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Choosing Your Keyword Champion: Setting Yourself Up For Success In the Auction

Discover the key considerations for selecting the right keywords in digital marketing. Find out how to maximize your budget and drive high-quality traffic.

Whether you’re focusing on organic content strategy or deciding which Google or Microsoft keywords to bid on, keywords are a central part of digital marketing.

Knowing which keywords to go after and which to hold off on can make or break the marketing budget.

Here are a few considerations when choosing your keyword champion:

  • How competitive is the keyword?
  • Is the keyword focused on high-value prospects or customers?
  • Are there cheaper traffic options?

While keyword theory has many moving parts, these three represent the biggest impact areas.

The ideas we’ll discuss apply to both Google and Microsoft, however the examples will be mostly Google-driven.

How Competitive Is The Keyword

Both organic and paid search markets need to factor in how competitive a keyword is.

Whether you’re vying for the top spot in the search engine result page (SERP) or contending with expensive auction prices, a high-competition keyword can break the bank.

However, if it’s a mission-critical one, you may not have a choice.

While going niche or longtail can mitigate some of this, only going for low search volume ideas can stunt growth.

As a general rule, paid keywords should be fairly close to each other in auction price.

This is because budgets are set at the campaign level, and you want to make sure you can fit enough clicks in your day to generate leads/sales.

For example, if a lawyer is going after personal injury leads, they might bid on/build content around:

  • “Personal injury lawyers near me.”
  • “Hurt in an injury need a lawyer.”
  • “Car accident lawyer do I have a case?”

All three are longtail, yet they represent different levels of client “readiness.”

If one of the variants has a high auction price or has an overly competitive SERP, it could be useful to swap out “attorney” for “lawyer.”

In The Paid World, There Are A Few Ways To Identify Which Keyword Concepts Might Be High Or Low Competition

  • Dynamic Search Ads (DSA): Allow Google/Microsoft’s crawling of your feed to tell you which ideas are popular and which are low volume. Additionally, you can audit the auction price of ideas before you commit to them.
  • PMax Search Themes: PMax has URL expansion (a form of DSA), but the real exploratory power is in Search Themes. Search Themes can outrank traditional keywords if they’re on broad or phrase match. They will always lose if the keyword is on exact. Seeing the auction prices for PMax and how often it’s winning can help you make the best choice for your keyword champion.
  • Broad match: Broad match has improved quite a bit, and one of its best use cases is to uncover new and profitable ways people search. You just need to make sure no one is

Is The Keyword Focused On High-Value Customers?

Return on investment, or ROI, is one of the universal key performance indicators (KPIs) and guiding light metrics.

Syncing in conversion value can help guide bidding strategies and make meaningful campaign decisions.

Yet not enough people factor this data in, which means keywords can look like they’re driving big value when they’re actually just creating noise.

By setting conversion values (which can be placeholder numbers), you can see which keywords are driving higher value.

Another important step is to use primary and secondary conversions.

By ensuring lower-value actions don’t count as conversions in reporting and bidding, you’ll ensure big-volume keywords don’t represent false positives.

When these guardrails are in place, factoring in conversion value against CPA (cost per acquisition) can help save or condemn expensive keywords.

Cheaper Traffic Options

Sometimes, a keyword is just too expensive. Forcing a keyword to work with a misaligned budget is asking for a failed campaign.

The first step should be looking to close variants. Sometimes, a close variant represents the lion-share of how you’re getting the traffic anyway.

By bidding on it directly (and accounting for it in your ad creative), you can get a better quality score.

However, if the keyword and all its variants are out of your price range, consider more visual channels to generate traffic. This applies to SEO pros as well.

A big part of how search is created is through visual inputs.

By building out video content and engaging with social communities, you can inspire new ways of searching and benefit from less competitive markets.

Final Takeaways

Do not set and forget keywords.

Be sure to challenge your keyword champions to confirm they’re the right ones for you.

More resources:

Featured Image: fizkes/Shutterstock

Category Paid Media
VIP CONTRIBUTOR Navah Hopkins Evangelist at Optmyzr

Navah Hopkins is the Evangelist for Optmyzr. A veteran of the digital marketing industry, she began as an SEO in ...

Choosing Your Keyword Champion: Setting Yourself Up For Success In the Auction

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