Navigating Different Kinds of Keywords

Navigating Different Kinds of Keywords

No matter what kind of marketing endeavor you’re planning to launch—whether it’s PPC, SEO, or a simple Web content writing campaign—knowing your keywords is essential. Keywords help guide your content creation, and they also provide users and search engine algorithms alike with a sense of what your content is about—how it needs to be classified. All of this points to the essential nature of keyword research.

As you do keyword research of any kind, though, it’s important to understand the basic classifications of keywords that are out there. Thinking in terms of broad categories will show you which keywords to pick, and how best these keywords can be utilized.

Separating Branded and Non-Branded Keywords

The first distinction you’ll need to make is between branded and non-branded keywords.

Branded Keywords

Branded keywords are the ones that are specific to your brand—proper names, copyrighted terms, anything that’s applicable expressly to your business. Branded keywords include all of the following:

  • The name of your website;
  • The name of your business, if it differs from your website;
  • Misspellings of your company name (you have to assume that some search engine users will mistype it);
  • Branded product names—things like iPad, McGriddle, etc.

Generally, branded keywords are the ones that lead to conversions, which is why it’s so important to optimize for them; simply put, they represent the most likely avenue you have for turning leads into paying customers.

There are other reasons to focus on these branded keywords, though—such as brand management. After all, if you’re the marketing director for CVS Pharmacy, you want to make sure that a Google search for “CVS” turns up your company’s content; if the highest-ranking content is something from Walgreens, that makes your branding look sloppy and weak.

Non-Branded Keywords

Non-branded keywords are the more generic terms—basically, any terms that don’t fit on the list above. These don’t usually convert as well, yet they represent ways in which people are likely to search for information; they are critical, then, for bringing people into through the top of the sales funnel.

Another Distinction: Informational and Transactional Keywords

Beyond these broad categories of branded and non-branded keywords, you can break things down further into the categories of informational and transactional keywords.

Informational keywords are the ones that are helpful at the top of the sales funnel, creating new users, building brand awareness, and bringing in new traffic. Transactional ones, meanwhile, are the terms that are more likely to actually turn to convert a lead into a customer. These are bottom-of-the-funnel words.

These two types of keyword function differently, and you’ll want to choose one over the other simply depending on where in the sales funnel you’re working. It’s a valuable skill to be able to differentiate between informational and transactional keywords; as you try to do so, here are some quick tips and strategies we’d offer:

  1. To start with, go into AdWords and view the kind of traffic and the kind of conversions for a given search term. Anything that converts well is probably transactional, while terms with high traffic but low conversions are probably informational in nature.
  2. You may not have sufficient data, and if that’s the case, use Google’s keyword planner to evaluate CPC and competition. If both are high, then you’re likely dealing with a transactional keyword. (Most marketers don’t invest a great deal in informational ones.)
  3. Also try this: copy and paste each keyword into Google to see what comes up. If you get a lot of blog posts and articles, then the keyword you input is probably informational; if you get local business and Yelp results, it’s probably transactional.

Get Keyword Research from the Pros

Any marketing or SEO activity hinges on solid keyword understanding—and that can often be something that requires an experienced, professional eye. Sefati & Co. can offer it. To learn more about our services in keyword research and analysis, and about how it all fits into your integrated marketing plan, we encourage you to contact us today.

Author: Al Sefati

Al Sefati is an enterprise SEO and search marketing expert and the founder of Sefati & Company. Al works with marketing agencies and enterprise level clients and he is in charge of forming and monitoring their SEO and SEM strategies. Al blogs often about latest SEO, SEM and digital marketing trends and tactics.

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