea of a ‘special offer’, ‘saving’ or ‘best deal’.
So I’d suggest phrases like this are included in the metadata – Title Tag and Description Tag – in order to emulate the success of these top performing AdWords ads.
I’m assuming you already have an understanding of how to set up and manage your AdWords adverts. (See a few of my thoughts on AdWords Copywriting for more on this).
So what you would want to do is to have A/B or Split Test versions of your adverts that you can then analyse to determine which Headlines and Descriptions work best for attracting a good CTR.
Comparing AdWords to metadata, your AdWords Headlines will be the equivalent of the Title Tag, with the AdWords Description lines being the equivalent of the Description Tag. There is obviously not a direct correlation between the separate elements, but you should be able to incorporate relevant text from your ads in your metadata – in the same manner as outlined above for the ‘Las Vegas hotels’ example.
The advantage you have when setting up your own AdWords is you can test your own ideas for what might work, rather than relying on what other people have already done.
And one thing I’ll point out here is that not everybody is quite so good at managing their AdWords campaigns as they should be, so even though you can see ads at the top of the search results pages, it doesn’t necessarily follow that these are the best pieces of copy to be basing your own writing on.
So my recommended option is always to set up and manage your own AdWords campaigns (rather than simply rely on what other advertisers have done), when you’re researching the best Titles and Descriptions to use for SEO.
Contact me for more on how I can help with AdWords copywriting for your SEO projects.