Tag Archives: keywords

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Written by Sam Yadegar on Apr 11 , 2022

So, you’ve got the whole PPC campaign process down — or do you?

Here, you’ll find:

  • What makes a PPC campaign successful
  • Ways to determine your PPC campaign goals
  • How to pick the right keywords
  • Why campaign tracking is crucial

These days, having an established PPC campaign isn’t enough. You need one that converts. That usually means a set-it-and-forget-it strategy simply won’t cut it.

ROI should be the driving force behind every aspect of designing, launching, and monitoring your PPC campaign.

Want to make sure it’s embedded in your digital marketing plan and processes? Keep reading.

man sitting and looking at a tablet screen

Your goal should be centered around overall ROI as well as year-over-year growth. (Image: Unsplash)

1. Determine your goals

Most marketing pros are familiar with “SMART” goals. This type of goal-setting can be highly effective, no matter your company size or industry.

  • S – Specific: Well-defined goals that help drive your PPC campaign forward
  • M – Measurable: Goals that can be measured by specific metrics to see how you’re progressing
  • A – Achievable: Goals that you set must be achievable — while the sky’s the limit, you should have a clear understanding of how much your team can really accomplish
  • R – Relevant: Your PPC goals should be relevant to your overall marketing strategy and align with your business goals
  • T – Timely: Goals need to have clear deadlines to help you achieve the desired results on time

A SMART goal for PPC marketing could be: “Streamline Google Ads campaign to increase website traffic by 5% before May 1” or use “PPC to get 15 new leads by the end of the month through a website contact form.”

Applying this mindset to your PPC campaign can help you zero in on what you want to accomplish — maybe it’s more sales, market expansion, the desired CPA, more precise persona targeting, more effective lead nourishment, or something else. 

Whatever your goal, it should be centered around overall ROI as well as year-over-year growth.

2. Identify the right keywords

Having the right keywords is crucial for a campaign’s success. 

Once you’ve determined your goals, you can identify the keywords you want to leverage for this particular PPC campaign. These could include the services you offer, the products you sell, or phrases customers use in connection to your business.

Create a list of keywords by pulling your own search query data or using a keyword tool like Semrush or Google’s Keyword Planner. Add in factors like long-tail and negative keywords, then work to identify those that are highly relevant but not highly competitive.

Pro tip: Having a clear understanding of your ideal client persona (or personas) will help you develop a list of high-performing keywords.

3. Expand on those keywords

Before checking “keywords” off the list, it’s a good idea to expand your list of keywords to make sure there aren’t any important words and phrases you’re missing out on.

You can do this in a few ways: 

  • Analyzing your competitors and seeing what keywords they’re leveraging
  • Looking into your target audience’s search behavior to uncover more keywords
  • Using a keyword tool to see if there are any suggested keywords you haven’t included

For even more inspiration, you can look into a service like Answer the Public that aggregates questions people ask around different keywords, giving you more insight into their search motivations.

4. Prioritize your chosen keywords

As your campaign progresses, you’ll start to get a better idea about which keywords are top performers and which can be cut.

Because the frequent iterating and optimizing of these campaigns can be time-consuming, those without the expertise or bandwidth often turn to a digital marketing agency that can manage these types of campaigns on an ongoing basis.

Thinking of partnering with an agency? Might we suggest…

keys in the shape of a circle next to a newspaper

Put your keywords into different categories based on the type of advertisements they create. (Image: Unsplash)

5. Categorize your keywords

Keywords can fall into many categories: high-intent, branded, and feature-specific, just to name a few. 

A great way to stay organized and make sure you’re covering all your bases is by breaking up keywords into thematic Ad Groups.

You can group keywords into the categories above, or things like funnel stage, persona, service, and intent. Put your keywords into different categories based on the type of advertisements they create.

The eventual goal is to establish and track different types of ads based on the type of keywords. Basically, this ensures your ads directly relate to the search being made.

6. Set up ads

There’s no shortage of advice to be found about the best ways to set up PPC ads for maximum ROI. But through our years of experience, we’ve narrowed it down and found that there are a few key facets to creating ads that convert.

They include:

  • Keeping ads short, catchy, and relevant
  • Having a consistent look and message from ad to a landing page
  • Leveraging ad extensions
  • Targeting based on location
  • Taking advantage of remarketing when applicable
  • A/B testing

Pro tip: If you’re unfamiliar with the technicalities of ad management, your chosen ad platform or platforms should have step-by-step instructions for setting up your ads and their corresponding keywords.

