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Keywords: The Foundation of Search Engine Marketing

Keywords are the foundation of search engine marketing. As users enter keywords (as part of search queries) into search engines to find what they’re looking for, it should come as little surprise that keywords form the basis of search engine marketing as an advertising strategy.

SEM Keyword Research

Before you can choose which keywords to use in your search engine marketing campaigns, you need to conduct comprehensive research as part of your keyword management strategy.

First, you need to identify keywords that are relevant to your business and that prospective customers are likely to use when searching for your products and services. One way to accomplish this is by using WordStream’s Free Keyword Tool.

Simply enter a keyword that’s relevant to your business or service, and see related keyword suggestion ideas that can form the basis of various search engine marketing campaigns.

WordStream’s Free Keyword Tool provides you with a range of valuable information, such as search volume for each individual keyword in Google and its general competitiveness.

 

 

 

In addition to helping you find keywords you should be bidding on, thorough keyword research can also help you identify negative keywords – search terms that you should exclude from your campaigns. Negative keywords aren’t terms with negative connotations, but rather irrelevant terms that are highly unlikely to result in conversions. For example, if you sell ice cream, you might want to exclude the keyword “ice cream recipes”, as users searching for ice cream recipes are unlikely to be in the market for your product.

This concept is known as search intent, or the likelihood that a prospect will complete a purchase or other desired action after searching for a given term. Some keywords are considered to have high commercial intent, or a strong indication that the searcher wants to buy something. Examples of high commercial intent keywords include:

  • Buy
  • Discount(s)
  • Deal(s)
  • Coupon(s)
  • Free shipping

Read more about commercial intent keywords in this blog post.

 

Keywords and Account Structure

 

Another crucial aspect of keywords that is essential for the success of a search engine marketing campaign is account structure.

Logical keyword grouping and account structure can help you achieve higher click-through rates, lower costs-per-click, and generally stronger overall performance, and keyword research can help you think about how to best structure your account.

Google Ads and Bing Ads accounts should be structured in the following way for optimal results:

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see in the figure above, an optimally structured account is comprised of five distinct elements:

  • Ad campaigns
  • Ad groups
  • Keywords
  • Ad text
  • Landing pages

Ad campaigns can, and should in many cases, focus on similar products or services. For example, if you run a hardware store, one ad campaign could focus exclusively on autumnal products such as leaf blowers, rakes, and leaf bags, whereas another might focus on power tools and so on.

Ad groups allow for each campaign to be further subcategorized for relevance. In our hardware store example, one ad group could be for different types of rakes or varying models of leaf blowers. For the power tools campaign, one ad group might focus on power drills, while another could focus on circular saws. This level of organization might take slightly longer to set up initially, but the rewards – namely higher CTRs at lower cost – make this effort worthwhile in the long run.

 

 

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