Low Hanging Fruit and PPC Keyword Opportunities

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We could call it Target Market Proximity, ROI Proximity, or Persuasive Distance. How closely your offering fits the search query comes heavily into play in terms of:

  1. Choosing keywords
  2. Grouping keywords
  3. Writing ad copy
  4. Choosing and creating landing pages
  5. Defining target/acceptable KPI’s

Low Hanging Fruit Keywords vs. Further Afield Keywords

Some keywords are slam dunks. They’re high volume, “head” (not long-tail) keywords, and people who are searching for them want what you have to offer. They produce great ROI. They’re the low hanging fruit.

Other keywords are a little or a lot further off the trail. It takes more clever advertising to direct people from those searches to what you offer. It may require a persuasive landing page. You have further to go from where the searcher is at psychologically to where they’re buying what you’re selling.

Action-Oriented Keyword Selection

The first way to think about this in terms of searcher intent is what action are they wanting to engage in.

If you’re booking hotel rooms in myrtle beach, the guy that’s searching for “book myrtle beach hotel room” is just who you’re looking for.

In order of low hanging fruit to more difficult to sell would be:

  1. “book myrtle beach hotel room” – they’re ready to book
  2. “myrtle beach hotel prices” – comparing prices
  3. “myrtle beach hotel” – interested in the type of offering
  4. “myrtle beach” – interested in your destination
  5. “hotel” – interested in staying somewhere, anywhere

When someone is first thinking about Myrtle Beach as a destination, they search for “myrtle beach”. Once they’re thinking about really staying, they search “myrtle beach hotel”. If they’re comparing prices, “myrtle beach hotel prices”. When they’re ready to book they might search “book myrtle beach hotel”.


The important info for the PPC marketer is what are the search volumes, ROI, and extra work required for conversion at each stage.

Those are only intent keywords. As you might guess, there’s another level- because many people search for hotels by hotel name or national chain brand name.

Focus-Oriented Keyword Selection

The next way of looking for low or high hanging fruit is in terms of how specifically the searcher is looking for you, as opposed to your category, competitors, or larger categories.


Above is the general view of this framework.

Here’s a more specific example:


Approaches to Searcher Focus Keywords

Brand Keywords, e.g. “Dunes Village Resort”

These are the lowest hanging fruit. Someone is already searching for your offering. ROI is super high and so is conversion rate. We regularly see ROAS of 1000% or greater in these campaigns.

Some clients debate whether they would get these sales anyway without PPC. Several third-parties (iCrossing, and Compete.com) have done research that demonstrates the extra traffic and sales people get from doing PPC and SEO simultaneously for the same keywords. And PPC is stronger than SEO at warming up the sale. Ad copy can have a powerful effect on conversion rate and average sale. You can’t do that with SEO.

Category Keywords, e.g. “Myrtle Beach Hotels”

This is a good place to win new business. It’s harder, because you have to have a strong offer or benefit, and ROI may be lower (200-500% ROAS), but keep in mind the lifetime value of a new customer. You may have just won a competitor’s former customer, and you often get their permission to continue to market to them for months or years after the first sale.

Meta Category, e.g. “Vacations”

This is clearly more difficult. You have to sell them on your category AND your brand. But if you find a strong offer or selling technique, it’s another place to pull in more new business.

Competitor, e.g. “The Caravelle Resort”

This is harder than the meta-category, because someone is already thinking about your specific competitor. Just getting attention here can be difficult- that’s the job of your ad copy, and if your CTR from that is too low, CPC shoots up and you’ll never get great ROI.

You need a killer competitive advantage, offer, or incentive. You need to create a landing page that spells out the differences between you and your competitor. One ethical approach is to point out that although your competitor is good for some people, other people with other needs would do better with your product. Spell out who those people are, what those needs are, and show how you meet them while the competitor does not.

Brian Carter is the Director of Search Engine Marketing for Fuel Interactive, an interactive marketing agency in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. He is responsible for the SEO, PPC, SMM, and ORM programs at Fuel and its partner traditional agency Brandon Advertising & PR.

Brian Carter
Brian is author of The Like Economy: How Businesses Make Money With Facebook and Facebook Marketing: Leveraging Facebook's Features For Your Marketing Campaigns, How to... Read Full Bio
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  • Betamale

    Great analysis, definitely gets me thinking about Long Tail again and reminds me not to forget about it.

    The question is, if you could choose one strategy above all others listed which would it be? Meta Category seems to be most obvious.

  • nancy chou

    This is a very educational article with a simple example that helps readers comprehend.

    However, I dare challenge people don’t normally search “book myrtle beach hotel”. More likely, people will search “myrtle beach hotel” and end up clicking on a hotel.com, travelocity.com type of site or a hotel specific site. From there, they will book a hotel.

    Common sense would have it that we don’t jump to search by “book….” even though that’s our end goal.

    Best regards – Nancy

  • Mehmet Cihangir

    Great work! i really enjoyed while reading, especially the simplest examples make article to flow…
    I have the same question and agree with betamale, which strategy we should choose? and i noticed that you directly skipped “Meta Category” coz ROI is lower and the expenses would be so high right?
    so if i didnt get wrong you suggest small businesses to work on category keywords and brand keywords, right?
    i think we can create loads of “category keywords” for campaign. And we wouldnt focus on lower ROI strategies.

  • Ciana Chu

    Good explanation about selecting keywords effectively. Search engines like http://www.feedmil.com helps you search for feeds you want and access to right information you need fast.

  • Tag44

    Nice post on keywords selection and on other search engine strategy. Thanks for sharing such useful information with us.

  • Deb McClanahan

    Very interesting article – even for the non-marketer. The more the “ROW” (rest of world) of business owners can learn about this stuff, the smarter we can be for ourselves and our clients (even if we aren’t doing SEO or SEM).
    Thanks for organizing your thoughts and experiences so well on this topic.

  • Sexy Stars

    Clear View

  • Roy Morejon

    Good Refresher on Focus-Oriented Keyword Selections – Myrtle Beach sounds good!

  • Brandon Buttars

    Great reminder. Great article to reference for someone who doesn’t understand long-tailed keywords. The illustrations help too.

  • pier

    thank you…

  • psycholog internetowy

    great to know that stuff!

  • Ziggiziggi Bathrooms

    Very informative but I guess that this is more effective and easier to put into practice for services rather than for products