After years of writing PPC ad copy for campaigns, I’ve made a lot of mistakes and learned a lot along the way. Here are 7 common mistakes you should avoid when writing your PPC ads.
Selling the product, not your company—If somebody is searching for “blue widgets” they are already mostly sold on the idea of blue widgets. Your ad doesn’t need to sell them on blue widgets. It needs to sell them on buying blue widgets from your company, not one of your competitors. That means your ad should be focused on selling and differentiating your company, not on trying to sell a product that the searcher already knows he wants.
Choosing to be clever rather than clear—You only have 95 characters to work with. Delivering a clear, powerful message in that tiny space is challenging. If you try too hard to be clever, you’re going to sacrifice the clarity of your message, and you’ll see your CTR decline.
Playing it safe—Too many times, advertisers just look at what the competition is doing with their PPC ads and mimic it. The result? Their ads become indistinguishable from their competitors, giving searchers no good reason to click on them.
Not having a call to action—It’s Advertising 101. An effective ad always contains a call to action. If you aren’t motivating searchers to take action, they’re not going to click on your ad. That’s all there is to it.
Ignoring the season—Seasonal PPC ads work. They just do. Adding a seasonal offer to your ad copy is a proven way to get more click-throughs and ultimately more conversions. It makes your ad more relevant, helping it stand out from the rest.
Not matching your ad copy to the landing page—Your ad copy and landing page should go together like PB&J. Whatever your ad message is should be the focus of your landing page. If there’s a disconnect between the ad text and the landing page copy, you’ll see your conversion rate drop.
Wasting words—Between the headline and the ad text, you have 95 characters to work with. Not only does every word count, every letter counts. You can’t afford to waste a single character. That means no fluff and no wordy, industry jargon. You have to make the most of your limited real estate. Your ad should separate your company from the competition and have a call to action.
What are some other common PPC ad copywriting mistakes? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment.
As a copywriter, I deal with a lot of projects that involve SEO copywriting. On these projects, the client will typically send over a sitemap that includes a list of keywords to target on each page. Pretty standard stuff at this point.
However, I occasionally get clients who insist on incorporating misspelled keywords in their copy because they get a good amount of search volume. And I refuse to do it.
For example, let’s say I’m doing copy for a website that sells daiquiri mix. “Daiquiri” is a word that’s commonly misspelled in a number of different ways, and I’m sure those misspellings garner some decent search volume, but that doesn’t mean you should incorporate them into your website copy.
Why not? I’ll give you a couple of reasons.
First, let’s look at it from an SEO perspective. The whole idea behind targeting misspelled keywords is to drive traffic, right?
Google’s main initiative is to improve the quality of their search results. They’re trying to get rid of shady, low quality websites, and you can bet that, sooner or later (if it doesn’t already), Google (and the other search engines) will see websites that are full of misspelled words as low quality and spammy.
But that’s not even the most important reason to avoid incorporating misspelled keywords into your copy.
Think about your visitors. I don’t know about you, but I absolutely would not feel comfortable doing business with a company whose website was full of typos. It just doesn’t look professional. It makes your company look amateurish, careless, and possibly sketchy. And in a day and age where consumers are less trusting than ever before, you can’t afford to give them another reason to distrust your company.
Do you target misspelled keywords on your website?
A lot of the copywriting projects I get involve SEO. Sometimes, a company wants to redo their entire website to ensure it’s optimized properly for the search engines. Other times, their website is already optimized, but they want to continually add new pages to it so they can target new keywords and drive more search engine traffic to their site.
It makes sense, and it’s a strategy I can get behind. Somewhat.
Look, I think it’s a great idea to add fresh content to your website for SEO purposes. The search engines like seeing new content, and the more relevant keywords you can target, the more traffic and potential customers you can bring in.
But my problem is this. When I ask some clients what the purpose is of the new content for their website, a number of them respond with something like this: “It just needs to target this keyword. I don’t really care much about what’s on the page. We just need to rank for that keyword.”
In the past few years that I have spent blogging and chasing search engine traffic I have come to realize that it’s very hard to put your finger on traffic prediction and keyword targeting. Over the years I have managed to rank #1 for keywords I thought would have killed my server, and then get bombed traffic from page 2 keyword results that I would have never of guessed in a million years had traffic.
There’s an array of different applications and programs that help you fish for the right keywords to target. But all in all these programs –the ones that work– more less act as a guide. Nothing is certain, and results are never guaranteed. I think partly why some people are not successful with these programs is that they depend on the application to tell them what to do.
