Panning for Keyword Gold

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I think all marketers and business owners understand the value of keyword selection. Obviously, paid search is all about “buying keywords.” However, keyword selection plays an even more crucial and integral role to pay-per-click performance than many may fully comprehend. The significance of keyword selection integrates across many layers of pay-per-click performance including:

  1. Targeting specific consumer audiences
  2. Building relevant communication
  3. Defining a PPC campaign’s “per click” cost structure
  4. Setting performance tracking requirements
  5. Establishing competitive parity
  6. Generating early buying stage exposures (branding)

First, the keywords a company selects defines the target audience they will expose their brand to. For example, my company provides lead generation for a number of franchise concepts. Our objective is to generate qualified leads (potential buyers) for the clients’ franchise sales teams.

Based on keyword selection, we can access different audiences from general franchise opportunity seekers, to a specific type of franchise seeker (e.g. home-based,) to a specific business type (e.g. senior care, business coaching) and/or to a specific brand. Each level exposes my client’s offering to a different audience and each audience has varying degrees of intention. Therefore, the way ads are written, the manner in which the value propositions are communicated and even how the copy, design and call-to-actions are developed for the landing pages are driven by the keyword selections.

Second, building relevant communication from keyword to ad to landing page is driven by the keyword. Like targeting your audience, your selected keywords must also be relevant to your product or service. For example, choosing the keyword “free real estate book” for a website that sells a real estate book is not relevant. In this case, keyword selection would involve adding “free” as a negative or excluded keyword.

Third, keyword selection plays a pivotal role in defining click costs (including budgetary requirements.) Balancing matching options, words versus phrases, and general versus niche keyword selections to accurately segment your audience enables you to improve quality scores (a measure of relevance as perceived by the search engines,) find less competitive “niche” keywords, and expand impression exposures within your budget parameters (e.g. synch to Google’s recommended daily budget.) In essence, the more precise your keyword selection, the better you will be able to improve your cost per click basis.

I will explain the final three in my next post.

About the Author

Kevin Gold is Director of Internet Marketing at iNET Interactive, a social media company operating prominent online communities for technology professionals and technology enthusiasts. Kevin is a frequent contributing author to multiple publications including Search Marketing Standard, Practical eCommerce, DIRECT, Entrepreneur.com, ConversionChronicles.com, About.com, and On Target (Yahoo! Search Marketing newsletter).

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