It's all about keywords

Keywords are the foundation of SEM and getting them right is critical. Refining and monitoring your keywords should be an ongoing process that is built into your online marketing plan.

Balancing volume vs. intent

Some keywords have high volume – but these might not be the best targets:

Example: Let’s say you make high end custom made guitars – bidding on the word “guitar” may bring lots of traffic – but most of the visitors will be looking for things only loosely related to your intent: guitar repairs, guitar accessories, free guitar tab (musical notation), guitar lessons, guitar videos, etc. You will waste your advertising budget very quickly this way.

And if you want to work on optimizing your site for “guitar,” you’ll be competing with the likes of Fender, Yamaha and Gibson. In this situation, a new company would have difficulty reaching the first page of results where the traffic is.

On the other hand, some keywords have high intent, but volume is almost non-existent. Taking the guitar analogy further, you could advertise on “high end custom guitar” and find that you get no traffic because few people search for that exact phrase.

On the organic side, you could spend time optimizing your site for the phrase “high end custom guitar” and get #1 ranking because of no competition – and still get no visitors.

Good keyword research would uncover words and phrases that offer a good balance of volume, and have high intent, such as:

Search Phrase Searches Per Month (Google)
Custom base guitar 6,100
Custom electric guitar 33,100
Custom guitar 246,000
Buy custom guitar 480

Keyword volume fluctuates seasonally and is affected by news, trends, weather and more. It takes constant review and research of keywords to determine which words are more likely to be searched by your best customers. A good SEM campaign always includes regular keyword pruning and new research as new data is analyzed.

It doesn’t matter how good your technical SEO is or how effective you are in your PPC (Pay Per Click) bidding strategy – it’s the keywords you are targeting that make or break your search marketing success.

Search Engine Marketing Guide by Keith Holloway at Envoke

About the Author

Keith Holloway is a founding partner of Envoke, an engagement campaign software company that operates a consulting division completely focused on search marketing. Wild Apricot is a (happy!) client of Envoke. He can be followed on Twitter @TorontoSEO.

Creative Commons Licence

Search Engine Marketing Guide by Wild Apricot and Envoke is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at

Please include a link to if you copy, distribute or re-transmit any of the documents that make up this guide. 
For permissions beyond the scope of this license, contact us.

See for yourself how easy to use and affordable Wild Apricot is:

Take a tour >> Learn about our all-in-one solution
Pricing >> From $0/month
Free 30-day trial >> No credit card required


About results ( seconds) Sort by: 
Sorry, an error occured when performing search.