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When There Are No Ads

Posted on October 8th, 2009 in the PPC Category

A reader asks:

I just finished going through your book Google Adwords for Dummies.

In plunking around in Google search (now that I know what those results down the right side mean), I’ve noticed that some search terms result in zero Google Adword ads on the result page.

Would that indicate that firms who would likely use Google Adwords see no value in Google Adwords for their businesses?

My reply:

When there are no ads for a given keyword, it’s either because it has a huge search volume that no one has figured out how to monetize, or because it has such a low search volume that it’s not worth the effort of writing ads for.

Here’s an example of a very popular keyword that doesn’t attract advertising:


This keyword gets about 2 million searches per month. Take a look at the Google SERP (search engine results page) for bridges:

Picture 2

As you can see, no ads.

In the examples that you gave me (which I’m not sharing publicly), I see very long tail, specialized keywords that Google may not know what to do with. If the search volume is very low, Google will disallow the keyword. This forces you to bid on more general keywords with higher search volume. This makes Google happy by aggregating auctions and keeping bid prices high.

It also makes life easier for many advertisers who can’t be bothered to brainstorm lots of keyword variations.

For example, if I wanted to sell off my collection of Three Mile Island paperweights (of course, I never would), I might bid on the keyword Three Mile Island Unit II Dedication Acrylic Paperweight.

And if you typed in that exact search term, you would hope and expect to see my ad. But in fact, all you’d see are a few ads for paperweights:

paperweight serp

If I wanted my ad to show up when you search for the long tail keyword, I need to bid on the broad match for acrylic paperweight and hope that Google¬† finds it a good match. Annoying, but that’s the way things are in 2009.

Google wants to show ads for every search (ads is how they make their money). So if you see zero ads for a search, it’s because nobody has figured out how to make money from that keyword.

For your specialized, long tail keywords, you need to find the more general keywords and bid on those in broad match.

But for some B2B markets, you may find that so few of your prospects exist in the world (let’s say, Directors of HR at Fortune 1oo companies, or purchasing managers at injection molding factories) that AdWords is an impractical way of reaching them. In that case, focus on SEO for the long tails (easy to rank high) and take out ads in print and online journals and go for PR.

Anybody else out there confused about keywords? If so, please check out the Traffic Surge course that begins October 8, 2009. My guarantee is that you’ll go from beginner to Market Master in 8 weeks.

Or, if you’re just interested in fine paperweights, I’m entertaining offers:

Go to the Original Article: – AdWords Help, Advice and Tools

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