If you’re an agency lacking clarity about the types of keywords for SEO or PPC or when you should use each, you’ve come to the right place.
No client wants to review a monthly performance report only to realize their business showed up on the last ‘o’ of a ‘G o o o o o o g l e’ search engine page after some serious SEO keyword efforts were made– that’s a big no-no o o o.
Another nail-biting situation is injecting ad spend into PPC keywords that didn’t even result in a high search volume or conversions. That’s a digital marketing blunder that you don’t want as a point to discuss on a meeting agenda.
It’s especially concerning when you’ve meticulously embedded keywords into your client’s web content, meta descriptions, ALT tags, and all other relevant places. You may scratch your head in disbelief and wonder, ‘How did this happen?’
The reality is that you need to strategize and incorporate different types of keywords as part of your client’s overall digital marketing strategy.
In this article, we’ll explore:
Why Are Keywords Important?
As a marketing agency, it’s second nature to associate keywords with staying on top of a search ranking or aiming to hit your client’s SEO KPIs and/or Google Ads reporting month after month. After all, you’re likely having team meetings and client discussions about this each week.
While these are all critical pieces of the puzzle, remember to consider user intent in the overall picture. This is the foundation for understanding why keywords are important in the first place.
Search intent keywords aren’t just a matter of trivially tossing terms around your client’s content and hoping for the best outcome. It’s about delving into what customers are experiencing, understanding your client’s product offering, and creating relevant content for user inquiries.
The effect of using keywords strategically is two-fold. It results in users finding the information they’re looking (aka "helpful content") for while increasing the probability of showing up on that highly-desirable first spot of a search engine page. As your client’s content gains relevance over time, it increases their brand authority and, by extension, search engine ranking.
It isn’t only about those keywords with enormous search volume. Sometimes, there’s a treasure to be found in lower-volume keywords with high conversion potential. That way, your client’s content won’t be drowned out by broad keywords or what all the competitors are doing.
It’s therefore imperative to strategize, brainstorm ideas, and devise a plan of action to maximize keyword impact. As the digital sphere continues to evolve, it’s clear that keywords' importance remains the same.
Here are a few essential pointers to keep in mind.
Keywords Connect With Content Relevance
The more you understand your client’s audience, the more you’ll have relevant keywords. With this knowledge, you’ll be equipped to create content their prospects or existing customers are actually looking for.
Relevant content with the strategic use of SEO keywords establishes your client as an authority. At the same time, your client’s audience will greater resonate with content that speaks directly to them. Keyword stuffing does your agency (and client) no favors–create content with appropriately incorporated keywords to get the best outcome.
Agency Tip: Build content for every significant user touchpoint with your client’s brand through customer journey mapping. This exercise clearly outlines what happens at each stage of the buyer's journey while also considering emotions and experiences. Tap into these insights for possible keyword combinations, phrases, and questions. Use this material in your client’s content for maximum impact and relevance.
Keywords Improve Your Client’s Search Ranking
Think of keywords as the bridge between where users are at and the information they’d like to access. A robust keyword strategy builds a solid bridge and allows users to reach their desired search destination more quickly.
As this continues over time, Google gives your client’s webpage a ‘green light’ and recognizes it as a trustworthy, authoritative source of information. In turn, keywords lead to increased search volume. Ultimately, it improves your client’s search ranking while demonstrating your agency’s ROI.
Agency Tip: Looking for a way to keep an eye on any significant ranking changes? Use the AgencyAnalytics rank tracking tool to see that data in real time. Customize your client’s reporting experience by choosing which keywords to track (even by location for multi-national companies). That way, you’ll pick up on any significant developments and make improvements promptly.
Stay One Step Ahead of The Competition
Just as your agency is trying to strike gold with an abundance of highly visible, relevant keywords, trust that your competitors are doing the same.
That’s where keyword monitoring comes in. This valuable exercise monitors any changes to your client’s keyword ranking, and it’s an opportunity to evaluate what’s working for your competitors. Aside from having a watchful eye on the competition, keyword monitoring helps you capitalize on backlink opportunities to increase website traffic and brand visibility.
