It’s easy to think that formulating a keyword strategy begins and ends with keyword research, but don’t be misled – while extensive keyword research is essential to developing your strategy, it’s just one key on the keychain. What else do you need to unlock a winning strategy?
Define your goals.
Goals inform strategy. Are you aiming for more impressions to boost brand awareness? Are you striving for conversions? For many marketers, the answer is “I want both.” The way to accomplish both is to divide your goals by relative importance. Devote, say, 95% of keywords to conversion campaigns and 5% to brand awareness campaigns, and group them accordingly.
Within each campaign, organize keywords into related groups to help visualize your PPC account structure and focus copywriting. This helps avoid keyword cannibalization and leads to more targeted and relevant ads. It also improves quality scores and lowers expense, while helping you create content optimized for keywords that improve organic search results and increases content relevance.
Divide keywords by topic and intent. Topics are easily recognized, but intent is tougher to discern. It can be defined by three common types of searchers: Destination Seekers want a particular web page; Information Seekers want to learn more about a topic; Deal Seekers want to make a purchase.
Focus on intent to deliver a relevant experience. All keywords in an ad group result in the display of the same ads, so ensure each ad group and all keywords in the related keyword group speak to the same topic and intent. Aim for 10 to 12 keywords per ad group, and ensure each contains at least eight. Campaigns themselves should have five or less ad groups and each ad group should have three ads or less.
Look at the numbers.
There are many metrics to consider when choosing keywords to target, and a number of free keyword research tools you can use. Among the most important metrics is search volume, or the quantity of searches conducted for a particular keyword. High-volume keywords are good for branding purposes, where visibility in search results matters more than the click-through. You also should always include relevant high-volume keywords in high-quality, relevant content (it doesn’t cost anything and improves SEO).
Yet while high-volume terms can attract more referral traffic, they’re highly competitive (and costly) when it comes to PPC. Using them without any restrictions or modifiers will blow through your budget. With PPC, conversions are often considered the primary goal. If you’re trying to get people to take immediate action such as making a purchase, filling out a form, or downloading a whitepaper, long-tail (high-intent) keywords work best.
The conversion rate is a big PPC keyword metric. The keywords you choose must be indicative of the content of the page you’re directing traffic to in order to boost conversions. Users who don’t find what they need simply boost the bounce rate.
Examine the path converting users take to get to your site. What are your best-performing keywords along that path? Which keywords drive traffic, and what amount of that traffic contributes to your goals? Alternatively, look at the keywords that drive traffic and match them to the appropriate pages. Do you have the information these searchers seek? Does their search reveal intent that suggests your ads should link to points deeper in the sales funnel, or to topic-specific pages?
Conduct your own searches.
To how your organization is being represented in the wild, and see what your competitors are doing, conduct searches using your selected keywords. This gives you a look at their strategies – and what your strategy should be.
Specifically, what are your competitors doing? How are they framing the discussion around particular keywords, and capturing the essence of – or even influencing – intent? Your searches can help you discover content gaps your competitors exploit at your expense.
Examine featured snippets that you can respond to with your PPC campaign, or with your own structured data markup efforts. Look at local search results too, and ponder how your company fits in this landscape.
Conduct this exercise with the most popular, top-of-mind keywords (those you might consider for your branding campaigns), but don’t stop there. Examine results for long-tail keywords and negative keywords (words you don’t want your ad appearing for). Good PPC campaigns leverage these two types of keywords to reduce costs and increase conversion rates.
These simple tactics can start you on the path to success. By defining your goals, grouping keywords, examining metrics and conducting your own searches, you’ll have four keys to formulating a keyword strategy and unlocking untapped marketing potential.
4 Keys to Keyword Strategy
was written by me, Greg Norton – also known as webzenkai. I’ve got more than two decades’ experience building effective websites and powerful email campaigns that yield results. Feel free to contact me regarding this article or anything else you find on this website.