7. Think about context and content

When planning your ad copy, be mindful of where the ads will be placed. With display ads, for example, it makes sense to keep the ad copy relevant to the content of the sites where they’ll appear — if you know what those sites will be.

That’s where the Google Display Network’s keyword contextual targeting comes in. 

As a more advanced and efficient way to choose the sites to place display ads on, this method allows you to create a list of keywords so your ad can be more closely matched to pages with similar context and content. 

Essentially, this lets you better target the sites where your display ad would show up.

8. Determine the desired conversion action

A “conversion” isn’t defined the same way across the board. Different industries and campaigns will have different definitions of what action they consider to be a conversion.

This could mean:

  • A submitted form
  • A completed sale
  • A demo or consultation request
  • A downloaded piece of content
  • An email subscription

No matter your conversion type, it can be measured by tracking the number of people that perform the measurable task once they reach your landing page. 

During the planning process, think about the desired action you want your potential customers to perform, then make it easy for them to do so.

Pro tip: It’s usually a best practice to stick to one CTA per ad and per landing page. Otherwise, you risk confusing the consumer and missing a conversion.

view from the backseat of two people in the front of a driving car

Effective ads drive people to your landing pages. From there, you’ve got to have a strong landing page poised to turn clicks into conversions. (Image: Unsplash)

9. Focus on Quality Score

Quality Score is closely tied to the ROI of your PPC campaign. It helps advertisers understand how relevant Google sees their ad and targeted keywords. Besides affecting the ad performance, it also influences the cost per click.

To improve the Quality Score, you can focus on:

  • Optimizing landing pages
  • Streamlining keyword research tactics
  • Testing a few ad copy variations
  • Organizing your keywords into groups

One way to work on improving your score (and ROI) is to dig deeper into negative keywords. You could be wasting your budget on irrelevant search terms without even knowing it.

Identify negative keywords and implement them into your campaign. Just keep in mind that the negative keyword list has to be adjusted regularly.

10. Design optimized landing pages

We’ve highlighted key ways to boost landing page conversions before.

Some of those ways include:

  • A strong call to action (CTA)
  • A special offer
  • An easy way to share
  • A mobile-friendly experience

Effective ads drive people to your landing pages. From there, you’ve got to have a strong landing page poised to turn clicks into conversions

11. Set up proper tracking

Spoiler alert: Establishing a new campaign is just the beginning.

From there, you’ve got to have the means to test, track, and adjust your initial plan in order to achieve an optimal ROI.

That means taking the time to pull reports, analyze the data, and pinpoint strengths and weaknesses in your campaign so you can iterate accordingly. 

By following the steps outlined above, however, you’ll be set up to see all that effort turn into a well-executed campaign that converts.

The takeaway 

While PPC campaigns can be highly effective, they don’t always provide the desired ROI. 

To make sure you’re getting the most out of your campaign, focus on the right elements.

These include testing and optimizing, improving your Quality Score, staying organized, targeting the right keywords, and having accurate tracking in place to achieve your marketing goals without breaking the bank.

This post has been updated and was originally published in August 2014.

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar is the co-founder and CEO of HawkSEM. Starting out as a software engineer, his penchant for solving problems quickly led him to the digital marketing world, where he has been helping clients for over 12 years. He loves doing everything he can to help brands "crush it" through ROI-driven digital marketing programs. He's also a fan of basketball and spending time with his family.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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Written by Caroline Cox on Mar 30 , 2022

Keyword mapping helps ensure your target keywords match your site’s pages. Here’s how to do it, why it matters, and how it can boost your SEO.

Here, you’ll find:

  • How keyword mapping is defined in marketing
  • Why it’s worth your time
  • Tips for creating your own keyword map
  • How keyword mapping figures into SEO

There’s a quote attributed to Maya Angelou that goes, “You can’t really know where you’re going until you know where you have been.”

Was she talking about keyword mapping? Definitely not. But does it apply? Yes.

Keyword mapping is an important part of overall SEO. It helps you see what pages are tied to which keywords, what your site currently ranks for, and more.

Man writing on whiteboard image.

Before you can develop a fine-tuned SEO strategy, you have to know where your site currently stands. (Image: Rawpixel)

What is keyword mapping?

Essentially, keyword mapping is the process of researching, targeting and connecting keywords to your website content. This is generally on a page-by-page basis, though it can also be broader, on a per-topic basis.

A keyword map usually comes in the form of an Excel or Google Sheets spreadsheet. Along with blog posts, keyword mapping can be done for all of a website’s pages.

