Cathleen on What Does Google Really Know?

The following is a guest post by Creative Director Cathleen Ouderkirk on the challenges of creating and executing a Google AdWords campaign.

When recently working on an AdWords campaign for our book on due diligence (keyword), The AMA Handbook of Due Diligence, I was shocked to discover how truly smart Google is.

While pondering this due diligence guide (keyword!), a comprehensive source (keyword) of forms, questions, and questionnaires (keyword, keyword, keyword), I believed that I had come up with every possible way to describe the contents of this professional guide. (Okay, I’ll stop with the “keywords” but maybe my keyword-stuffing in the first two sentences will garner us some search hits!)

I perused every single page of this 800+ page tome and got a pretty good sense of the contents. After deciding that I knew all there was to know about the book and how an attorney might search for it, I confidently began writing search ads—-describing the book as “a due diligence Bible,” “a comprehensive resource,” “a guidebook with over 400 forms.” (It literally does have over 400 forms. You could probably determine what brand of toilet paper a corporation purchases with one of the supply chain forms.)

At the last minute before launching the ad campaign, I remembered that my great professor at NYU, Ben Kirshner, had spent a lot of time talking about the Keyword Tool. For those still innocent to the AdWords world, it’s a way to see the specific phrases people have used when searching for some-thing. It also tells you how many searches have run for each phrase (so you see which are the most popular).

At any rate I boldly typed in “due diligence forms” and presto, up came hundreds of variations and related phrases. At the top of the list, garnering many more searches than any other phrase was “due diligence checklists.”

Checklists. Checklists?

But that’s so lightweight! So “tips-and-techniques-ish.” So, well, cheap-sounding. The AMA Handbook of Due Diligence is a $295 book — you can’t say it’s a source of “checklists!” Nevertheless, I decided to test the wisdom of Google, and wrote one extra ad with the headline “400 due diligence checklists.”

And I must humbly report that the “checklists” ad dramatically out-pulled any other ad I ran by a factor of ten.

Okay. Yes. Google knows.

Cathleen Ouderkirk is Creative Director here at AMACOM. With us for over 20 years, she started as a copywriter and then moved to producing catalogs, sales sheets, and direct mail pieces, before moving on to design. After secretly designing on her own book jackets and showing them to the acquisition editors, her work evolved into overseeing all of our jackets today. Visit our website for freelance design inquiries.


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