See this video for a visual example:
The better approach to take is to “question everything.” If a keyword ranking tool suggests that the keyword phrase “concrete rebar suppliers” is a hot keyword to chase, you should immediately question why? Why does the program indicate that this keyword phrase has traffic? Why should I invest my time, money, and effort into targeting this keyword phrase? What elements make this keyword phrase a potential candidate for a successful keyword targeting campaign? In other words, you should take it upon yourself to study and research this phrase and come to your own conclusion on what to expect prior to moving forward.
The other aspect that I have learned is that people search for practical things. It seems like many Internet marketers assume that these keywords are too competitive. Or, they don’t even consider them because they are too obvious. In other words, the idea of targeting a keyword phrase such as “Cinnamon Toast Crunch” doesn’t come across the minds of many people. It didn’t come across my mind either until software showed me that I was landing quite a few impressions for that exact keyword phrase.
So basically what I am trying to communicate to you is that it is great to use software to help you find keywords. But software will never replace the human mind. And software is always based on rules. Our brain is capable of thinking outside of rules and making the choice to either bend or break them. Our minds are also capable of questioning and solving mysteries. Such as why are people searching Google for Cinnamon Toast Crunch? What are they really looking for? Perhaps that’s a bleed off for Cinnamon Toast Crunch ingredients, Cinnamon Toast Crunch nutritional information, does Cinnamon Toast Crunch have wheat, Cinnamon Toast Crunch recipe, or what I think… Cinnamon Toast Crunch coupons!
The long story short: Keywords are everywhere and they come packed with potential traffic. Spend some time thinking about things that you have personally searched for yourself. Ask yourself if you think other people have searched for the same thing? Were you happy with the results? If not, then could you make a better web page? If so, then most likely you will achieve superior ranking for that term.
The last set of “If and Then’s” and “How Much and How Can’s” for people like myself include: If I build a webpage that targets this particular keyword phrase and assuming I achieve superior ranking which delivers traffic, then will this be profitable for me? How can I earn money from the traffic? Can I use Google AdSense? If so, then how much can I expect to receive per click? Are their affiliate programs that I can join? If so, then how much do they pay? What is the average conversion rate? Does the product really work? How does Google feel about this product? So again, software can only go so far. Ultimately, it’s up to you to use common sense with targeting keywords and –for people such as myself– choosing the right ones that will likely yield a profit.
Contrary to what the naysayers believe, press release distribution is still an effective way to get your name out there, build links back to your website, and increase your search engine presence. But of course, there’s a right way and a wrong way to write press releases. Most of them are written the wrong way. Just check out any news wire online and you’ll see what I mean.
The good news is writing better press releases is actually pretty easy. I’ve broken it down into 7 simple rules. Follow these and you’ll be golden.
Write a clear, compelling headline that hooks readers—Reporters and customers alike will decide whether or not to read your press release based on its headline. The headline needs to clearly explain what the story is about in a way that sparks the reader’s interest.
Get to the point—Your first paragraph should immediately answer the who, what, when, where, why, and how questions. Start with this overview of the story, and then delve into the tiny details as you build out the rest of the press release. Don’t bury the lead!
Make sure all links are relevant—Yes, press release distribution is good for building links back to your website. However, that shouldn’t be your sole purpose for writing them, and you shouldn’t cram the press releases with links just for the sake of doing so. Links should, of course, be keyword-rich, but they should also be relevant and add to the story.
Break free from the traditional press release template—9 out of every 10 press releases begins with the same old “XYZ Company, a leader in (insert industry), is proud to announce (insert news). This is then followed by a bunch of superlatives and buzzwords as well as a few lifeless quotes from executives. Zzzzzzzzzzzz… Feel free to mix things up by injecting life into your story.
Ditch the buzzwords—Speaking of buzzwords and industry jargon, they have no place in your press releases. Write in a way that a regular person (reporter or customer) can understand it.
Make your quotes count—Too many times, the quotes in press releases are just there. They add nothing to the story, and they’re used to repeat what’s already been said or to inject some bias (superlatives usually follow). Don’t you think you should get more from your quotes? Dig deeper to find quotes that add to the story and bring the news into context.
Always include contact info—Every press release should have contact info for your company’s PR contact. This should include company name, web address, PR contact name, phone number, email, and address.
Are there any other rules people need to follow when writing press releases? Let us know by leaving a comment!