Hey, when you’re advertising using google’s AdWords, you’d think that the actual search terms — you know, the words your actually advertising on — would be kind of important.

 

And you’d be right. They are important, which is why the primary keywords are a main part of almost every winning headline.

 

But what about the body of the headline? It’s often said to be best practice to repeat the keyword usage at least once in the body copy, either on the first or second headline.

 

Then again, it’s also best practice to provide deal sweateners, risk reversals, official site claims, and so on.

 

So when do you repeat the keywords, and when do you try to add more persuasive oomph to the message?

 

Well, it helps to test. That way you can be sure. But one rule of thumb that I’ve formulated after looking at thousands of test results is this:

 

Always answer the primary buying motivation and/or over-riding customer concern.

 

What that means is that if the searcher is clear that you have what they want after one use of the keyword, then don’t worry about repeating it. Instead worry about addressing key buying concerns. If the searcher is not quite sure that you really have what they want from just the headline, then definitely repeat your use of the keyword to provide greater clarity.

 

Here’s a nice example of this rule in action:

 

PPC ad tips

If you’re searching on “modern furniture” and the headline says “modern furniture,” you’re pretty sure that they have furniture and that it meets some definition of modern. The only question is what sense of modern: modern as in mid-century, high-design modern, or as in contemporary? And if it’s modern as in “designer” modern, then the question becomes, at what price point? Are you selling Eames lounge chairs for $5K a piece or an Ikea-like danish modern coffee table for $150 or so?

 

So you’ll notice that the winning ad choses NOT to repeat the “modern furniture” keyword phrase and instead addresses the price concern, while also giving a nod to the type of modern. Meanwhile the losing ad repeats the keywords, while failing to address any further buyer concerns.

 

So the tip from the boosters is this: hit the keyword in the headline, use the body copy to address buyer motivations and concerns. Sometimes you’ll have to repeat the keyword to re-assure the searcher that, yes, you really do have what she is looking for. But oftentimes, moving onto other buying motives and concerns is the better bet.