Keywords play a critical role in the success of search marketing. They are the words and phrases that describe or relate to the content of a webpage or a website. Marketers need to know the relevant range of keywords that target customers enter into the browser’s search box when they seek the information or the products/services provided by the site. This understanding forms the basis for search advertising and search engine optimization (SEO) strategies.

To make the most of keywords, advertisers should narrow down the possibilities to a manageable list. They should choose a combination of keywords that would attract target customers at different stages of their buying journey, from awareness to consideration and ultimately, to conversion.

Long Tail and Short Tail Keywords

Long tail and short tail keywords - Search Marketing.

Exhibit 26.10   Long tail and short tail keywords.

Keywords may be classified as long and short tail (Exhibit 26.10).

Short Tail Keywords

Short tail keywords are phrases with only one or two words. They tend to be generic in nature, often pertaining to the category as a whole, for instance “shampoo”, “marketing”, “marketing analytics”, “washing machines” etc. They generate high search volume, and since they attract high level of competition, the bidding for these words tends to be high.

Marketers may use these keywords in their ads to draw high traffic to their home page. Conversion rates, however, are likely to be low.

Long Tail Keywords

Long tail keywords are longer phrases that are more specific in nature. For example, “anti-dandruff shampoo”, “marketing analytics for practitioners”, “gain-loss analysis” and “front-loading low suds washing machines”.

They generate low, but better-targeted search volume that leads to relatively higher conversion rate. They also attract lesser competition.

Category, Brand and Competitor Keywords

Besides long and short tail descriptors, keywords may also be classified according to whether they target category seekers, the company’s product (brand) seekers, or the competitor’s product seekers.

Category Keywords

Category keywords are the generic short tail keywords, relating to almost any product or service in the category. For example, Shampoo, Soap, Body Wash, Feel Fresh etc.

Brand Keywords

Brand keywords are the phrases that are tightly bound to a brand. Taking Dove body wash as an example, these include “one-quarter moisturising cream”, “real beauty”, “self-esteem” and “Dove body wash”.

Competitor Keywords

Competitor keywords target a competitor’s keywords. This can be an effective strategy especially for a small player if the target competitor is a much stronger player. If the brand Dove wants to target Johnsons body wash, it may target a Johnsons keyword such as “for all you love”.

When pursuing competitor keywords, one needs to be mindful of legal implications especially when targeting trademarks such as brand names, as this is illegal in several countries.

More examples of the use of category, brand, and competitor keywords, particularly in the context of marketing strategy and the digital marketing funnel, can be found in Section Keyword Strategy.

Previous     Next

Use the Search Bar to find content on MarketingMind.

Digital Marketing Workshop

Digital Marketing Workshop

Unlock the Power of Digital Marketing: Join us for an immersive online experience designed to empower you with the skills and knowledge needed to excel in the dynamic world of digital marketing. In just three days, you will transform into a proficient digital marketer, equipped to craft and implement successful online strategies.

Marketing Analytics Workshop

Marketing Analytics Workshop

In an analytics-driven business environment, this analytics-centred consumer marketing workshop is tailored to the needs of consumer analysts, marketing researchers, brand managers, category managers and seasoned marketing and retailing professionals.