How Friendly Is Your SEM?
Wehr recommends laying a good foundation for keyword groups. "Even if it means creating a spreadsheet or drawing it out on a piece of paper, you should develop a hierarchy of product-almost like a site map you would draw to design a Web site's navigational scheme. How do these products fall under categories? And those categories then guide the groups that are pretty specific ... making small groups so that an adjustment to ad creative will be applicable to all those keywords in that group."
Soltis agrees, noting that he often sees marketers starting off their PPC campaigns without trying to target their audiences. Not only do you want to define your target audience, he says, but you also want to explore the question, "If someone is searching for this keyword, what is the likelihood that she will buy this from me and has the ability to do so?"
Another important way to refine your keywords, says Hagerty, is to isolate the branded keywords, putting them in a separate bucket with a separate budget allocated to it. "That's one of the cardinal things you should do in search marketing. If a customer's searching for you and you're not available because your budget went out, that's a problem."
One caveat from Simon is to be careful chasing the long tail of search, which he sees disappearing. Companies should be savvy about going after any long-tail terms that produce ROI, but they can't build a business on this activity since so little search volume comes from it. "Marketers should worry more about the center of the chess board and less about the tail. In today's hyper-competitive marketplace, the game is won or lost in the power terms, and making those work are what drives online results. Granted, there are times when tail terms are important to the balance of the campaign, but when you look at the bottom line, it's always the 80/20 rule-and in search, it's probably 90/10."