When Keywords Don't Work in Search

3/14/2007

- Danielle Leitch, Exec. Vice President

There are numerous situations that I have come across when keywords simply do not work well in search - paid search to be exact, for products and services which are difficult to define.

What happens if you have something to promote that is so cutting-edge that nobody knows about it yet? How about when your product is really hard to explain? If it is not well known or even slightly known, then chances are nobody is searching for it...yet. It is in these instances where keyword marketing has limited effectiveness in the short run. Although you could try cost per click (CPC) marketing through the traditional channels (top tier engines), it is highly likely the search volume or impressions wouldn't generate much traffic. There is also the daunting task of trying to figure out what words or phrases would actually describe your product or service, since it may require more words than acceptable for a campaign keyword, even within the "long tail of search".

Our agency has found success outside of traditional keyword buys for these situations. When you are unable to easily identify your product/service with a word or two (for the reasons described above), then contextual or behavioral marketing becomes vital to the equation. Your prospects may not know about you yet, but you have a pretty good idea who you're going to target with this new service/product. So, find them and introduce yourself, versus waiting for them to search for you!

Demographics - Behavior - Complimentary Products, Services or Content
These three elements are critical to determine about your market, so you can then execute a marketing plan online. I am not suggesting to eliminate traditional paid search entirely if there are terms that can describe your offering, but this may help generate momentum.

There are a number of contextual advertising vehicles that allows you to target specific categories or websites where your customers or prospects may be found. Understanding your target demographic and how they interact online is crucial to success with a contextual paid search campaign. There are also behavioral networks, like AlmondNet or Tacoda, which would be helpful in these, keyword-less scenarios. For instance, if you know buyers of your product will be very engaged with health related research and the medical industry, you can target users who visit those sites and enable them to view your ad.

Thus if identifying keywords that are generating traffic isn't possible, then look beyond contextual or behavioral opportunities.

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