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How to Catch a Searcher’s Attention in 2-3 Seconds

September 3, 2009
When a searcher types in one of your keywords, you only have a very small window of time to get them to click on your PPC ad. 2-3 seconds to be exact.

So what’s the best way of catching a searcher’s attention when you only have the blink of an eye to do it?

Before we move to specifics, let’s take a look from an overall perspective:

1. Write at Least Four Variations of Adcopy
What’s cool about PPC is that the search engine will use all ad variations. It will calculate which ones perform best and then serve the best performing ads most often. This is why it’s good to…

2. Test Copy and Refresh it Regularly
PPC makes it easy to test your ad copy and see what approach works best. This is the only sure fire way of knowing what works. There may also be opportunities to apply your learnings to other campaigns, depending on the elements you choose to test (EG: You may find that the word, “Guide” performs better than the word, “White Paper”).

Also make sure you review your adcopy regularly (aim for 2-6 months, depending on your level of resources and program scope) and refresh your ads, by swapping out the two lowest performing ads with new copy variations. This way you are constantly trying to improve your results.

3. Try to Anticipate Intent
If you keyword is “learn” focused, then make your adcopy “learn” focused also. Talk about resources, tutorials, white papers and so forth. If your keyword is “buy” focused then talk about things like prices, specs, and deals/discounts. My previous post talks more about how to anticipate searcher intent.

Now let’s break down the elements of an ad a little more:

1. Treat Your Heading Like Gold
As with all media, the different visual treatment of headings (and the fact that it appears first) give it more perceived importance by the searcher.

Test out keyword insertion tags as these can often provide an uplift in click-thru rate. A keyword insertion tag is when the search engine inserts the searcher’s keyword into your PPC ad heading (this helps improve the scent from their search to your ad).

If you have a well respected brand name, then remember to make use of it. Include it in the heading (preferable) or in the body copy (at a minimum). For branded keywords, make sure you spell out that yours is the “Official Site” in the heading.

2. Stack the Front
The beginning copy is scanned three times more intensely than the end, so it’s important to get your message (and keywords) across from the start.

3. Break Up Text Patterns
Eyes are drawn to variations in pattern. So where it makes sense, remember to break up text patterns with the use of numbers, particularly if the intent is around buying (EG: use pricing or key specs).

4. Try Using Action Words
Action words can prompt searchers into taking action. For example, words like:

  • Get…
  • Download…
  • Order…
  • Find out…
  • …now!

And follow these action words by using…

5. Specific Call-to-Actions
Use specific call-to-actions linked to intent. For example:

  • Learn: Call out high-value content pieces (guides, white papers, tutorials)
  • Buy: Quote, Pricing
  • Use: Support, Service
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From → Search Marketing

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