Agency Tip: In addition to monitoring keywords, be sure to track other SEO metrics, which will give you the complete picture of what’s happening. For example, a significant change in organic traffic to a particular webpage may be an opportunity to incorporate new keywords or discover a new target audience. Looking for a way to keep an eye on multiple SEO efforts? Create a custom client report and streamline the entire reporting process easily.
Types of Keywords Your Agency Should Know (With Examples)
Not all keywords are created equally. And you need to know the different types of keywords to optimize your client’s digital marketing strategy.
Some are short-tail, and others are long-tail keywords. There are exact match, broad match, and on-site, too. With so many to choose from, you’ll need to know what to use and where.
We’ll touch on five types of keywords for easy reference:
1. Targeting Keywords
Targeting keywords reiterate your client’s industry, product, or service characteristics. Let’s explore six types of targeting keywords that your agency should know.
Market Segment Keywords
These keywords are more general and refer to a product or service within any given industry. Usually, these types of searches result in a range of products/services across various brands or businesses or even other items related to the industry.
E.g., reading lamp
Use customer-defining keywords to target a specific subset of your client’s audience. These keywords are usually inputted by users who are searching for a particular type of product or service specific to a personal attribute.
E.g., reading lamp for students
Agency Tip: To generate impactful customer-defining keywords, create an ideal customer profile (ICP) that outlines the types of businesses your agency or client is targeting. Using specific characteristics like industry type, geographic location, and personal attributes helps you to generate relevant keywords and even target new audiences.
These keywords are specific to a name associated with your client’s product offering. It’s highly advised to coin a term for each product so it’s easily distinguished and searchable.
E.g., Best Buy Essentials Lumen reading lamp
Branding is power! Branded keywords are inputted when users search for your client’s business and product offering (or attributes of it).
E.g., Best Buy reading lamp
On the flip side, it’s no secret that users will likely check out your client’s competition when doing their research. This keyword type is a combination of competitor brand names and an associated product offering (which is good to keep an eye on, in conjunction with monitoring your client’s keyword performance). They may think they know what they want, but that doesn't mean you can't point them in your client's direction instead.
E.g., IKEA reading lamp.
If you have clients whose businesses heavily rely on local marketing, incorporate geo-targeted keywords. As the name implies, these keywords are based on location and are inputted mainly by users within the vicinity of your client’s business (or they may be in the future).
E.g., New Jersey lighting store
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2. Keywords by Length
The name is pretty self-explanatory! This subset of keywords considers the length, which can tell you a lot about the specificity of a product/service a user is looking for. These search inquiries also point to specific stages in the buyer’s journey.
Here are the three types of keywords by length to note.
Head Keywords or Short-Tail Keywords
Short-tail keywords are broad and competitive terms associated with a high search volume (usually a 1-2 word term). As you can imagine, appearing in the top spots on these types of searches is quite challenging.
Mid-tail keywords hone in more on a descriptive factor of your client’s product or service than short-tail keywords, usually ranging from 2-3 words. The competition for this type of keyword can be stiff, given its relatively high search volume (but to a lesser extent than short-tail keywords).
E.g., comfortable exercise leggings
Long-tail keywords are particular to your client’s product or service and have less search volume than short-tail and mid-tail keywords. However, users inputting long-tail keywords are closer to the conversion phase and are acutely aware of what they are looking for.
Therefore, capitalizing on long-tail keywords has the potential to increase your client’s conversion rate (which could range from in-person sales, online transactions, qualified lead generation, app downloads, or whatever their call to action is).
E.g., most comfortable exercise leggings for expectant mothers
3. On-Site Keywords
On-site keywords drive SEO traffic to content such as blogs and landing pages. Here are the two types of on-site keywords that you should use.
Think of a primary keyword as the main point of focus for your client’s content. Weave a primary keyword within your client’s content as seamlessly and naturally as possible (and also within crawlable site areas such as meta titles and ALT tags). That way, search engines associate your client’s brand with the primary keyword.
Related Keywords or LSI Keywords
Think of related or Latent Semantic Index (LSI) keywords as secondary extensions of a primary keyword. In other words, related keywords are variations and common associations with a primary keyword. It considers user intent by listing the terms, inquiries, phrases, and questions frequently associated with a primary keyword.
