Posted by DiTomaso
Organic and paid search aren’t always at odds; there are times
when there’s benefit in knowing how they work together. Taking the
time to know the ins and outs of AdWords can improve your rankings
and on-site experience. In today’s edition of Whiteboard Friday,
our fabulous guest host Dana DiTomaso explains how SEOs can improve
their game by taking cues from paid search in this Whiteboard
Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution
version in a new tab!
Hi, my name is Dana DiTomaso. I’m President and Partner at Kick
Point, and one of the things that we do at Kick Point is we do both
SEO and paid. One of the things that’s really useful is when SEO
and paid work together. But what’s even better is when SEOs can
learn from paid to make their stuff better.
One of the things that is great about AdWords or Google Ads —
whenever you’re watching this, it may be called one thing or the
other — is that you can learn a lot from what has a high
click-through rate, what performs well in paid, and paid is way
faster than waiting for Google to catch up to the awesome title
tags you’ve written or the new link building that you’ve done to
see how it’s going to perform. So I’m going to talk about four
things today that you can learn from AdWords, and really these are
easy things to get into in AdWords.
Don’t be intimidated by the interface. You can probably just get
in there and look at it yourself, or talk to your AdWords person. I
bet they’d be really excited that you know what a callout extension
is. So we’re going to start up here.
1. Negative keywords
The first thing is negative keywords. Negative keywords,
obviously really important. You don’t want to show up for things
that you shouldn’t be showing up for.
Often when we need to take over an AdWords account, there aren’t
a lot of negative keywords. But if it’s a well-managed account,
there are probably lots of negatives that have been added there
over time. What you want to look at is if there’s poor word
association. So in your industry, cheap, free, jobs, and then
things like reviews and coupons, if these are really popular search
phrases, then maybe this is something you need to create content
for or you need to think about how your service is presented in
Then what you can do to change that is to see if there’s
something different that you can do to present this kind of
information. What are the kinds of things your business doesn’t
want? Are you definitely not saying these things in the content of
your website? Or is there a way that you can present the opposite
opinion to what people might be searching for, for example? So
think about that from a content perspective.
2. Title tags and meta descriptions
Then the next thing are title tags and meta descriptions. Title
tags and meta descriptions should never be a write it once and
forget it kind of thing. If you’re an on-it sort of SEO, you
probably go in every once in a while and try to tweak those title
tags and meta descriptions. But the problem is that sometimes there
are just some that aren’t performing. So go into Google Search
Console, find the title tags that have low click-through rate and
high rankings, and then think about what you can do to test out new
Then run an AdWords campaign and test out those title tags in
the title of the ad. Test out new ad copy — that would be your
meta descriptions — and see what actually brings a higher
click-through rate. Then whichever one does, ta-da, that’s your new
title tags and your meta descriptions. Then add those in and then
watch your click-through rate increase or decrease.
Make sure to watch those rankings, because obviously title tag
changes can have an impact on your rankings. But if it’s something
that’s keyword rich, that’s great. I personally like playing with
meta descriptions, because I feel like meta descriptions have a
bigger impact on that click-through rate than title tags do, and
it’s something really important to think about how are we making
this unique so people want to click on us. The very best meta
description I’ve ever seen in my life was for an SEO company, and
they were ranking number one.
They were obviously very confident in this ranking, because it
said, “The people above me paid. The people below me aren’t as good
as me. Hire me for your SEO.” I’m like, “That’s a good meta
description.” So what can you do to bring in especially that brand
voice and your personality into those titles, into those meta
descriptions and test it out with ads first and see what’s going to
resonate with your audience. Don’t just think about click-through
rate for these ads.
Make sure that you’re thinking about conversion rate. If you
have a really long sales cycle, make sure those leads that you’re
getting are good, because what you don’t want to have happen is
have an ad that people click on like crazy, they convert like
crazy, and then the customers are just a total trash fire. You
really want to make sure you’re driving valuable business through
this kind of testing. So this might be a bit more of a longer-term
piece for you.
3. Word combinations
The third thing you can look at are word combinations.
So if you’re not super familiar with AdWords, you may not be
familiar with the idea of broad match modifier. So in AdWords we
have broad phrases that you can search for, recipes, for example,
and then anything related to the word “recipe” will show up. But
you could put in a phrase in quotes. You could say “chili recipes.”
Then if they say, “I would like a chili recipe,” it would come
If it says “chili crockpot recipes,” it would not come up. Now
if you had + chili + recipes, then anything with the phrase “chili
recipes” would come up, which can be really useful. If you have a
lot of different keyword combinations and you don’t have time for
that, you can use broad match modifier to capture a lot of them.
But then you have to have a good negative keyword list, speaking as
an AdWords person for a second.
Now one of the things that can really come out of broad match
modifier are a lot of great, new content ideas. If you look at the
keywords that people had impressions from or clicks from as a
result of these broad match modifier keywords, you can find the
strangest phrasing that people come up with. There are lots of
crazy things that people type into Google. We all know this,
especially if it’s voice search and it’s obviously voice
One of the fun things to do is look and see if anybody has “okay
Google” and then the search phrase, because they said “okay Google”
twice and then Google searched “okay Google” plus the phrase.
That’s always fun to pick up. But you can also pick up lots of
different content ideas, and this can help you modify poorly
performing content for example. Maybe you’re just not saying the
thing in the way in which your audience is saying it.
AdWords gives you totally accurate data on what your customers
are thinking and feeling and saying and searching. So why not use
that kind of data? So definitely check out broad match modifier
stuff and see what you can do to make that better.
Then the fourth thing is extensions. So extensions are those
little snippets that can show up under an ad.
You should always have all of the extensions loaded in, and then
maybe Google picks some, maybe they won’t, but at least they’re
there as an option. Now one thing that’s great are callout
extensions. Those are the little site links that are like free
trial, and people click on those, or find out more information or
menu or whatever it might be. Now testing language in those callout
extensions can help you with your call-to-action buttons.
Especially if you’re thinking about things like people want to
download a white paper, well, what’s the best way to phrase that?
What do you want to say for things like a submit button for your
newsletter or for a contact form? Those little, tiny pieces, that
are called micro-copy, what can you do by taking your highest
performing callout extensions and then using those as your
call-to-action copy on your website?
This is really going to improve your lead click-through rate.
You’re going to improve the way people feel about you, and you’re
going to have that really nice consistency between the language
that you see in your advertising and the language that you have on
your website, because one thing you really want to avoid as an SEO
is to get into that silo where this is SEO and this is AdWords and
the two of you aren’t talking to each other at all and the copy
just feels completely disjointed between the paid side and the
It should all be working together. So by taking the time to
understand AdWords a little bit, getting to know it, getting to
know what you can do with it, and then using some of that
information in your SEO work, you can improve your on-site
experience as well as rankings, and your paid person is probably
going to appreciate that you talked to them for a little bit.
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