What the top 20 paying Google AdWords keywords tell us about our society

“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed”
– Mahatma Gandhi

I was reading a post on Search Engine Land the other day that gave a list of the top 20 paying Google AdWords keywords. Because I’m a blogger and because I have a couple of other sites some of which make me a few schekels from AdSense I try to keep up with the goings on of Google and other search engine marketing strategies.

But the following list that I’ll add in a minute got me thinking about how these top 20 most expensive AdWords keywords really tell us a lot about our society. I’d be very curious if you wanted to share your thoughts with me @oneplateonebowl on Twitter.

So without further ado, here are the top 20 best paying or most costly Google AdWords according to this article:

  1. Insurance
  2. Loans
  3. Mortgage
  4. Attorney
  5. Credit
  6. Lawyer
  7. Donate
  8. Degree
  9. Hosting
  10. Claim
  11. Conference Call
  12. Trading
  13. Software
  14. Recovery
  15. Transfer
  16. Gas/Electricity
  17. Classes
  18. Rehab
  19. Treatment
  20. Cord Blood

I find this list of AdWords keywords quite telling. These keywords will cost you anywhere from around $43.77CAD for “parents guide to cord blood banking” to $61.97CAD for “get car insurance quote online” at least according to Google’s own AdWords Keyword Tool as I checked just now.

So these are some pricey keywords to be bidding on if you are an advertiser, and lucrative keywords to write about if you are a publisher. In fact as a publisher you will get 68% of the advertiser’s cost for those keywords. However, I need to add a small caveat here. If you write an article titled “A parent’s guide to cord blood banking” you won’t necessarily be featuring ads always related to “cord blood” and those ads won’t always pay $40 or so. The reasons for this are beyond the scope of this article.

Anyway, back to the original list of keywords. What do these top 20 highest cost keywords from Google tell me about our society? Well, for me it speaks to a society that is off the rails. A society that is broken and hurt and perhaps focused on the wrong values.

All of those 20 keywords except for perhaps 3 or so of them are what I’d call selfish keywords. They’re about the I, about me and not about the larger group of us. That’s not necessarily always bad. Indeed, if our own needs are not met, how can we ever hope to help others. Nevertheless, these selfish keywords are more than meeting our needs, perhaps I could be so bold as to say a lot of them are about meeting our greeds?

Insurance is always needed and arguably a good thing for society at large. But under our current economic difficulties, are loans and mortgages helpful. So many folks are seeking loans because they have likely over reached and a lot of that over reaching is from mortgages that perhaps in saner times we wouldn’t have gotten. I’m not blaming folks individually, our society is built to encourage greed and consumption. It is very difficult to buck that trend.

And how about lawyers or attorneys, arguably lawyers play an important role in some small areas of society, but the keywords here related to lawyers are perhaps not helpful to society in some ways. An example of the higher paying keywords under the broad category of lawyer include “personal injury lawyer” and “dui defense attorney”.

Except for perhaps “cord blood” and “donate”, all the top paying AdSense keywords seem very insular and id focused in their nature. Cord blood is about the family, an important aspect of a civil society and “donate” is largely about car donations which are helpful, but I can’t help thinking we’re donating cars so we can buy better ones or bigger ones, rather than giving up our cars or downsizing our cars.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the top keywords were “love”, “peace” and “compassion”. Now I’m not naive enough to suggest that the should be the top paying keywords, but rather, wouldn’t it be wonderful if those were the search terms coming up in the top. Reminding us about a life well lived, rather than a life well bought.

Perhaps that’s the overarching theme amongst these top 20 paying keywords from Google. The theme that we are still a very me focused society and we’re still very much a materialistic and self-serving and consuming society. Not all of us and not all the time, but that article on those top paying keywords got me thinking about the journey we still need to make, perhaps the road we have just started upon. A road towards peace and compassion, empathy and enrichment.