3 Types of Keywords Needed for Successful SEO and SEM

When trying to create content that’s friendly to both organic search and paid search it’s important that your digital strategy utilizes keywords from these three main buckets below. Each type of keyword has their own pros and cons but wrapping these all together in one solid keyword strategy will yield the strongest results.

Generic Keywords

Just as the title suggests these are very generic, unspecific terms that get searched for. Something like “Tennis Shoes” or “Digital Cameras” would be considered a generic term. When developing an organic search strategy we typically stray away from these terms as they are highly competitive and not specific enough to the sites actual content. However, if you are able to rank for a generic keyword your site should receive a decent amount of traffic from that term. Conversions for that term might be a little low as a user is hitting your site for a very generic overarching topic and nothing too specific.

When running an AdWords campaign its nice to integrate some of these generic keywords to make sure that every opportunity is covered. Due to the competitive nature of a generic keyword they will cost more per click. If the ad ranks well and receives a good Ad Score from Google, decent traffic might follow. Just as with organic search, once a user gets on the website from the search engine, conversions will most likely be low for this term.

Generic terms are a tough decision to pursue and I tend to avoid them unless I have the right site with the right content and the right promotion budget behind it.

Broad Match Keywords

Broad match terms are the core of SEO. Terms like “Red Tennis Shoes” or “Canon T2I Digital Camera” will present a stronger opportunity and engagement than a generic term. Optimizing for broad match terms will provide good traffic with not as much competition. A broad match searcher has a specific item/content that they are searching for and optimizing for these type of terms will provide an average amount of conversions.

Broad match terms are right in the middle of things and are highly recommended due to moderate competition/cost and click through rate. A site that bases the majority of its content around these type of terms should perform pretty well.

Long Tail Keywords

The last of these three types of keywords to consider is the long tail keyword. Think of these as the sentences that get typed into Google. Something like “how do I set the aperture on my Canon T3I digital camera” would be considered a long tail keyword. Long tail keywords might not be the biggest traffic drivers to your site but if you rank for a long tail term you will get traffic due to its specific nature and low competition. From an AdWords standpoint, these terms will be the most affordable but traffic might not be as abundant. However, conversion rates for these terms should be stronger than generic or broad keywords.

The meat of a strong keyword strategy will reside within the broad match keyword but long tail and generic terms should be integrated from both a SEO and SEM perspective to maintain a balanced approach to your search marketing ecosystem.

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