Think of keywords as magnets. They’re common objects that can simultaneously attract one thing and repel another. And that’s a powerful force, particularly when it comes to successful search engine advertising.
A WebVisible review of 551 advertising campaigns found that keywords directly influence how many leads are generated for every advertising dollar spent. So, how can you use the magnetism of keywords to pull in the visitors you want—and turn them into real leads?
The trick is to first understand how different search phrases operate. Here are some tips to get you started:
1. Attract with long tail keywords.
They’re precise, detailed, and the perfect fit for your desired audience. That means they’ll draw better qualified leads, i.e., people who are more likely to contact you or provide contact information because they have a real need for your service or product.
So what are long tail keywords? Simply put, they’re the search phrases your ideal prospect would use to track down a service like yours.
To identify the most effective ones, hone in on niche markets using clear, specific terms. For example, think “small retail business web design” instead of just “web design,” or “guided city walking tours Chicago” instead of simply “Chicago tours.”
WebVisible’s research found that campaigns using 41 to 50 long tail keywords saw a significantly higher number of leads per budget dollar than those that used only 1 to 30. Among campaigns with a $1,000 monthly budget, those with 41-50 long tail keywords returned an average of 10 more leads per month than those on the lower end.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you can substitute quantity for quality. When it comes to generating leads, a campaign with 35 high-quality search phrases is worth more than 50 ill-fitting ones. Invest in your marketing upfront by taking the time to identify long tail keywords that truly speak to your audience.
2. Repel with negative keywords.
While attracting the right people is critical, there are always a few visitors you don’t want showing up at your site. This might include visitors who represent a less profitable or more time-consuming part of your business, for example. Negative keywords can help deter them.
These keywords prevent ads from being shown to the wrong audience and reduce the number of clicks from mismatched leads. An attorney looking to attract Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases, for example, might use “child custody” and “divorce” as negative keywords to ward off family law cases.
WebVisible found that campaigns with the highest number of leads per campaign dollar used between 1 to 5 negative keywords, combined with the right number of long tail keywords. Among campaigns with a monthly budget of $1,000, those using 1-5 negative keywords reported an average of 10 more leads per month than those without negative keywords.
That said, be sure to strike a delicate balance with negative keywords. Throw in too many and you could end up cutting down leads unnecessarily. Instead, use them sparingly and pair with plenty of high-quality long tail keywords.
3. Beware dangerous keywords.
Oftentimes you can predict how magnets will work, but sometimes you come across ones that operate in a completely unexpected way. These are your dangerous keywords: popular search terms that get lots of clicks but rarely lead to results. WebVisible found an average campaign has four dangerous keywords that consume up to 22 percent of the budget but deliver less than 3 percent of the conversions to leads.
Dangerous words are popular to searchers and often show up at the top of search engine analytics rankings, which means advertisers often pay top dollar for them. But what happens after the click? How many conversions—follow-up phone calls, form fills, e-mails, or text messages—are really being generated?
Before you dole out your budget on popular keywords, consider the big picture. Study your company’s historical conversion data or enlist the help of an experienced search-engine marketing firm to test whether these words are worth the expense.
4. Heed the magnetic forces.
Keywords are a powerful tool, particularly if you understand how they attract and repel. Optimizing your words can drive leads to your site just as much as writing compelling ad copy or having a special offer on your landing page.
To make your campaign a success, know the types of keywords you’re dealing with—and choose wisely.