(Category: Affiliate Webmaster World)
Posted by joginvik
Saturday 10 March 2012 - 14:36:49

Search engines such as Google have revolutionised the way the Internet is used to the point where it is hard to image browsing without them. However, for most users, little thought goes into what determines the order of search results and even the more technology-sawy might find their knowledge on search engines somewhat lacking.

MOST LARGE COMPANIES have experts in charge of their digital marketing to ensure they appear at the top of all relevant search queries. This is particularly important in the gaming sector where competition is high and new online technologies are adopted rapidly. To a new or even experienced affiliate marketer, the world of keywords might at times seem a little confusing. In order to attract relevant traffic and conversions, it is crucial to understand how Google match types pair keywords to search queries.

Keywords and search queries

A search query is commonly understood to mean any potential phrases a user types into a search box. The term ???keyword??™ is used in relation to phrases that are placed in a Google AdWords account to match a search query. It might seem obvious, but understanding the difference between these two is the starting point for every affiliate marketer. Google??™s keyword match types are divided into three categories: a broad match, a phrase match and an exact match. Using the phrase ???online casino??™ as an example, the below graphs demonstrate the correlation between the search queries and whether an ad will show up in the results.

Broad matchSearch query Will my ad show?
online casino v
online casino games v
online casino uk v
casino online v
uk casino online v
online uk casino v
online uk casino games v

The broad match category is the most popular and most widely used. A broad match allows the ad to appear if the query contains the keyword in any order. The ad might also show when searching for synonyms of keywords, singular or plural forms and other relevant variations. Using broad match allows the user to easily be matched to a high volume of search queries that might be relevant to the website. Broad matches are great as a starting point for an inexperienced affiliate marketer, however, it is important to use phrase matches and exact match keyword types alongside broad matches in order to fully benefit from a keyword strategy.

Phrase match

Using phrase match will enable those search queries that contain the keywords in the same order as they are placed in the AdWords account to appear in the results. Below you can see which search queries will yield ad results using the keyword ???online casino??™.

Search query Will my ad show?
online casino v
online casino games v
online casino uk v
casino online
uk casino online
online uk casino
online uk casino games

Exact match

When using exact matches, an ad will only show when the keyword matches the search query exactly. As seen below, when using the keyword ???online casino', the ad will only show up when the phrase online casino alone is typed into the search box.

Will my ad show?
online casino v
online casino games
online casino uk
casino online
uk casino online
online uk casino
online uk casino games

Keyword research and tips

Keyword research is essential for building a good PPC campaign. This step should not be ignored as understanding which words will yield accurate results and the costs related to these keywords will allow the user to select those that work best for their website. There are a variety of tools available for affiliate marketers to help them gain profitable keywords, however, here at Latitude, we recommend using Google??™s own Keyword Tool. There are several benefits to using the Keyword Tool, one of them being the ability to use the search volume tool as a guide to compare the results for each individual match type.

It is important this should be used as a guifle only, as the results are gathered from a period of 12 months which will, in most cases, include seasonal changes.

When thinking about which keywords to use, initially, it is good to go with your intuition, albeit bearing in mind that what might seem obvious to you might not be so obvious to other people. After deciding on a number of keywords, it is important to think about lettering and phrasing. Google??™s AdWords platform does not recognise non-letter characters in general when they appear in keywords.

Two exceptions to this rule are accent marks and ampersands, so remember those two symbols as being distinctive but in general, you??™ll just see an error or your punctuation marks will be ignored. Phrasing is also extremely important.

For example, the phrase ???car insurance??™ is most often used in its exact form - it??™s rare a user would type in the phrase ???insurance car??™ in order to find the best deals. However, in the case of the phrase ???online casino??™, it is not uncommon for a user to also type in ???casino online??™.

Advanced keywords

Using Google AdWords Broad Match Modifier is an another fantastic feature to achieve more clicks and conversions, as it ensures the user will be able to have greater reach than using phrase match, and more control than through broad match. This solution is particularly effective when using a keyword that might have several search variations. According to Google:

???Each word preceded by a + must appear in the user??™s search exactly or as a close variant. Depending on the language, close variants will include misspellings, singular/ plural forms, abbreviations and acronyms, and stemmings (like ???floor??™ and ???flooring??™). Synonyms (like ???quick??™ and ???fast??™) and related searches (like ???flowers??™ and ???tulips??™) are not considered close variants.???

After nailing down the keywords, the next logical next step is to look at negative keywords. The purpose of negative keywords is to ensure that your ad doesn??™t show up for any search that includes this term. Using the phrase ???online casino??™ as an example, some words to avoid might include ???advice??™, ???addict??™, ???illegal??™, ???halls??™, etc. The use of long-tail keywords - common words used with the main phrase or common misspells - is another way to ensure your keywords are performing to the best of their ability. Some suggestions when thinking about long-tail keywords are including keywords with missed letters and missed spacing on brand names, and looking at the reordering of the keywords. Both negative keywords and long-tail keywords can be found by paying close attention to Search Query Reports and using the keyword tool.

What to look out for

There are a couple of common mistakes that might crop up for even the most experienced affiliate marketers. Too many keywords on a broad match type will result in irrelevant searches and extensive negative lists and, eventually, poor bid managements. Another common problem is to place too many keywords into an exact match which will result in missed opportunities, as statistically 25 percent of searches are new.

Finally, keywords shouldn??™t been seen as good keywords or bad keywords. We should be looking at the search queries we appear for and decide whether they are relevant or not and, as a result, whether they convert or not and, therefore, use our keywords and their match types to solely appear for the search queries we want.

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