Search engine optimization (SEO) is often associated with keyword research, and pay-per-click (PPC) marketing with bid management. But people rarely talk about keyword management—all the work that has to happen between discovering keywords and managing bids. Keyword management, or the analysis, organization and refining that occurs in the middle ground before you publish content and adjust bids, is both the most important and the most overlooked part of paid and organic search marketing.
Keyword management is more involved than plain-old keyword research—it's an innovative approach to discovering, analyzing, grouping and organizing large numbers of keywords. It's worth it because it makes everything else you do in search marketing more effective, meaning you drive more leads and sales and get a higher return on investment (ROI).
Below are five benefits of implementing keyword management practices in your marketing efforts.
#1: More targeted keyword research
Keyword management pulls keywords from a greater number and variety of sources, with a focus on your own Web analytics. This practice has several advantages over a dependence of public keyword tools:
- It's more personalized and specific to your business
- It's more accurate and data-driven
- It's private, proprietary data
Because your analytics can tell you the real keywords that drive traffic to your site (not to mention which keywords are most likely to trigger conversions, once they get there), these keywords make your research far more relevant and actionable.
#2: Better keyword organization
Using more extensive, in-depth research tactics, you have a larger number of keywords to deal with, so strong organization is that much more important. A big part of keyword management is organizing your keywords into a branching structure of groups and subgroups (a taxonomy) by relevance. These themed groupings will have wide-ranging benefits on all aspects of your search marketing campaigns, including:
- More targeted landing pages and marketing copy
- Better-performing PPC ads
- Higher Quality Score (more exposure for less money)
- More traffic, and more of it qualified
#3: Steady growth and improvement
Keyword management is an ongoing process, not a one-time assessment. Your analytics are a renewable source of fresh keywords, and it's important to keep mining that data for new, valuable opportunities, and to incorporate those keywords into your existing keyword groups. Looking at keyword research and organization as a continuous, iterative process means your search campaigns will always be growing and giving you better returns, so lead and sales volumes climb over time.
#4: "Cleaner" research and campaigns
Another important element of keyword management, especially for pay-per-click advertising, is negative keyword discovery. This means finding the keywords in your search campaigns that have turned out to be very low-performing or irrelevant to your business. You may be paying for clicks on these keywords, but getting no return on those clicks. In addition, they may have low click-through rates that are dragging down your overall Quality Score. This is a waste of your budget, not to mention your time. By weeding out these wasteful keywords, you can save a lot of money and streamline your campaigns.
#5: Easier workflow
Well-organized keyword research makes it easier to prioritize what you need to do next (and, of course, there's always something to do next). With keyword management, you can get a quick overview of which keyword groups deserve your attention first. This attention might take the form of:
- Breaking an unwieldy keyword group up into smaller groups
- Turning a keyword group into an ad group in AdWords
- Writing compelling, keyword-rich PPC ads
- Cleaning up a keyword group by eliminating irrelevant keywords
- Testing ads to improve CTR
And so on.
This is really just the beginning—the better managed your keywords are, the more these benefits continue to compound each other. Ancillary benefits of adopting keyword management practices, depending on how you make use of them, can include easier collaboration among team members, better transfer of information between SEO and PPC activities, less mindless, repetitive busy work and more. It comes down to implementing strategies that drive better results for lower costs.
About Elisa Gabbert
Elisa Gabbert is the Senior Content Development Manager at WordStream Inc., a provider of Internet Marketing Software, which includes a free keyword research tool for discovering profitable head, mid and long tail keywords.