E.g., candles for sale, candle wax melts, candles for relaxation
Understanding the customer base opens up a treasure trove of relevant keywords that connect to your client's target market in new ways. In other words, client-centric keywords are not directly related to the product or service offered by your client but would appeal to the target consumer. These keywords are great for generating targeted content to create awareness of your client's brand.
E.g., how to set a romantic mood, ways to relax, benefits of aromatherapy
4. Google Ads Keywords
Google Ads keywords are words or phrases about your client’s product or service used to streamline where their ads appear. Based on what a user searches for, your client’s ad may show up if it’s relevant and associated with their search terms.
Google Ads optimization is essential for your client’s ads to show up to the right target audience. Incorporating Google Ads keywords is a vital part of that process.
Broad Match Keywords
When broad match keywords are used, your client’s Google Ads may appear to users who searched for those specific keywords and other related terms. This broadens your client’s ad reach without having to create an excessive, extensive keyword list. However, as most PPC marketers know, Google can create some unique broad matches that are not always in your client's best interest.
E.g., If ‘exercise mat’ is used as a broad match keyword, your client’s Google ads could also show up on related searches such as ‘at-home exercises,’ ‘yoga stretches,’ ‘gym equipment,’ ‘bodyweight exercises’ or even 'bath mats.'
Phrase Match Keywords
Phrase match keywords tell Google to show your client’s ad only to users that inputted a specific phrase within their search inquiry, plus or minus a few words. While other words may be included before or after phrase match keywords, the exact term, or a close variant, must be a part of a user’s search for your client’s ad to appear.
E.g., If your client uses ‘exercise mat’ as phrase match keywords, their Google ads may show up to users that search for ‘exercise mat for yoga’ or ‘cushioned exercise mat.’
Keep in mind that Google's close variant matching will include terms that may not be an exact word-for-word match. For example, 'exercise mat' could match with 'yoga mat' because the intent is similar, but should not match with 'bath mat' because that variant is too different.
Exact Match Keywords
On the other hand, there may be instances where you want your client’s Google ads to show up only when a user searches for a specific term or a very close match to it. This may also include variations of exact match keywords, such as synonyms, slightly varied word combinations, and frequently made misspellings or typos.
In this case, exact match keywords are the way to go and give you the most control over who sees your client’s ad. However, exact match keywords also limit the total search volume because you need to figure out every possible variation that could be searched.
E.g., If your client’s exact match keywords are ‘exercise mat,’ their Google ads may appear for users that search for ‘mats for exercise’, ‘exercising mat’, or ‘mat to exercise on.’
Looking for a way to further refine who sees your client’s ads? When negative keywords are used, your client’s ads are excluded for specified keywords or phrases. You may want to implement this strategy if your client’s keywords are frequently grouped with an unrelated topic.
E.g., If your client’s Google ad is about exercise mats’ specifically for advanced-level yoga, you may choose to exclude ‘foam exercise mats’ or ‘thick exercise mats.’ This would eliminate the possibility of ad spend being attributed to searches or clicks that didn’t stem from your client’s ideal audience.
Agency Tip: Use AgencyAnalytics’ Google Ads dashboard to keep an eye on top-performing keywords, impressions, clicks, and much more! Over time, see which keywords are performing best and which ones can be swapped. If you’re simultaneously running other ad campaigns, build a PPC dashboard. Use this consolidated, intuitive reporting format to analyze the overall marketing picture and make recommendations for future campaigns.
5. Intent Keywords
As the name implies, this type of keyword considers user intent and infers what kind of action they may take. Intent keywords are tied to the stages of the buyer’s journey and will give you clues on which stage a user is at based on their search inquiry.
Users who input informational keywords into a search engine are likely looking for more insights, details, and key features of your client’s product or service. As you can infer, users are at the awareness stage and are seeking more information before moving further along the buyer’s journey.
E.g., A user may input ‘how to choose the best facial cleanser’ to learn more about options and possibilities.
This type of keyword is inputted by a user that wants to be redirected to a particular website or product page. It’s likely that the user is in the consideration phase and wants more information about your client’s product or service before making a firm decision.
E.g., Clearasil facial cleanser
This type of keyword is typically inputted when a user is serious about conversion but is still weighing the best options. Users that input commercial keywords into search engines are likely just a step above consideration but still not quite at the conversion phase (though pretty close).
