I once wrote here at the official Amplitude Digital blog about how running along The Strand through Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach at times puts me in touch with frustrated (and foolish) joggers nearly getting hit by cyclists – and how this phenomenon reminded me of some paid search advertisers nearly getting run over by not using negative keywords.
More recently, while down near the beach once again, I had another similar epiphany. Or at least an interesting analogy.
If you spend any time at the beach yourself, you’re no doubt familiar with the following scene:
There’s a parking lot near the beach. The parking lot, especially in the summer months, is often packed. Spaces are at a premium. Or so it appears…at first.
In larger parking lots, at least, there are often available parking spaces a little bit further away from the beach. But that doesn’t stop people from prowling, poaching, honking and occasionally even fighting over those “premium spots” closer to the ocean’s edge. Or just from driving around in circles, time after time, in the desperate yet often futile hope that a primo space will suddenly appear.
Sometimes, these would-be parkers know there are others spots available a bit further down the road, but they’re too lazy to go that route. Or they fear they have too much gear to haul down to the beach and back. Or maybe they just like the feeling they get when they “find” a premier spot down by the beach.
Other times, however, these people are simply unaware that these other spots sit there, unoccupied, just waiting to wrap their vehicle in a warm embrace (sometimes, of course, this automotive affection comes with a fee).
Well, it occurred to me recently that it’s a good bit like this with long-tail keywords.
While would-be beach parkers fight tooth-and-nail for premium parking spaces, many would-be digital marketers knock themselves senseless attempting to stake claim to pricey, premier “head” terms. And all along, just a little bit further down the trail (or tail)…there are plenty of cheaper, less-competitive, “long-tail” keywords to be had.
Jut like those open parking spaces a little bit away from the beach.
In fact, according to Google’s information and resource hub for digital marketers, “Think Insights With Google,” (and Google Internal Data 2011), some 16% of the daily queries on Google have never been seen by Google before.
In other words, there are a LOT of queries (also known as searches) that happen far less frequently than the “leading” terms searched. Therefore, smart digital marketers should not focus solely on mass-market, big-name search questions, terms and keywords – but find the deeper value in long-tail keywords (the less-popular, less-searched for keyword variations) that actually represent more search volume, in aggregate, than more popular keywords.
In other words…they should look to see if there are any less-visible or popular parking spots available down by the beach. And stop driving around in circles, wasting time, burning through fuel, inviting anger and possibly even inciting conflict.
Of course, savvy marketers can also do a lot to research more high-traffic, low-competition terms – and use broad, modified broad and phrase match terms.
I wrote about these different kinds of match terms a good bit in that earlier blog post on the benefits of using negative keywords, but in case you missed that, here’s a quick primer once again:
Broad match is the default matching option. Broad match essentially means that your ad may show if a search term contains your keyword terms in any order, and possibly along with other terms. Your ads can also show for singular or plural forms, synonyms, stemmings (such as “roof” and “roofing”), related searches, and other relevant variations.
Then there’s “modified broad match,” or “broad match modifier.” You can add a modifier, a plus sign (+), to your broad match keywords if you’d like your ads to show when someone searches for close variants of your keywords in any order. “Close variants” include misspellings, singular/plural forms, abbreviations and acronyms, and stemmings. Unlike broad match, using broad match modifier excludes synonyms or related searches. Because of this, it adds an additional level of control.
Using phrase match, on the other hand, allows your ad to show when someone searches for your exact keyword, or your exact keyword with additional words preceding or following it. Your ad will display when someone searches for close variants of that exact keyword, or with additional words before or after it. Remember, “close variants” include misspellings, singular and plural forms, acronyms, stemmings, abbreviations, and accents.
Using phrase match can help you touch more customers, while also still providing you with more precise targeting. Your keywords are then less likely to show ads to people searching for terms that aren’t related to your products or services.
You can always find a much more detailed breakdown of these and other match terms at the Google AdWords Help Center.
What are your thoughts on long-tail keywords and their hidden benefits? Have you or any other digital marketers you know found any “secret spots” that aren’t much further away from the beach – and offer just as fantastic a view of the ocean?
We’d love to hear some of your success stories when it comes to using long-tail keywords. Let us know in the comments section below this blog.