Keyword Strategy


Exhibit 19.14   Short tail keywords are better suited for targeting prospects at the start of the digital marketing funnel, whereas long tail keywords work for lead and customers who have progressed down the funnel.

Marketers, especially the bigger players in a category, should use short tail, category keywords to draw high traffic to their home page. Though conversion rates are likely to be low, these keywords are good for targeting prospects in the start of the digital marketing funnel (Exhibit 19.14).

They should use longer phrases that more specific in nature for targeting visitor and leads who have progressed further down the funnel. Examples of these long tail keywords include “anti-dandruff shampoo”, “marketing analytics for practitioners” and “front-loading low suds washing machines”. They generate lower, but better-targeted search volume that triggers relatively higher conversion rate. They also attract lesser competition.

For affordability reasons, smaller players may choose to target category keywords less frequently than their bigger rivals. Though these keywords are effective in drawing high traffic, the high level of competition makes them relatively expensive.

While fundamental to the success of any product, it is vital for the survival of smaller brands that they remain well-differentiated, that they craft an identity that distinguishes them from their big competitors.

Well-differentiated brands can target their brand specific keywords, i.e. USPs or points of difference. Not only would this incur lower bids, it would also yield better click-through and acquisition rates.

In addition to long tail, brand specific key words, these players may consider targeting competitor keywords especially those associated with market leaders. However, one needs to be mindful of legal implications especially when targeting trademarks such as brand names, as this is illegal in a number of countries.


Exhibit 19.15   Singapore Management University (SMU) targets competitor NUS’s keywords.

Exhibit 19.15 provides an example of the use of competitor keywords. Here Singapore Management University and other business school ads are targeting competitor NUS’s keywords to increase visibility and attract traffic seeking NUS EMBA.

Targeting competitor’s keyword can be relatively expensive due to low score on the ad’s relevance and weak landing page quality. Moreover, it would be difficult to secure the top slot for the keywords if the competitor also advertises.

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