E.g. ‘facial cleanser reviews’ and ‘Clearasil vs. Neutrogena facial cleanser’ both indicate that a user may be serious about purchasing but is still exploring the best choice.
Lastly, this type of keyword is used by prospects who intend to perform an action such as purchasing an online product from your client, downloading an e-book, or starting a free trial. Users are likely aligned to the conversion stage when transactional keywords are utilized.
E.g., ‘buy Clearasil cleanser online’ corresponds to a user who is likely ready to purchase at that point in time.
How To Use Keywords for SEO and PPC Campaigns
Remember, as we mentioned, it all comes back to user intent, which is the foundation for both SEO and PPC campaigns. Your clients also need consistent and adaptable marketing tactics, especially when it comes to conquering the top spots on search engine results pages (SERPs) and getting those high-intent ad clicks.
To research keyword usage, popularity, and search volume, use a keyword tool for SEO and PPC campaigns. This will be especially handy if you’re brainstorming keyword phrases, monitoring competitor keywords, or searching for new opportunities.
Finding the Ideal SEO Keywords
To get the most out of SEO keyword research, your agency should:
Understand the unique selling proposition of your client’s product offering
List any descriptive features and think of what users may search for if they’re looking for your client’s brand and/or product offering
Think of what distinguishes your client from competitors and whether there are opportunities to capitalize on less competitive keywords
Consider the types of inquiries, phrases, and questions a user may type. It helps to understand the buyer’s journey and what a user may be looking for at any point in time
Choosing PPC Keywords For Maximum Impact
Alternatively, consider the following when selecting keywords for a PPC campaign. In this case, remember that you’re trying to get users to click on a relevant ad. Therefore, it’s essential to:
Set a campaign goal and understand what your client is trying to achieve. Perhaps they want users to follow through on a call to action (such as filling out a form or completing an online transaction). Or maybe it’s driving traffic to a particular website. Whatever it may be, you’ll need to know a goal beforehand to ensure keywords align with a strategic objective.
Brainstorm any possible keyword combinations after you’ve compiled your keyword research list and put yourself in the user’s shoes to understand what they’re searching for. After you’ve decided on a shortlist of keywords, check whether there are adequate search volumes. You don’t want to be in a scenario where virtually no one is using keywords you’re bidding on.
Depending on your client’s objective and where users are in the buyer’s journey, it’s helpful to include intent-based words such as “purchase,” “buy,” or “download” as part of your PPC keyword combinations.
Keep in mind that highly competitive keywords will result in higher ad spend. Evaluate whether that’s an approach you want to pursue or if there are any suitable keyword alternatives with a higher ROI.
Agency Tip: For SEO and PPC campaigns, use different types of keywords (based on the ones we outlined previously) and consider variations of keyword combinations. That way, you’ll cover your bases and be on your way to meeting those goals.
Streamline Your Client’s SEO & PPC Keyword Reporting
Coming up with an effective keyword strategy may seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be! Diversify your client’s digital marketing strategy with a balanced mix of the different types of keywords while considering user intent at each buyer journey stage.
Once you’ve outlined the most effective keywords, the next step is to monitor keywords consistently and tweak them where necessary.
Whether you’re a smaller agency or you’ve been around for some time, a solid SEO reporting tool like AgencyAnalytics can help you to keep on top of your client’s keyword game. Not to mention our white labeling and client login features also add extra pizzazz to their reporting experience!
If you’re tasked with running multiple ad campaigns for your client, our PPC dashboard consolidates keyword tracking and every analytic you need–all in one place. No more sifting through numerous platforms to pull metrics. Your client’s PPC performance is just a click away!
Advertising and PPC aside, tracking keywords is also an integral part of your client’s organic SEO strategy. And trust that we’ve got that, too! The AgencyAnalytics SEO dashboard pools your client’s SEO efforts in an intuitive, user-friendly format that’s easy to reference.
Tracking paid and organic efforts will optimize your client’s keyword strategy and position their brand closer to marketing success.
Stay on top of the game by saving time each month through automated reporting and real-time data updates. AgencyAnalytics is built for marketing agencies like you–try it risk-free for 14-days.