The aim is to cover all your SEO bases and ensure you’re not targeting the same keyword on multiple pages, which is known as keyword cannibalization.

This can, of course, hurt your SEO efforts by having two of your own pages competing for visibility on the search engine results page (SERP) for a certain keyword.

“Keyword mapping is one of the key processes of on-page optimization, giving Google and other search engines the opportunity to analyze the relevance of each page and ultimately provide users the information they’re searching for,” as Semrush explains. “By avoiding this process, your strategy will be less structured and you’ll miss out on a number of keyword opportunities.”

keyword mapping key

Including a keyword map key to your spreadsheet can add clarity to your document so everyone viewing the sheet is on the same page.

Why is keyword mapping important for digital marketing?

Keyword mapping helps define your overall SEO strategy. It can also give you a snapshot of your website’s current state. This can help when you’re planning future campaigns, website revamps, or new ideas for content.

Before you can develop a fine-tuned SEO strategy, you have to know where your site currently stands. Along with that, it’s important to be aware of how your site currently looks to search engines and what phrases you’re appearing as relevant for. 

How do you create a keyword map?

When you’re analyzing a website’s SEO, creating a keyword map is a great project to do as early in the process as possible. It’s often built into the technical SEO part of an SEO audit.

During the technical SEO audit, you’re looking for errors as well as things like:

  • Where the site currently ranks
  • What the top pages are
  • Where the organic traffic is coming from

When keyword mapping, our SEO pros recommend mapping the pages getting the bulk of the traffic first. From there, you can zoom out and do a full map of all your site’s pages. 

You don’t necessarily have to complete the entire keyword map for your whole site in one fell swoop. It can be a time-consuming process — especially since each page should have a primary and secondary keyword, depending on how niche your industry is. 

Your map can be as high-level or detailed as you want. Often, the keyword maps we create include columns for:

  • Page title
  • URL
  • Primary keyword
  • Secondary keyword(s)
  • Primary keyword volume
  • Title tag
  • Meta description
  • Status
  • Priority
  • Additional notes
semrush keyword mapping example

A keyword mapping example from Semrush (Image: Semrush)

Can you create keyword maps for e-commerce and other large sites?

We know some websites have hundreds of pages, such as large e-commerce brands. When you’re working on SEO for enterprise and e-commerce sites, you’re likely going to have situations where multiple pages are ranking for the same keyword, known as keyword cannibalization.

For example, Amazon may have multiple landing pages ranking for “tennis rackets,” such as a category page, best seller’s page, men’s tennis rackets page, etc. By building a keyword map, you’re able to:

  • Identify and target unique keywords per page
  • Monitor pages that are being cannibalized and take action (optimize the content, remove it, or add a 301 redirect)

On the enterprise level, it’s not always possible to target unique keywords on each page if the content is too similar and if it’s being automatically generated and crawled. In this case, you can audit pages with low authority. This can help you determine whether they should continue to be indexed.

You can also focus on similar keywords for various stages of the buyer’s journey (informational versus purchase, for example).

Pro tip: If you’re a HubSpot customer, you can take advantage of their topic clusters tool to organize your pages and their corresponding keywords.

The takeaway

Like SEO audits (and managing SEO in general), the prospect of creating a keyword map for your website can be daunting.

But once you know the steps, what the end goal is, and what info you most want to gather, you can create a map that you can continue to build on down the road.

And if you simply don’t have the time, expertise, or bandwidth to take on keyword mapping for your website SEO? Well, that’s what we’re here for

Caroline Cox

Caroline Cox

Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her more than 10 years of professional writing and editing experience to create SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of seltzer water, print magazines, and huskies.

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Written by Caroline Cox on Mar 7 , 2022

Using both branded and non-branded keywords can be a game-changer for your digital marketing strategy.

Here, you’ll find:

  • Definitions for branded and non-branded keywords
  • When to use each keyword type
  • How your competition factors into keyword choice
  • Examples for using these keyword types effectively

From negative keywords to single keyword ad groups (SKAGs) and everything in between, keywords are at the heart of successful digital marketing. 

Branded keywords and non-branded keywords are no exception. In fact, these two keyword types can interact and support one another for results that are even greater than the sum of their parts.

