Every time someone executes a search, they’re asking a question.
They search because they want to learn about something. Or find out where something is. Or discover who has it or knows about it.
They may just be curious. Or the question may have been provoked by an urgent problem. The question could be simple or complex and the searcher might be sophisticated or naive.
But every search is a question.
Search engines deliver answers. They look at the word or words in the search box, assume or infer the question being asked, and then put together a list of potential answers to that question.
Paid search is your chance to offer your answer as a part of that list.
This simple truth – people are asking questions and you’re trying to answer them – is a great way to frame the process of managing paid search accounts.
It makes clear the fact that every step you take along the way should help to either target better questions, deliver better answers, or ensure that you pay a reasonable price for the privilege.
There are many complicated aspects of managing paid search. Accounts are large and business conditions change rapidly. There are confusing options, evolving algorithms, and aggressive competitors. This isn’t going to be easy.
But it’s nice to have a simple mental model to guide us: We’re just trying to answer questions.