In the complex landscape of PPC, many lament on where to focus: fine-tuning keywords, or selecting targeted audiences?

 

If you have to choose between the two, put your efforts into keywords all day long. The single most effective aspect of a successful PPC campaign are the keywords, hands down. All the demographic research in the world can’t make up for the careful selection of appropriate keywords for your campaign. So if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the myriad of tasks involved in plotting a PPC campaign, start and end with keywords.

 

Why Keywords are So Crucial

 

On the one hand, it’s obvious why keywords are critical; these are the keys to the kingdom, the very words your customers will use to find you. What’s not obvious about the importance of keywords is how many competitors just plain get them wrong. Do-it-yourselfers are especially prone to mistakes in keyword selection, and a lot of that comes down to the selection of tools. Most of the free resources, and even many of the paid options, don’t do a tremendous job of thoroughly combing through keyword combinations and identifying those with the most value and relevance.

 

Too often, pay-per-click managers go after the most competitive keyword selections, due to the high popularity. While chasing down the most searched for terms in your niche may sound like a great idea, it will no doubt be enormously expensive to pull off. If you don’t have the bankroll to take on the big dogs, choose a smarter route and narrow your focus to targeted and long tail keywords that have far less competition. You’ll spend a lot less for your campaigns and overall perhaps see less traffic, but the keywords are more likely to source quality leads that increase your conversions. This combination is where revenues truly start to increase.

 

The Truth About Audience Focus

 

There’s a simple reason that keywords are more critical than demographic to focus on; by their very nature, appropriate keyword selection requires that you have a clear vision of your target audience as well. Rather than focus solely on going after a specific audience sector, however, you should incorporate your customer research into your keyword selection. This creates a “one stone two birds” effect, and strengthens your campaigns significantly.

 

Marketers who put audience focus first pay too much attention to who they’re trying to reach, rather than how. The who is obviously an important component, but keywords, which represent the “how”, are the fishing lure that attracts your chosen catch. This is in part why focusing on keywords as your primary objective will get you better results.

 

Keep Your Keywords Organized

 

In the PPC space, low-cost, high-quality keywords are the ticket to high ROIs. As you go about your research, it’s essential that you have an organized way to manage your keyword data for each of your targeted campaigns. Don’t just rely on a couple of phrases to do all your heavy lifting; by narrowing down your niches in various slices, different sets of keywords can reach different demographics. Find a tool that allows you to group different keyword phrases into various groups, and then quantify the results of your actual campaigns. You will no doubt find that some keywords work better on different selections of your customer base; as long as you are accurately capturing these results, your ROIs will steadily increase as you learn from each campaign.

 

With all the complexities of keywords and every other component of a PPC campaign, it’s always best to trust an expert paid search manager to get the best results out of your campaign. Without a deep understanding of current keyword trends and tools, it’s immensely easy to go down the wrong path with your audience and waste precious marketing dollars.

 

If you’re still going it alone, remember that if you focus solely on selecting the keywords that best appeal to both your business and your customers, you’re setting yourself up for the highest potential for success. Focusing on your demographic as a primary concern will not bring you maximum ROI. In the world of PPC, keywords are king.