The branded vs. non-branded keyword distinction often shows up in the context of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. But the usefulness of these two keyword types applies to your entire digital marketing strategy. They can even help boost your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. 

keys hanging on a lego key holder

Heads up: your competitors may use your branded keyword terms in their ads. (Image: Unsplash)

Branded vs. non-branded keywords

Branded keyword terms include the name of your company or branded product. For example, Sky Skimmer Drones is that imaginary company’s core branded keyword term. But ‘Sky Skimmer products,’ ‘drones by Sky Skimmer,’ and ‘the Sky Skimmer line of drones’ also count as branded keywords.

Non-branded keyword terms refer or relate to your company or products without the proper company name. For the example above, they’d be things like ‘best-engineered drones,’ ‘leading brands of drones,’ and, more broadly, ‘airborne photography.’

The first thing to notice is the difference in the reach of the two terms. 

Branded keyword terms address a potential audience who is already aware of and searching for your brand. 

It’s a narrower segment of potential customers than those searching non-branded keywords. However, it’s also the segment most likely to convert to a sale. 

Analyzing your non-branded keywords over time will also help you better gauge the overall efforts of your SEO when targeting and attracting visitors.

Pro tip: Some keywords that have a brand name within the phrase but aren’t unique to a single brand or domain are considered non-branded, according to SEMrush.

How branded and non-branded keywords work together

Non-branded keywords are a big factor when it comes to attracting organic traffic and improving your paid search ROI. However, without branded terms, it can be hard to dominate the search engine results page (SERP) and stay ahead of the competition.

As Forbes reports, branded queries make up only 10% of all searches (80% are informational while another 10% are transactional). Meanwhile, branded keywords have a 100% higher conversion rate than their non-branded partners.

Branded and non-branded keywords can complement each other well by targeting prospects at different stages of the sales funnel.

Branded keywords often have less competition and lower cost per click (CPC) while driving higher conversions. On the other hand, non-branded keywords increase visibility and brand awareness to help generate leads.

In short, ads with non-branded keywords help you appeal to the target audience at the top of the funnel, while branded keywords help drive the sale through. Think of their tandem as similar to the combined efforts of your sales and marketing teams.

Determining when to use branded and non-branded keywords

Some marketing strategists may think it’s a waste to use branded keywords in PPC campaigns, since people already aware of your company and products won’t be searching those terms. But that’s not necessarily the case.

You can explore the question of when to use branded and non-branded keywords by comparing terms in Google’s Keyword Planner. You may find that there are searches for your branded keyword terms, but significantly fewer than for key non-branded terms. 

This is where other considerations enter. Those who are doing branded keyword searches are far more likely to become your customers. 

Plus, in bidding for PPC advertising keywords, branded keyword terms likely cost a fraction of the cost for leading non-branded terms, potentially making the ROI significant.

branded and non-branded keywords on the SERP

A look at Google’s SERP for “basketball shoes” vs. “nike basketball shoes.” (Image: Google)

Ready to take your PPC ads to the next level? Let’s chat.

Branded vs. non-branded keywords and your competitors

Heads up: your competitors may use your branded keyword terms in their ads

This is especially common in highly competitive industries or when you offer a very similar product or service. Your competition’s objective is to attract those people searching for your company and brand by name so they can convert them to their brand instead. 

Of course, you don’t want to make it easy for competitors to win over your prospects by searching for your company name. 

While Google doesn’t necessarily restrict other companies from using your brand name in their PPC campaigns, there are things you can do to prevent competitors from stealing market share.

  • Play their bidding game: Generally, we don’t recommend bidding on your competition’s brand name. However, you can experiment with this tactic if you have the budget and want to get some of your target audience back while attracting part of theirs. 
  • Increase branded ad spend: While this isn’t the most budget-friendly solution, it can be effective. Your competitors aren’t likely to be spending too much on your branded keywords. By increasing the bid, you may be able to kick them out of the saddle.
  • Improve your Quality Score: Since Quality Score helps dictate your ad rank, improving it could place your branded ads above the competition’s. It can also help your overall paid search ad campaign.
  • Optimize your landing pages: Your competitors aren’t likely to spend too much time and money optimizing their landing pages for your branded keywords. A landing page optimized for branded keywords may boost your Quality Score and get your ad better visibility.

3 tips to help branded and non-branded work together

Both branded and non-branded keywords can benefit your digital marketing campaign. Here’s how to ensure they’re working well in tandem.

1. Know when to start using branded keywords

One of the first things to do when setting a campaign up is to run a keyword search. 

At this point, you may not need to opt for branded keywords. Spending money on them could slow down your advertising efforts and reduce marketing ROI.

Here are some instances when using branded keywords together with their non-branded partners is a good idea.

