Since I began working in search engine marketing, I have learned the basic rules of writing effective ad copy that adheres to search engine specifications. While each search engine has their own guidelines, the premises are the same. One important question still remains; how can you get as much information across to a searcher within the specific ad character limitations, but yet, still be fresh and creative?
A few weeks ago, I came across this issue while developing ads for a client. I was stumped as far as the verbiage I could use in the ad copy, while still giving the ad a fresh look and feel. Here are some methods I used to not only inspire me to write enticing ads, but to also differentiate my client among their competitors.
I begin by conducting some research on my client’s industry; browsed their website and familiarized myself with industry terms. If you happen to come across terms that are foreign to you, Wikipedia is a great resource that will put terms into a context that’s easy to understand. This preliminary should research aide you in writing ad copy.
When writing the ad copy, I tried to select words that will evoke a sensory experience about the client’s business, product or service; such as ‘experienced’, ‘trusted’ or ‘knowledgeable.’ These types of words are important to searchers, as they want to conduct business with those they feel they can trust and who not only understand the product or service they are selling, but the industry as a whole. To keep ad text exciting, try using a thesaurus to inspire creativity; sometimes it can take the ad to a higher level of professionalism.
Lastly, when I write my ads, I include a call to action whenever possible. A strong call to action will not only set you apart from others, but also will make your ads more appealing to searchers.
It’s important to remember that you only a few have moments to capture the searchers attention. Your ads don’t need to be elaborate; usually simple is better. Be concise, creative and honest about your products and services and the ads will virtually write themselves.
With all of the new and exciting things going on in the Search Engine world, it can be a little confusing if you are not up to date on all of the new channels. I recently spoke to a client who has been with MoreVisibility for 5 years. She keeps hearing/reading all of these “buzz words” but is not clear on what they mean and was embarrassed to ask. I told her there is no such thing as a dumb question; the only dumb question is the one that was never asked. She graciously accepted my offer to provide some insight. For those of you who were too afraid to ask:
What is Social Media? Wikipedia defines social media as primarily Internet-based tools for sharing and discussing information among human beings. The term most often refers to activities that integrate technology, social interaction, and the construction of words, pictures, videos and audio. This interaction, and the manner in which information is presented, depends on the varied perspectives and “building” of shared meaning among communities, as people share their stories and experiences.
What is Facebook? Facebook is a social networking site, which is totally free to join. Once you do you can connect and interact with other people, who will be referred to as your “friends”. The site generates revenue from advertisers. Launched in early 2004, the home page states: “Facebook helps you connect and share with the people in your life.” On the About page you will find this verbiage: “Facebook gives people the power to share and makes the world more open and connected. Millions of people use Facebook everyday to keep up with friends, upload an unlimited number of photos, share links and videos, and learn more about the people they meet.” The website currently has more than 110 million active users worldwide and has surpassed fellow social networking site, MySpace (see below) in terms of monthly unique visitors.
What is MySpace? MySpace is a social networking site that also offers a free membership and was founded in 2003. According to Wikipedia’s definition, “it offers an interactive, user-submitted network of friends, personal profiles, blogs, groups, photos, music and videos for teenagers and adults internationally. Like Facebook, the site generates revenue from advertisers. The media habitually compares Facebook to MySpace; however, there is a significant difference. MySpace allows users to personalize/decorate decorate their profile, while Facebook does not.
What is Twitter? Twitter is a social networking/micro blogging site that was initiated in 2006. Twitter’s home page states that it is a service for friends, family, and co—workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing? Users then answer in 140 characters or less, which is known as a “tweet”. Twitter is different than Facebook and MySpace in that it has no revenue from advertisers.
What is Yammer? Similar to Twitter, Yammer asks a question, but takes it to another level in terms of being more “office friendly”. What are you working on? The site was launched in September 2008 and is the newest site mentioned in this blog post. Yammer recently won an award at The Tech Crunch 50 Conference for start up companies. This site is also free for the basic service, however, in order to gain more access/control over how employees are utilizing the service, there is a nominal fee of $1 per month, per user.
“Knolling” may not be in our everyday vernacular yet, but if past leaps from web-speak to daily jargon are any indication it just may enter our general lexicon sooner than you might realize. Just as “google” became a verb or the concept of a “wikipedia” thoroughly eradicated the notion of “encyclopedias” from the minds of contemporary teens and tweens, so too may “knolling” be the wave of the future. With its launch last week, Google’s Knol seeks to revolutionize online knowledge management.
Unlike Wikipedia, which serves as the online version of a democratized encyclopedia where anyone can collaborate and contribute to an article or post in order to build a central spot for explaining, defining, and cataloging our world — from the sublime to the mundane – Knol’s chief purpose is simultaneously simpler and more lofty. Cedric Dupont, the product manager for Knol, said “We’re not trying to build an encyclopedia. That’s a very focused product. Wikipedia has a great product, but that’s not what we’re doing. What we’re building is a place for people to store their bits of knowledge, and each of these bits come with the author bios and opinions and clearly that’s very different from an encyclopedia. We hope many of these knols and their authors will be referenced by Wikipedia and encyclopedias and help them.”
The site’s tagline reads: “A knol is an authoritative article about a specific topic.” The intention is that the level of expertise of the knols will be significantly high, and closely peer reviewed, as a result of their non-anonymous authorship; and also that their will be multiple knols on the same topic, as opposed to one centralized wiki post that is added to and amalgamated over time. The result? More open dialogue and discussion straight from experts in one centralized, extremely easy- and powerful-to-search location. As opposed to Wikipedia, authors on Knol must divulge their identity, and knols will be “locked” for editing unless the originating author grants access to a contributor(s). This adds credibility to knols that many wikis notoriously lack. Another sharp difference between the two is that ad revenues can be generated (if an author opts to have ads displayed with his/her knol) and shared between the author and Google.
Ultimately, the goal is to offer a forum for experts to collaborate on a global scale (well, an English-language global scale, until additional language versions roll out) and the likelihood for authors to gain “celebrity” for their contributions, as opposed to their lack of notoriety on Wikipedia, is one of many possible results. This knol-fame could be harnessed as part of online reputation management, could fodder link juice, spur viral/wom marketing, and generally increase exposure for brands, corporations, and individuals.
In addition, Knol has other possible implications that will impact SEO. First, there’s a question of whether knol posts will now usurp the top spots often held by Wikipedia articles in Google’s SERPs. It’s yet to be seen, but definitely a concern in terms of keeping the results “impartial.” Second, as with the introduction of any new online application or channel, many less-than-ethical webmasters and users have probably already devised schemes to “game” the SERPs and have their “knols” rank higher than other pages. Finally, will there be SEO value and weight in links to and from knols? Or will they eventually employ “no follows” in the same manner as Wikipedia in order to prevent abuse and spam? If the channel takes off, it will be interesting to note how its SEO opportunities shrink or multiple based on usage, relevance, and impact.