Kick the Broad Match Habit: 2 Steps to Categorize Search Keywords to Boost Conversions and Reduce Costs
Sometimes, marketers love the search long tail; other times, they loathe it.
For most big brands, the long-tail of a search engine marketing program consists of thousands of very specific, relatively low-traffic keywords. When a keyword portfolio is graphed against another variable, like search volume, these specific keywords create a long-tail visual (hence, the name).
Generally speaking, search marketers know and appreciate the value of long-tail keywords. When the ad copy matches the search term, these less competitive, less expensive, better-performing descriptive keywords boost a keyword portfolio's clickthrough rate and ROI. Anyone seeking more detail on why long-tail keywords perform better should read Search Engine Land's "Short Vs. Long Tail: Which Search Queries Perform Best?" Plus, according to a recent Experian Hitwise Report (November 2011), searches of four or more words account for more than 30 percent of search clicks. Most would love to improve their quality score and triple the number of relevant long-tail keywords in their search campaigns, but that's when the loathing starts to surface.
The Expense and Frustration of Broad Match
Many of the best-known brands and agencies still partly rely on broad match to capture long-tail search traffic, but won't readily admit it. Every time they rely on broad match, money gets wasted that could otherwise be spent effectively. Just thinking about the process can trigger feelings of frustration and wastefulness: Run an SEM campaign on broad match, take time to sift through search query data, determine what keywords could be effective and add those to the portfolio, determine which ones won't be and add those to a negative list. Then try to find time to eat lunch or leave work at the end of the day. This approach bleeds money and time; it's hardly a logical and efficient way to maximize profitability.