Keywords: the lifeblood of online advertisers. If you’ve spent any amount of time trying to put together an effective ad campaign, you know just how time-consuming these deceivingly simple words can be to pinpoint. Serving as one of the most powerful deciding factors between a successful campaign and one that completely flops, finding the right keywords isn’t all that hard. In this article, we’re going to take an in-depth look at what keywords are, why they’re important, and how to select the right ones for each and every ad campaign you build.
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What Are Keywords and Why Are They Important?
Simply put, keywords are words and phrases that define what your content and website are about. When you take all of the content on your website and strip it down to bare bones, these are what you’re left with. Keywords help users find your website by increasing the likelihood of your content appearing in searches.
While there are a number of other factors to be considered, keywords are highly important and the basis of what SEO is built on. However, finding the right keywords isn’t all about your content, it’s more so about the customer and the way they’re searching for solutions. If you’re not using the right keywords or the list you have isn’t comprehensive enough, you could end up funneling the wrong kind of traffic to your site.
Understanding the Different Types of Keywords
Like most things, keyword research is more complex than just throwing together a list of words and phrases that describe your business and offers. Before you get started, it’s important that you know the difference between head, body, and (long) tail keywords, all of which should be incorporated in an effective keyword strategy.
Head keywords are typically single-word phrases that have large amounts of search volume and a high level of competition. That being said, they’re great for serving as a starting point because they cover the topic you’re after on a broader scale. You can then use body and long-tail keywords to further zero in on the customers that want to spend money.
Body keywords usually consist of 2-3 word phrases that get more specific than head keywords, but still leave a little wiggle room for search phrase interpretation. The search volume on these is going to be far lower than that of head keywords, but you’ll have a higher chance of getting the kind of targeted traffic you’re after.
Long-tail keywords use a specific combination of several keywords that more clearly define user intent. These keywords are going to have the lowest search volume of the three, but they have the highest chances of generating high-converting traffic. For instance, rather than using the word “boot”, which is very broad, a long-tail keyword might be “cheap men’s hiking boots”.
How to Conduct Keyword Research
Keyword research requires the implementation of multiple keyword strategies in order to yield the best results. Below, we’ve listed some of the most popular and effective methods for finding and creating a solid list of highly relevant keywords for ad campaign usage.
If you’re starting from square one, the first thing you’ll want to do is build a list of head and body keywords that explain and define your content from the perspective of a consumer. Believe it or not, the best way to accomplish this is with the tried and true method of brainstorming. Think about the problems your ideal customers are facing and the ways they might search for solutions online. What words do they use? Is there any special lingo or slang? It also helps to put yourself in their shoes and think about the way you would search for your content.
2. Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI)
LSI keywords are phrases that closely relate to the primary keyword you’re searching for. Though they can oftentimes be mistaken for long-tail keywords, which serve to narrow the scope of a search query, LSI keywords act to broaden it by introducing related topics that may be of interest. These are great for helping your content rank higher organically and can even give you some new keyword ideas. Google’s “Searches Related To…” is a goldmine for finding LSI keywords. Simply type in your keyword(s) and scroll to the bottom of the page to find them.
3. Google Keyword Planner
This handy, free tool is incredibly useful for fleshing out a well-rounded list of keywords. No matter where you are in the research process, the Google Keyword Planner (or any of its alternatives) can help you start from scratch or help you build out a diverse keyword map. Almost any given search will return thousands of potential keywords that you can then organize with various sorting tools. If you want more ideas and related topics, try using the URL of another website in your niche to get loads of keywords that most of your competitors will never even think of.
4. Take Advantage of Forums
Remember how we were talking about knowing the phrases and lingo your target audience uses in relation to your topic? Forums are treasure troves for finding all kinds of highly relevant keywords as well as some new ones you may have never considered. Take some time searching for popular forums in your niche and stalk the hot topics to see what your target consumers are chatting about. Reddit is a great website for this because there are literally hundreds of thousands of pages that are dedicated to specific topics.
5. Google Trends
One of things you’ll quickly come to notice when conducting keyword research is that many of the ones you want to target are highly competitive. So, if you’re having a hard time building a list that won’t break the bank when bidding, consider using Google Trends. This amazing tool helps you find keywords in your niche that haven’t shown up on the Google Keyword Planner yet. Even more helpful, it can show you how a keyword’s popularity has been performing over time, helping you avoid duds while finding hidden gems.
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