Yesterday I visited my local independent bookstore, the Regulator, down on 9th Street in Durham, hoping to see some copies of AdWords For Dummies on the shelves.
I haven’t been to a bookstore since AdWords For Dummies was released, so I was kind of nervous. Luckily, there were two copies in the store, so I didn’t make a scene. And my 11-year-old daughter dragged me away before I could start asking store patrons if they wanted my autograph.
What makes this experience blog-worthy is the location of the book. As you can see in the photo, it’s prominently displayed next to – Your Career in Nursing.
Now, all issues of quality and content aside, which book looks more visually appealing? It’s the nursing book, right? Because you can see the entire front cover. Me, you just get a spine. Two spines. Right next to iWoz, the book by the Apple founder nobody remembers.
Now, in a chain bookstore that sort of placement would never be accidental. The books that show more skin generally pay for the privilege, and for some reason Wiley was not willing to fork over hundreds of thousands of dollars to get special cardboard displays of AdWords For Dummies in every Borders and Barnes & Noble in the English-speaking world. In this case, I suspect the stocking clerk thought the cover was nicer, or maybe figured that since everyone in Durham is involved in health care one way or another ("Durham, City of Medicine"), the nursing book would be a hotter sell.
You get a similar effect on the Google search results page (SERP, we’ll call it except at the dinner table where that kind of language would be rude.) The organic results grab some text off your page. Google decides what to show. Look at a sample organic result on the keyword adwords consultant:
The headline is fine – probably his title tag. But look at the text Google has chosen. Not very compelling. Probably not the first thing Brian wants you to know about him if you’re looking for a consultant. Now look at a typical paid listing:
Much more targeted message, even though it’s considerably shorter. The moral of the story: your AdWords ad is the spine of your book. Your organic ad (if you can get it and keep on SERP page 1) is like a more or less random page of your book. Make sure your spine sells enough to get the searcher to click and pull your ad off the shelf.