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Do Keywords Even Matter Anymore?

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In a digital world, all questions can be answered with a few simple words and a search engine. Anytime, anywhere, searchers are able to evaluate, browse and visit solutions based on the keywords they use.

So why is this important to digital marketers? Whether it’s for pay-per-click of search engine optimization purposes, it is imperative to be visible for keywords that pertain to your business.

But where do you even begin? Keyword research is a huge undertaking, but when done properly it can be highly beneficial to your marketing ventures. The following are  a few tools and best practices when researching keywords.

Research The Client/Website

Whenever you’re looking for keyword inspiration, a great place to start is examining the website. Especially for pay-per-click campaigns, looking at product/service pages can help you gain insight on topic areas that are important to your business.

Finding generic nomenclature within existing content will give you a great starting place for further research. Once you’ve built a list of generic terms, organize them based on topic. Once these terms are specifically bucketed, think of synonyms that consumers may use for these words. For example, “running shoes” can also be queried as “jogging sneakers” among several others. Expanding on synonyms allows for keyword strategies to broaden your reach to in-market customers.

Size Up The Competition

Once you’ve found some of these terms, enter search queries on a search engine and see what pops up. Look at both organic and paid search rankings for each query and evaluate the number of search ads that appear.

Typically, the more ads you see for a given term, the more competition you’ll encounter. Depending on your budget for paid search, these terms might exhaust your budget and limit your exposure. From an SEO perspective, see where your website comes into play with each term. Again, more general terms are going to be more competitive and may be more difficult to increase rankings for. Furthermore, this stage allows you to step into the shoes of the consumer and see what pops up whenever you type a variety of solutions.

keyword-planner.pngUtilize Refining Tools

At this point, you have a solid list of terms that are highly relevant to your website and goals. Now it’s time to evaluate hard data for each term before taking the plunge. Search volume, competition, click data and suggested bids are all huge factors when selecting keywords for your PPC campaign or invested time in content.

My go-to tool is Google AdWords’ very own Keyword Planner. In an instant, you can copy and paste your keyword list to find all projections in search volume, competition, and even suggested bid. Generally, this can give you an idea of what keywords are worth keeping and which should be culled. From there, you can begin building ad groups and placing relevant keywords into those ad groups.

Find Long-tail Keyword Opportunities And Negative Keywords

At this point, you’ve probably created several keyword ad groups and have even launched your first campaign. Now it’s time to refine your keyword strategy and find opportunities to optimize your campaigns.

One of the best ways to do that is by pulling a search terms report. This shows verbatim the search queries people used that triggered your ad and led to a click. Essentially, this is the best way to identify long-tail keyword opportunities. Typically, these queries have low competition and lead to effective targeting.

On the other hand, a search terms report also helps you identify negative keyword opportunities. These are words in a query that don’t pertain to your product/service. If you’re an online business that sells products, then you probably don’t want your ad to show up when people are searching for “free” products. However, an aggressive keyword strategy when used improperly can actually limit impressions and conversion opportunities.

In conclusion, as many SEM managers know, keyword research never really ends. Every week new negative and long-tail keywords should be added to further manicure your ad groups and campaigns.

But whether you’re keyword researching for a campaign or an upcoming blog series, the goal is to better understand your potential customers and what they seek. By taking the time to properly research and plan, you’re setting up for a long-term successful marketing strategy.


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