Keywords are no joke in the digital marketing world. They are a beacon for online searchers, guiding consumers to relevant pages for products or services they’ve been wanting to purchase.
There are two types of keywords: PPC and SEO. Both have similar qualities characteristics, but how they achieve website traffic differs.
Both PPC and SEO Keywords are applied to make it easier for the target audience to find them online. In general, keywords are embedded into a text, display, or landing page so the search engine algorithm can decipher the content, decide which results page it should be in, and direct it to consumers who are searching for a similar or exact product or service.
Let’s look into how PPC and SEO maneuver their keywords:
PPC (Pay-Per-Click) Keywords
PPC ad Campaigns are placed in the promotional section of a SERP (search engine results page). This is where consumers see the paid ad as one of the top searches when immediately landing on the SERP. Being on the top page of SERP is an ideal spot to be in because honestly, a consumers’ attention is fleeting, and you can only hold their attention for so long.
So, your best bet is bidding on a PPC campaign to shoot right up to the first few results and get clicks and/or conversions.
This is where the juicy part comes in: keywords. Where your paid search campaign displays depends precisely what keywords you bid on. If you offer on a general key-term such as “women’s shoes,” then you definitely wouldn’t show up on a search engine page for the keyword phrase “athletic tees,” now would you?
So, how do PPC Keywords differ from SEO keywords?
PPC Keywords are collected for a digital marketing strategy through the process of bidding. A PPC Bid is the dollar amount a company is willing to pay to rank for a particular keyword or longtail keyword. To explain this more clearly, let’s say Company A is willing to pay 30 dollars per click for “auto insurance” while Company B is willing to pay 40. Although the price of the bid is not the only factor determining who will win the bid, the dollar amount offered is an impactful influence in the overall ad ranking win. But other factors come to play when trying to win over a keyword ranking.
The price of the keyword depends significantly on the overall quality score of your ad or known in the digital marketing world as your “quality score.”
We can follow this simple formula in how to achieve the best ranking in paid ad campaigns:
Quality Score X Maximum CPC Bid = Ad Rank
So, what does Google look for when judging your overall quality score?
1 | Your Click Through Rate: The percentage of people clicking on your advertisement. This is found by dividing the number of impressions to the number of clicks on a paid ad.
2 | Keyword Relevance: How relevant your keyword is to your product, landing page, and whether it is in the correct ad groups.
3 | Landing Page Quality: The quality of user experience in your landing page. Is it easy to navigate? When a user clicks on it, will it take them to exactly what was advertised or will they be confused?
4 | Google Ads History: If you haven’t been in the paid ad game for long, it might take a bit to build a trustworthy reputation. After some long-term usage, your ad rank should improve.
5 | Ad Text Quality: Does it have the right ad extensions, relevant keywords, and provides accurate information on what is on the landing page? If so, then your ad text quality is satisfactory.
Before we move onto discussing SEO keywords, remember that keywords have different dollar amounts depending on the popularity of the keyword. The more popular the keyword, the higher the bid, and the harder it is to rank. It could be worthwhile for your campaign to bid on highly-competitive words, but it may not be sustainable if your budget cannot withstand the high cost-per-click.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Keywords
For SEO Keywords, there is no bidding taking place like with PPC; no platform where marketers can request to be ranked for keywords and no official quality score to worry about. Using SEO Keywords is a more subtle digital marketing strategy and worthwhile when wanting to drive substantial traffic to your website.
To apply keywords for SEO, it all begins on the content of your website. If you methodically insert keywords or long-tail keywords within your website that your target consumers are searching online, then they’ll be more likely to see your page and visit.
How about another example to better explain how SEO Keywords work?
Company C specializes in leather handbags, and their website has multiple landing pages featuring their assortment. One of their pages features their famous selection of Italian leather handbags. Before understanding SEO, Company C only showed pictures and prices of the bag on this page.
Forward a few weeks later, and they notice their Italian leather handbag landing page is having difficulties in driving traffic. They hire a digital marketing agency to help with this issue, and the agency informs them that inserting SEO keywords would help them gain organic traffic.
The digital marketing agency then sets SEO in motion. The agency inserts keywords such as “Italian leather handbags” onto the title, link, image alternate text, and meta description for this landing page. For additional optimization, the agency creates a long story of the origins and characteristics of the handbags to include relevant keywords. This is sending a significant signal to the search engine “hey! We have exactly what this user is looking for!”
By continually adding relevant keywords to landing pages, the search engine will begin to understand the purpose of your website and direct your pages to related searches online.
What is a search engine looking for when it comes to the quality of SEO keywords?
The primary features they are looking for when ranking websites onto a SERP is the relevance of the keywords and the intent they are targeting. Relevance revolves around making sure that all the keywords are segmented correctly and relate to the search that is being performed by the user.
The intent, or the user’s purpose of the search, gets a bit more complicated, but we’ll walk you through the different types and how they may affect how you show up on a user’s SERP.
1 | Commercial (high intent): The searcher has a strong intention of purchasing a product when placing a search. This can be shown through the keywords they’ve used, such as buy, free shipping, coupons, and so on. Due to these keywords’ high intention, the competition to rank is higher.
2 | Informational (low intent): The searcher wants to learn more about a product or service, but is not in the buying stage. This stage is useful in collecting contact information to send the user more information about the product or service you offer. Keywords that indicate the information stage include how to, why, best way to, and others.
3 | Transactional (mid intent): The user is in the process of learning and purchasing a product; a balance between commercial and informational. This takes some convincing to get the user to purchase. Common keywords that signal this intent are reviews, top or best, and versus.
4 | Navigational (mid intent): The user knows exactly what they want and search for a brand name, all you need to do now is to be present in the right SERP. Consider the quality of your landing page and link text to make sure they know it’s you.
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