Category Archives: Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Choosing keywords for SEO and SEM

All digital marketers are routinely involved in running pay per click ad campaigns with leading search engines advertising programs such as Google AdWords, Microsoft AdCenter and Yahoo Search Marketing. The latter two have been integrated recently.

Running campaigns involve various steps such as setting up ad accounts, choosing keywords, making ads, deciding target audience, setting up bids, formatting anchor text, URL and message etc. Sounds simple?

Choosing keywords is a far more complex process than it sounds, that is if you want to get it absolutely right. Else, you can always include some random keywords in campaigns and keep improving them on a trial and error basis.

But seasoned markets would do it intelligently. Take a look at the following presentation that I developed (My copyright © here!).

All the search engines provide keyword analysis tools which give some rough ideas about parameters such as local search volume, global search volume, estimated cost per click and competition. This data is easily available and I strongly recommend using Google Keyword Tool. But data itself is not enough. It is a smart marketer’s job to convert data into information, information into intelligence and intelligence into wisdom. Let us keep the philosophical part for later discussion and let us get down to deciding how to choose keywords.

As you can see above, I have attempted to prove the following assumptions wrong. Why is this important? Simply because we may get tempted into believing that they are true.

1.       If a keyword is popular locally, it is likely popular globally

2.       Higher the search volume of the keyword, more popular it is, more people are searching for it, and hence competition for it should be high

3.       Higher the search volume, more expensive the keyword

4.       Higher the competition for a keyword, more bids it receives, higher should be its estimated cost per clicks

As can be seen from the data, the above assumptions aren’t always true.

Hence we need a better framework to categorize keywords and use them effectively and efficiently in our campaigns. You can see this framework on slide 43 with heading “Keyword Grouping”.

How to use this framework for search engine marketing and how to strategically align this framework to overall marketing objectives? Keep watching this space…I will address that in one of my next blog posts.

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