The first priority of AdWords is to create the best quality SERP (Search Engine Results Page) to serve the searcher. AdWords controls 50% of the most valuable Internet real estate on the planet and our job is to pursue SERP perfection. We are not fools so we are very aware of the fact that obtaining perfection is impossible, but it is the pursuit that is important.
You might think something like “I am paying for AdWords and I want it to serve my needs first.” This is a nice thought, but a failed concept. The value you get is from the interaction with the searcher. You can only get there if you serve their informational need first. The value of traffic is created by the engagement of the searcher with the value statement of your business. We must serve the searcher before that value can be created.
We get calls from people all the time that are trying to control the market and the reality is that the market is a thousand times more powerful than the business. Control is an unlikely outcome in a mismatch like this. The strategy needs to be in service to the market, not in an attempt to control the market. You cannot win if you try it the other way around.
There are lots of system manipulations, some of them work once in a while, but none of them work long term. You can trick a person into clicking on an ad with deceptive copy, but it is unlikely you will hold the upper hand all the way to the finish line because they hold all the power. I will be the first to admit that there are businesses that work on a one-sale model, but our clients need the recurring business and the long term relationship to build a good business. For that reason they need to get the right traffic to their site and that means serving the searcher first.
To be in service to the searcher we need to make sure that the ads on the SERP are the highest quality match to the searcher’s query. The magic of AdWords is the keyword model of both positive and negative words to connect directly to the searcher’s need. Since 1994, when I started working in web marketing, I have yet to meet a person that did not know their keywords. It is a rare person however that knows their negatives. To serve the searcher the ad needs to appear when it serves their informational need but no other time. You might think that there is no cost to the extra impression of your ad, unfortunately that is not true. That impression goes into the quality score which is multiplied by your bid to calculate your rank so it really does cost you in the long run.
We like to think about the search process as the start of a conversation. The searcher enters a few words as a clue of their interests and we match that to the keywords related to the ad copy which is our response to their query. You say hello and I say Good Morning, it really is that simple. The really tough part here is when they click on your ad you need to continue that conversation on your landing page or the only thing that will happen is a charge to your credit card.