Low Quality Scores, that’s how you know it.
“I don’t care!” she said after you paid for everything. Of course she liked your money and the attention. You thought spending more would help, but it didn’t. It never does. Now you look at your Adwords account and wonder why. You’ve had this relationship for a while, but something is wrong. You can’t leave because you need her. So you stick around.
The simple truth is, she just doesn’t like you very much.
She won’t tell it to you to your face. A hint here, a hint there. Then you think it’s something small. Surely you’ll figure out how to please her. Ah, relevance she likes; you’ll give it to her. Ah, a better landing page is what it is; you’ll change it. Oh, it’s your ad; you’ll write a new one. Then you get on the treadmill and start running. But nothing changes, so you give up or keep trying the same thing over and over expecting a different result. Insanity. It doesn’t work.
You haven’t given her what she wants. Others have.
You’ve heard about the others. You’ve heard the stories and the rumors. That she gave them more space and more exposure. That they weren’t paying as much as you did. That they got the treatment you wanted but never got.
You’ve been getting the crumbs.
You probably don’t know they exist. But they do. Them who get everything. Somebody in your market is eating the cake and leaving the rest to you and your friends. Because she decided it would be so. Because she’s into that somebody. That somebody who is not you.
I was once in your seat.
You told yourself the stories aren’t true. But they are. You told yourself that eventually things would be fine. But they won’t. You told yourself you knew how to make it work. But you don’t.
It’s not what you do. It’s what you don’t.
You don’t pay attention. You never really have. You thought the little work you did was good enough. But it’s wasn’t. You thought it would be a simple fix. But it’s not. You thought you had what it takes. But you don’t.
The problem is you.
It is them she chooses over you. Them who really know what she cares for. They research. They test. They measure. They get results. And when it’s done, they sit back and watch while everybody else, including you, get the remaining bits and pieces.
The formula is simple yet hard to apply. If you pay attention carefully this time, maybe you will finally join us. Those who get what we want. My words will only show the way, but you must find your path laid across the only three virtues she admires.
Selflessness. Empathy, charisma.
Each you must cultivate.
The winning ad on the right had close to three times the click-through-rate. The losing ad on the left only managed to pull a Quality Score of 3/10 to the keywords in its ad group. Clearly Google didn’t like it.
When I wrote the second ad, the Quality Score shot up to 7/10 within a week, and the CPC dropped by 30% (the increase in Quality Score and CTR allowed me to bid lower while getting more clicks).
There are two words in that headline that made the difference: “Top 10”.
Selflessness: To figure it out, I had to forget about the business I was advertising. I did a lot of research on what people were actually looking for when thinking about my keywords. When I say a lot, I mean A LOT. Think hours of research.
Empathy: I put myself in the shoes of someone with means looking for the best villa for a wonderful vacation. What was it that made me click?… What didn’t?… What else was I interested in?… What would have made my life easier?
Charisma: I discovered that looking for a vacation spot was not easy. If I chose wrong, I would have to spend a few weeks in a horrible place after spending a lofty amount. My first thought was to see if anyone had done the research and could recommend a few places. That’s what inspired me to introduce an element in my ad that suggested to the reader that some research had already be done for them: “Top 10”.
Selflessness is why you do the research. Empathy helps you do it well. Charisma is knowing the words that will inspire the click, and eventually the conversion.
Being able to forget about your business completely and be consumed with the needs and wants of the searcher. Going on an adventure, a quest, looking for what someone — other than yourself — needs.
It is not about you. It is not about your business. It never is. Always writing about yourself, talking about yourself. Me, me, me, me, me. Douchebag attitude. And you wonder why you get low Quality Scores. Forgive my bluntness, but where kind words have failed, maybe being brusque will shake you. I say this with the best of intentions – to make you re-think the way you do things.
It is not good enough until the evidence is as clear as day: Quality Scores leaping up and your ad dominating the search page, claiming it as part of the kingdom you rule.
I’ve seen your ads. They saturate the internet. Plain descriptions of your products and services with no consideration of what people really want. Then you stuff them with keywords, and you go home satisfied of your work with your meager results thinking that’s the best that can probably be accomplished. When Google tells you something is wrong by awarding you bad Quality Scores… you should listen. Instead of looking for reasons not to.
It’s about the pain, the struggle, the story, the questions driving them to Google to find answers.
She can only give suggestions from others, and her suggestions are only as good as what you, the advertiser, give her to offer. If you have bad Quality Scores, she doesn’t see you as selfless. She sees you as one who only cares about oneself. One who doesn’t understand what searchers want, what searchers need. And she’s right because they have voted with their clicks, and they have told her that they don’t like what you’re offering. You are not selfless.
But selflessness is not enough. To care is not to know. You also need empathy.
Empathy is when you know exactly how someone views the world, and you can show it by aligning your offer with the object of their desires.
Searchers have very clear images going through their mind when they are searching. Your ability to understand them is what she looks for.
“Relevance,” she calls it. It’s much more than that. To be able to put yourself in their shoes; see the world as they see it. To be able to fully understand at an emotional level all the actions and events that led a person to Google for a search. Feel the pain as they feel it. Know the problem and present the solution that is the perfect match. They are searching for a match. A match of empathy. You either have it or don’t. Either you know or you don’t. The only way to know is by listening.
It is right there in front of you if you decide to look.
It’s not rocket science. Once you decide to take this road, the avenues of understanding your prospects world at a deep level are countless. Look for your own. You’ve decided to be selfless, that’s your greatest asset, if you’re truly sincere you will find what you need to understand. And when you do, it will set you apart.
But empathy is not enough. To know is not to inspire the click. You also need charisma.
How do you speak to your potential customers, which words do you use to inspire them to want to know more about you and no one else?
There are certain words that carry power. Those words are the last key to the kingdom. Certain words when said in proper form, proper order, put one above all. Kings dominate and they have presence while squirrels watch, oblivious, only caring about the next nut they can own. It’s up to you. Learn to be a king, or continue being a squirrel.
Experience. Work. That’s what it takes. The rewards are worth it. Stick with me and I’ll show you the shortcuts.
I cannot give you all the answers as most you must find them by yourself. In her world, to be a king is not learned but earned by the votes of many. Strive for the qualities she looks for, and you may forever be in her favour with the Quality Scores only a king can command from the queen of search.
It is time for you to claim your throne.
Don’t be so gloomy, Google may not like you now, but I’ll show you how to make her love you tomorrow.
This was the introduction to a 3-part series about the philosophy and pragmatism behind writing powerful ads and getting high Quality Scores to dominate your space within AdWords. The next three will dive into details about Selflessness, Empathy & Charisma applied to online search.
Then she’ll be swooning over you like never before.
Thanks to Liesl Barrell and Dan Levy from Unbounce for coming up with the title and idea for this article. I owe you one.