  • Your business is well-known: It doesn’t have to be a renowned global name, but should already have a solid customer base.
  • You have a popular product: A product (or product line) you’re selling is gaining popularity quickly.
  • The head of your company is considered an industry thought leader: If the business owner’s name is easily recognized, the brand and products can benefit from the popularity.

Another upside of bidding on your own brand is the brand protection aspect. You control the first impression that searchers get when it comes to your offerings and ethos. 

Plus, if your competitors are the only ones bidding on your brand, you risk having those ads appear above organic results, which means they get seen first. 

HawkSEM: branded vs. non-branded keywords

When it comes to determining whether to use branded or non-branded keywords, the answer often depends on your goals. (Image: Unsplash)

2. Use branded keyword data to adjust non-branded keywords

Let’s say the majority of your traffic is coming from branded keywords, which means your company is well-known. You likely have a formidable customer base that prefers your brand over others.

Sounds great! But, in reality, the overwhelming success of branded keywords could be hindering your results. 

If your branded keywords are doing too good of a job, you may want to adjust your non-branded tactics. Besides improving your non-branded keyword campaign, consider boosting your brand awareness efforts. 

3. Know when to keep branded and non-branded keywords separate

While branded and non-branded keywords work well together, they shouldn’t always be part of the same campaign. To increase your conversion rate, it’s wise to keep these two keyword types in their own separate campaigns.

When you combine both terms into one campaign, it’s hard to determine the success of each keyword type and set realistic conversion goals.

This doesn’t mean you should pay less attention to non-branded keywords. For the branded keyword campaign to yield desired results, it’s wise to beef up your non-branded efforts as well.

After all, prospects that convert quickly after clicking branded ads may have come down the funnel via your non-branded marketing tactics.

The takeaway 

When determining whether to use branded or non-branded keywords, the answer often depends on your goals.

If you’re looking to gain visibility, you can go with non-branded. Looking for lower competition, more potential affordability, and higher conversion rates? You may want to opt for branded. 

Either way, ensure tracking is accurate and monitor performance results so you can optimize accordingly.

Searchers using branded keywords are likely more advanced in the buyer’s journey. They may have visited your website before, become familiar with your products or services, and are trying to do one final review before buying.

Keep in mind that the same customers may have first found your brand and were led to your website via a non-branded search. That search got them into the funnel, and a branded campaign can drive conversion to a sale. 

Creating separate branded and non-branded paid search campaigns can tell you a lot about your audience, expand your reach, and help you create a well-rounded digital marketing program. 

This article has been updated and was originally published in March 2020.

Caroline Cox

Caroline Cox

Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her more than 10 years of professional writing and editing experience to create SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of seltzer water, print magazines, and huskies.

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Written by Sam Yadegar on Apr 13 , 2021

Seasoned marketers know: not all keywords are created equal.

Here, you’ll find:

  • Differences between short-tail and long-tail keywords
  • How these two keyword types work together
  • Why using both offers the greatest chance at success
  • When to use each keyword type

The power of keywords for your SEM strategy doesn’t just depend on relevance. The type matters too.

Long-tail and short-tail keywords work toward achieving the same goal. However, they do it differently. Knowing the key differences between these two types can help you properly tweak your marketing strategy, cut costs, and get to the top of the SERPs. Let’s dive in.

long-tail vs. short-tail keywords

The competition to rank highly for short-tail keywords is often fierce. (Image via Unsplash)

Short-tail keywords

Short-tail keywords (also called “head terms” or “broad terms”) contain up to three words, such as:

  • Swimsuits
  • Red roses
  • Digital marketing services

When you think about your business, these terms are the first words that usually come to mind. They’re also the first terms to come to the consumer’s mind when they’re looking for something online.

Short-tail keywords can be the same for a variety of businesses. For “red roses,” this keyword could apply to a local flower shop, an e-commerce shop, a big-box chain store, the list goes on. That’s why the competition to rank highly for short-tail keywords is often fierce.

Short-tail keyword pros

  • Appeal to a wide target audience: excellent traffic driver for your website
  • Easy to determine: they don’t require an extensive target audience research or keyword search
  • Easy to use: can be used to create a great variety of easy-flowing content

Short-tail keyword cons

  • High competition: Everyone wants to drive significant traffic, avoid extensive keyword search, and write easy-flowing content — that’s why these keywords are costly to bid on
  • Wrong type of traffic: Short-tail keywords are more general — for example, “French tips” could apply to nail salons or those trying to learn the French language
  • Low conversion rates: Short-tail keywords can generate numerous clicks, but the number of people who convert is usually lower

Overall, short-tail keywords can generate a lot of traffic for your website, helping with brand awareness and improving rankings.

