Getting the most out of your SEO efforts becomes more challenging every day. Virtually any combination of letters yields search results, and the more common the word being searched is, the more insane the competition will be for prime ad space on its SERP.
While there are plenty of strategies and opinions available for maximizing PPC value, online consultant Shaad Hamid has outlined a logical approach to keyword research that will lead to more efficient choices for search driven ads.
In his recent article on the subject Hamid uses the work he performed during an audit on a client’s AdWords account as a model for his process of determining user intent. Though his client is relatively well-established and serves a unique niche B2B market, the lessons and logic of his method can be applied in virtually any scenario.
When deciding how best to focus ad copy and direct traffic from clicks, it’s important to determine who will be searching your keywords and why. Answering the following questions will help to refine the selection of your keywords and maximize their desired impact:
Is the user seeking information or making a purchase?
Searching “Broadway Musicals” may indicate a general interest in theatre, whereas a search for “The Book of Mormon Tickets” suggests a user that is serious about seeing a show.
While not a definite indicator of intent, it is also worth considering whether the search entry is singular or plural in cases where the item may or may not be sold as a product. A user who intends to make a purchase is more likely to type “Grandfather Clock” than “Grandfather Clocks.”
How savvy is the user?
A user with expertise about the item being searched will obviously use much greater specificity, while a less informed one will use more general terms. For example, someone entering “Sony Cyber-shot HX30V” clearly knows more about the product they’re searching rather than someone who types, “Digital Cameras.” Naturally, the expertise of the user will dictate the degree of depth and specificity of the results you provide.
Is the user comparing prices or features?
Using the example from the previous question, we can also make an educated guess about whether the user has already chosen a product to purchase and is shopping for the best price, or whether they are comparing the features of various models.
This question relates to the previous consideration about expertise, since a user who’s shopping prices is already familiar enough with the item to make a purchase. In this case information about price, shipping costs and vendor reliability are desired, as opposed the product reviews and comparisons sought by users researching a potential purchase.
Is the user seeking a solution or acting on one?
A search for “Attracting New Customers” indicates a user that is looking for a solution to a problem. In contrast, “Performance Marketing Tools” suggests that the user has solved the problem and is looking for a way to apply the solution. You can tailor the content of ads that appear from problem or solution-based keywords accordingly.
Are results time sensitive?
Determining the user’s timeframe allows you to offer more actionable search results. For example, you may direct potential customers to a POS page, a page offering more information or a trial membership sign-up page based on their individual needs.
Once you’re able to determine the intentions of users, you can more effectively choose keywords and their corresponding ads. Though not an exact science, refining keywords to address user intent will maximize the value of your pay per click efforts.