The Importance of Keyword Choice In A Sluggish Economy

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Feeling the pinch? Along with appropriate ad text, keyword choice predetermines a lot about the success of a campaign and how expensive, or economical, it will grow to be. Imagine you had to describe your company in just three words. Now write those three words down and ask your clients the same question. The likelihood is that the words and phrases used will be different. The anomalies in keyword choice even from this small exercise can make all the difference between success and failure, low cost and inordinately expensive.

An existing or potential client will get straight to the point, keeping phrasing simple and using popular brand names rather than trade monikers or actual product descriptions. As an expert in the field, technical terms and trade references will feature heavily in the company list. Choosing appropriate keywords for your pay-per-click campaign should be a seamless blend of these two points of view. If client keywords don’t feature in the company list, chances are our pay-per-click campaign is failing to reach a good proportion of its target traffic.

Along with good advert text, keyword selection is the cornerstone of any successful online advertising campaign. As a rule of thumb, keywords contained with the account should be revisited on a regular basis. After all, what is popular one week may not be popular the next. Seasonal changes, market saturation and competitor activities will all take their toll. When this happens, keywords will need to be paused, added to or amended depending on client and sales figure feedback.

The first step towards a concise collection of words and phrases is to review website content and draw up a list of words and phrases which best describe the business. Include products, services and any brand names which you supply. This brainstorming process can be complemented by a customer survey. How do they describe their recent purchases?

Unfortunately, most of these hard won phrases should be disregarded as you proceed to step two. Why waste valuable pay-per-click pennies on phrases that don’t do your website justice? Being ruthless and activating only the most relevant keywords will help to prolong a small pay per click budget and is an important traffic targeting technique.

Once satisfied with the list, group the words and phrases into small collections. Not only does this make it easier to monitor performance and quickly see which keywords aren’t pulling their weight, it contributes towards a strong Google quality score. If the search portal sees large groups of unrelated offerings, some of which perform well and others poorly, it will penalize the campaign as a whole. Get it right and you’ll get Google quality score points, leading to a lower cost per click and a better search position.

Having created a slew of words and phrases most relevant to the site being advertised, play around with the category of keyword. Google allows you to use either broad, exact, phrase or negative matches.

When your keyword is broad-matched, it will trigger your ad whenever that keyword or similar term appears in a user’s query. This means that your ad will still appear even if other words are included in the query. Broad matched keywords also don’t distinguish between plural and singular search terms so your ad will be shown regardless of the syntax used by the searcher. If for example your broad match keyword is “book,” users typing in terms such as “used book” or “latest books” will be shown your ad.

For precise keyword targeting, it’s worth using an exact match or phrase match. Use exact matches when you want your ad to appear only on a query that precisely matches the keyword you have chosen. With an exact match, your ad won’t appear for search queries that include extra words or letters or for queries that don’t match the sequence of terms specified in your campaign. A phrase match works in a similar vein, triggering your ad for any search query that includes your keyword or phrase in the exact sequence and form that you specify.

Even after you’ve selected your keywords, set up ad groups and introduced keyword matching, the job still isn’t done. Good pay-per-click campaigns need constant care and attention to perform at their best. That means assessing keyword performance and acting accordingly at regular intervals. If time constraints rear their head but you still want to have a pay per click presence, consider enlisting professional help or downsizing the campaign until more man power is available.

About the Author

Rebecca is the managing director of search engine optimization agency Dakota Digital a full-service agency offering SEO, online PR, web copywriting, media relationship management, and social media strategy. Rebecca works directly with each client to increase online visibility, brand profile, and search engine rankings. She has headed a number of international campaigns for large brands.

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4 Comments

  1. I would also recommend improving keyword themed landing pages, and using PPC to test keyword conversion performance for organic optimization. With shrinking marketing budgets, it’s a perfect time to squeeze every conversion possible from your landing pages. With a little HTML knowledge you can clone an existing page, and then simply change some copy and graphics. Adding a few new pages that are highly relevant to the keywords and ad copy in your campaign can really help conversion rates. Although consumer searches in most verticals appear to be down, organic search engine optimization is as important as ever. I argue that’s its more important now with smaller marketing budgets. However optimizing for poorly converting keywords can cost you months of hard work, not to mention tons of business. By measuring conversions on your current paid keywords, as well as testing new variations, you can isolate the top performers and optimize with confidence. Thanks, Ryan Adami

  2. I think it is also worth noting that now is the time to keep closer to your core converting and targeted keywords. Straying farther from your main conversions just to generate additional traffic is not recommended. If you are a hotel, stick to hotel keywords and eliminate lower converting keywords like lodging and accommodations. If you are a local business stick to targeting your city over a larger metro targeting.

  3. What kind of tips can you give me for my site. I am just getting started so I could use any advice. Thank you.

  4. Once the appropriate keywords are selected, You must have a suitable landing page for the keyword else all the hard work will go down the drain. For example if your advt. has the terms special offer the landing page must have the special offer on it