Granted by Google

Have you searched for the name of an MP, or a phrase asking how to campaign, in the last few weeks? You might have noticed that there are adverts on Google for WriteToThem, HearFromYourMP, TheyWorkForYou and PledgeBank. These only appear in the UK.

Google have donated these adverts for free via their Google Grants programme. Yay Google! Anna, one of our volunteers, is busy adding suitable keywords, and optimising advertisement text. Thank you, Anna.

Obviously, we want to use this to help people who are searching for services like ours, but don’t know it, find those services. We’ve got quite good Google juice, so for keywords like “write to your mp” WriteToThem is already the top hit. Ones like “mp” and “local mp” we’re in the top few hits anyway, so the adverts just make WriteToThem slightly more prominent.

Much more important are cases where we’re currently not listed at all. For example, if you search for “councillors” you don’t get WriteToThem, even though the word is quite prominent on WriteToThem’s front page. The first hit* is pretty good, but has a page title and text which don’t mean much in the Google search results. Hopefully the text “Who are my councillors?” in the WriteToThem advert will help more.

Anna is also playing with adverts for every MP’s name, linking to their TheyWorkForYou page. And we’ve got some interesting PledgeBank ones. For example, try searching for “residents association“. Let us know if you have more ideas for specific PledgeBank uses like that.

You can help out. If you spot a keyword which we ought to have an advert for, but don’t, then please let us know. This is a very important part of usability for a website. If people can’t find it, don’t even get to it when they are looking for it, then it isn’t a very usable site.


*ETA, 2013:  councillor dot gov dot uk – now a dead link


  1. I was wondering about that. Are the location features good enough in the UK to even get city level? The last person I asked said that they weren’t, but I’ve no hard evidence.

  2. Thanks for the suggestions…

    — I’ve seen the WordTracker tool before (and the Overture keyword tool, which is similar: but neither are as comprehensive as the Google Keywords tool (
    — The location features are tricky. While Google claim to be able to pinpoint ads very precisely (within a set radius of a place/postcode, or any area specified by co-ordinates on the UK map) you can only specify a location at the “campaign” level. We are only allowed 25 campaigns for all our sites – so can’t do anything too precise here.
    — I’ve added a new set of “tenants’ assocation” and “tenants’ group” keywords for PledgeBank – thanks Antonia!