Long-tail keywords

Also called “narrow search terms,” these keywords are more specific than their short-tail partners — for example:

  • Swimsuits for toddler boys
  • Fresh red rose bouquets near me
  • Digital marketing services in Boston

By entering such a keyword, searchers are more likely to find what they’re looking for. Often, the more specific the search, the higher the likelihood of purchase intent. 

While you may not generate as much traffic with long-tail keywords as you would with short terms, more of your visitors are likely to convert.

Long-tail keyword pros

  • Low competition: Cost per click for long-tail keywords is usually much lower since you only compete against companies in a specific niche
  • Intent: People who use narrow search terms are usually closer to the bottom of the sales funnel than those who use short-tail keywords
  • Conversion rate: Searchers with high intent are more likely to convert

 Long-tail keyword cons

  • Specifics: It takes more time, research, and effort to identify long-tail keywords your target audience may be searching for — and sometimes, you could be bidding on an “empty” term
  • Content implementation: Unlike broad terms, long-tail keywords can be harder to use in your content organically

Overall, long-tail keywords are harder to identify and implement into your SEM campaign. However, they require a lower budget and provide a higher conversion rate, as Yoast explains.

Do you need short-tail keywords?

Long-tail keywords are generally cheaper, more specific, and have a higher conversion rate. More than 70% of all internet searches are made up of long-tail keywords.

So, why do you need short-tail keywords anyway?

While it’s possible to design a campaign based solely on long-tail keywords, working without narrow terms can be tough since you may not generate sufficient traffic. 

Lastly, if you avoid short-tail keywords altogether, it may take a while to achieve your specific marketing goals.

short and long-tail keywords

Before using long-tail keywords in your content, consider testing them with PPC ads. (Image via Unsplash)

How short-tail and long-tail keywords work together

An efficient SEM strategy involves a balanced use of both keyword types. Here are just a few ways these keyword types complement each other:

  • Short-tail keywords create a foundation for long-tail keywords. Without brainstorming for broad terms, it’s hard to identify efficient long-tail keywords. Narrow terms grow around broad terms.
  • When creating content, you can dilute long-tail keywords with broad terms. This helps you avoid keyword stuffing, which can get you penalized by search engines.
  • Short-tail keywords target the top of the sales funnel while long-tail keywords are working closer to the bottom.

Each keyword type contributes to achieving the final goals of your marketing strategy.

Pro tip: Don’t be fooled into thinking short-tail keywords always have higher search volumes. As Ahrefs points out, this isn’t always the case

How to find short-tail and long-tail keywords

Finding short-tail keywords is somewhat easier than discovering efficient narrow terms.  You can identify them by:

  • Brainstorming what terms might bring users to you
  • Analyzing your website and traffic
  • Seeing what works for the competition

Long-tail keyword research is more complicated since it’s hard to identify which phrases your target audience is likely to use. You can find long-tail keywords by:

  • Using Google suggestions and related searches
  • Wielding different keyword search tools like Moz and SEMrush
  • Analyzing which keywords work for your website
  • Browsing forums, boards, and social media groups to see what people are asking about
  • Looking at what your competition is doing

Pro tip: Before using long-tail keywords in your content, consider testing them with PPC ads.

When to use short-tail and long-tail keywords

In digital marketing, using short-tail and long-tail keywords simultaneously can help you achieve impressive results. Of course, the percentage of each keyword type in the strategy depends on factors like your goals and budget.

If your main goals are brand awareness and lead generation, you may want to add more broad terms to your tactics. If you’d like to shift the focus to higher conversions and cost efficiency, lean more toward long-tail keywords. And, as always, monitor the results so you can iterate and modify accordingly. 

The takeaway

Our experience tells us that both short-tail and long-tail keywords are important to the success of a well-rounded SEM strategy. While using them may achieve different goals and require different budgets, it’s hard to create a comprehensive marketing campaign without both.

By leveraging broad and narrow terms, you can get one step closer to improving your search engine rankings, bringing more traffic to your website, increasing brand awareness, driving sales, and boosting your bottom line.

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar is the co-founder and CEO of HawkSEM. Starting out as a software engineer, his penchant for solving problems quickly led him to the digital marketing world, where he has been helping clients for over 12 years. He loves doing everything he can to help brands "crush it" through ROI-driven digital marketing programs. He's also a fan of basketball and spending time with his family.

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