I’m about as white hat as they come and would never advocate that you do anything shortsighted or irresponsible (as tempting as the instant payoff might be) to jeopardize your brand.
But when I see a cool new ethical and totally above-board way to swing the AdWords pendulum in favor of marketers, I say go for it!
This fun new hack uses Google’s own web crawling technology in a new way, enabling you to pay to rank on keywords you were hoping to rank for organically.
Google just made a massive, global update to Dynamic Search Ads (DSA), essentially re-writing this once previously mediocre Ads offering to add a powerful organic insights element to drive more relevant ads.
Previously, DSA would index your website and decide which search queries to show ads for. If the content on your site was considered a good match for the query, an ad was automatically created and entered into the AdWords auction. This was awesome in itself, as it allowed you to cast a wider net, showing your ads for queries using keywords you didn’t have in your arsenal already.
New Dynamic Search Ads Targets Ads by Recommended Categories on Your Site
Now, DSA organizes your website content into recommended categories for ad targeting. Google explains how this works:
Recommended categories are customized to your products and services, for example ‘furniture,’ and only trigger ads for search queries where you have a relevant landing page. Each category can also be refined to show additional, more specific categories.
New Dynamic Search Ads Targeting Options. Source: WordStream, Inc.
This is a profound change in how DSA works and is essentially a way to pay to rank on the keywords you were hoping to rank for organically.
But ewww. Why should an SEO pay for clicks when you can get them for “free” organically?
I think it’s interesting because SEOs create content in hopes of ranking for particular keyword searches, but the rankings don’t always materialize right away (or possibly never). By leveraging DSA and paying to rank on the keywords you were hoping to rank for, you could gain valuable data in terms of understanding which pages generate the most conversions, sales or leads, allowing you to prioritize your SEO, conversion optimization efforts and other traffic generation efforts.
Hey big organizations — you know how you’re always trying to get your SEO and SEM on the same page? Voila!
What Does the Dynamic Search Ads Update Mean for Advertisers?
This gives all advertisers a second chance to appear for each and every query they’re trying to show up on. But it also gives you the opportunity to show up for keywords you don’t even know about, if your site’s content qualifies. That’s pretty epic, considering 15% of searches performed on Google each day are entirely new queries that have never been seen before and thus are difficult to explicitly target via either SEO or PPC.
Now, some will be concerned over a lack of control — remember, DSA takes over picking your keywords, landing pages and even writes the ads for you automatically — is it really a good idea to just hand everything over to AdWords like this?
This was a pretty big issue with the old version of this system. In the new system, Google is trying to get ahead of these concerns with tools that will show you examples of queries your ads will appear on, what those ads might look like, and the landing pages they’ll send traffic to.
You can also see the recommended bid for each category, which is based on the performance of your similar keywords for similar search queries.
Google promises it takes just 10 minutes to set up your first Dynamic Search Ads campaign, and they’ve already done a global rollout.
Give it a try. This new way of driving PPC traffic to your site content may even have the potential to help you improve your Quality Scores, because Google is already choosing the most relevant queries for you and their creating the ads.
As we all know, that quality and relevance is key to your winning better placement at a lower cost.
See how the new DSA works and how to get started in this video from Google:
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