Image courtesy of Flickr user edrethink (http://www.flickr.com/photos/edrethink/)

Twerking, the downfall of Search Engine Marketing?

Yes, we just used the word twerking to get your attention. Guess what? It worked.

You’re reading this blog post and probably regretting it. As they say down south, “bless your heart” because this post is just getting started. Evidently twerking is some sort of hip new dance move that was demonstrated by Billy Ray Cyrus’s kid. Our achy breaky hearts go out to horrified parents.

Twerking is clearly a hot term right now. Searches are coming down from all kinds of sources on Google.

To the uninitiated this may seem like an easy (albeit temporary) trend to capitalize on. What if your nonprofit, which advocates for protecting endangered species, were to bid on this term for the low average CPC of $0.06 (according to the Keyword Planner tool as of today)? After all, your goal is to raise awareness of your cause and put your message in front of folks who have never heard of your organization. Seems logical. You would get yourself a few thousand impressions a day and maybe even a few email addresses from people who like your cause while America still pays attention to Miley Cyrus.

Veterans in the industry call this the Britney Spears method. If you were a plumber in New York City, you could target your local area, bid on Britney Spears and get in front of enough people to get at least one or two inquiries per day. By playing the numbers game you brought in new business.

But Google caught on eventually. See, they aim to offer users high-quality search results. If someone is “Googling” Britney Spears, they want to see results about America’s former pop princess – not about plumbers in New York City. Soon enough Google made it a policy to kill a kitten every time someone bid on an irrelevant term. Actually that’s not true at all, but we need to make sure you’re still paying attention. In fact Google did put strategies in place to prevent AdWords users from using methods like this. The AdRank system will make sure you pay a hefty CPC if you want to get clicks from those highly searched terms that have nothing to do with your organization. So essentially, it’s a search engine marketing fail.

So stick with choosing keywords that are relevant to your nonprofit. A good rule of thumb is to use content from your website as a guide. Remember, don’t bid on twerking!