While there is no one best way to select keywords for a search campaign, the more you know about your goals and resources, the better your chances of getting it right.
Many people fail to make the connection between their business goals and their keywords; the two should be aligned. For example, if your goal is to drive sales, you should focus on detailed, multi-keyword phrases, as they will produce qualified searches. However, if your aim is to drive awareness, you’d be better off targeting more generic keywords to generate eyeballs for your company name and Web site. In short, different goals require different keyword targets and often different strategies. Make sure you first understand what you are trying to accomplish and then build your campaign around it.
Similarly, it is important to assess your resources and build your strategy around them. For example, it is impractical to think you can own a term like “hotel” in organic or paid search without investing a considerable amount of knowledge, money, technical marketing and creative resources. If your resources are limited, you would be wise to adjust your target and first focus on “San Francisco hotels,” “Las Vegas hotels,” or even “Palo Alto hotels” or “San Jose hotels.” Ultimately, your target must be within range of your resources.
Keyword selection can make or break a campaign. If you want to get it right, first take an inventory of your goals and resources before determining which keywords you plan to pursue.
Brian Kaminski is managing director of iProspect San Francisco, a search engine marketing professional services firm that develops, implements and manages both natural search engine optimization and paid search advertising campaigns, where he oversees all West Coast operations. He has written bylined articles for various trade publications and is a regular columnist at Search Engine Land.