Many search engine marketing professionals may differ with the notion that keywords were, are, and probably will remain the backbone of any search engine marketing campaign initiated anywhere around the world. No doubt in online marketing world content is the king and that keyword stuffing, as a practice, died nearly a decade back. Yet, fact remains that it’s essential to include keywords naturally in every content piece intended to be used in any SEM activity.
So what are the various essentials of keyword research in the context of SEM? what makes keyword research the backbone of Search Engine Marketing? This tutorial tries to find answers to all such questions.
Index: Keyword Research in SEM
General users enter queries in search engines to find information they need. Marketers identify queries relevant to them and map them with keywords. These keywords are then used to create content for the landing pages, ad copies and other elements of SEM.
In addition, keyword research also helps to identify “Negative Keywords” which are irrelevant terms that are highly unlikely to result in conversions.
For instance if your prime business is to sell cakes, cake recipes is a negative keyword for you.
Here is an example of how this exercise works:
Here the user intends to look for hotels near his present location. In online marketing terms this intention of the user is called “Search Intent.”
2. Other more specific queries related to the one above that the user can enter are:
3. Marketers identify these queries and map them with keywords such as:
4. These keywords are then tested on keyword tools such as The AHrefs Keyword Explorer or the Free Keyword Tool of WordStream to check for parameters like volume of traffic these keywords may generate or competition they may have from other companies, etc. Ideally, look for keywords with high volume and medium competition.
5. Once the keywords most relevant for your campaigns are identified, get the content created around them.
Before we move further, let’s understand how many keyword types are there and what sets them apart from each other.
A lot has been written about types of keywords and you may find a lot of categorizations about the same. As per Google there are four such keyword types, and here, we will go with what one of the pioneers of ad campaigns has in store for us:
Broad Match Keywords: Keywords that serve broad intent of a query are called broad match keywords. Ads show on searches that may or may not have all or even a few words that make up these keywords. The ad type is broad as it allows your ad to match the widest range of possible keyword searches.
For instance if you sell cakes and pastries, the ad will show for butterscotch cakes, chocolate cakes, eggless pineapple cakes, éclairs pastries, eggless chocolate pastries and many others.
But what if you only sell eggless cakes and pastries? Keywords like butterscotch cakes or chocolate cakes may or may not match your portfolio of offerings. How this problem can be fixed? The solution is Negative Keywords.
Negative Keywords: As discussed briefly in the previous section, negative keywords let you exclude terms from your campaigns.
Careful analysis of negative keywords will put your ad in front of only customers who are interested in your products. So, while searching for negative keywords look for search terms that are similar to relevant keywords but might not cater to customers looking for your products.
For instance, a customer looking to buy a chocolate cake will not find ads related to cake making lessons relevant so cake making lessons as the search term can be placed in a negative keyword list.
Phrase Match Keywords: Phrases that match the search of the users, exactly, plus any words that come before or after the search phrase. These also include misspellings, plural forms, abbreviations, paraphrases, reordered words, etc.
For instance, the user looking for “chocolate cakes near me,” will also get results related to “eggless chocolate cakes near me,” along with “chocolate cakes near me. “ Similarly “shops delivering chocolate cakes” will also match “shops delivering chocolate cakes open,” along with “shops delivering chocolate cakes.”
Exact Match Keywords: Phrases that exactly match the search of the users. Again, these also include misspellings, plural forms, abbreviations, paraphrases, reordered words, etc.
For instance 4K television as a phrase will match 4K televsion, 4K television, 4K televisions, 4K TV, and television 4K resolution.
Once the keywords are identified, next step is to group them logically and create a cohesive account structure. Elements of a typical account structure that search engines like Google and Bing use are:
Ad Campaigns: Are categories of similar products. For instance for a bakery and confectionary shop, ad campaigns can be Cakes & Pastries, Breads, Biscuits & Cookies, Candies, Snacks, etc.
Ad Groups: Ad groups further categorize ad campaigns. For example: Cakes and pasties group can have Cheese Cakes, Pound Cakes, Tea Cakes, Butter Cakes and Chiffon Cakes etc. Similarly, the ad group can have Potato Wedges, Cultets, Noodles, etc. as ad groups.
Keywords: Based on the ad groups explained above, keywords are identified. For instance Noodles can have keywords likebest chicken noodles near me, spicy paneer noodles near me, etc. and Cheese cakes can have keywords like Cheap Blueberry Cheese Cake, New York Cheese Cake 2 Kms Away, Orio Cheese Cake Below 500.
Ad Text: A form of a communication advertisers use to promote their products.
An ad text includes:
You can have up to two ad descriptions of 90 characters each.
Landing Page: Is the page where the user gets directed to when the user clicks on the URL. The content team creates the landing pages in which they use the keywords given to them by marketers.
Keywords form the backbone of SEM. While identifying the keywords relevant to your ad campaigns care needs to be placed on how users search the web for what they are looking for. Along with a plethora of keyword tools available for the marketers to deploy, they can also look at Related Searches at the bottom of search engine result pages (SERPs) as well as keyword suggestions that pop up when users enter the query in the search bar on the search engine.