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Semantic analysis: Choosing the right keywords for your SEM strategy

In today’s digital age, it’s quite rare for an advertizing professional to recommend a digital marketing strategy without using Google Search Ads

Laurie-Anne Nault

April 27, 2022

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Table of Contents

What role do keywords play in shaping a successful SEM strategy, as discussed in the article ‘Semantic analysis: Choosing the right keywords for your SEM strategy’?

The piece delves into the significance of Google Ads, particularly Search ads, in today’s digital marketing sphere. Google Search Ads, part of Search Engine Marketing (SEM), enable advertisers to showcase ads featuring links on Google’s search engine results page. The article underscores the critical role of keywords in Google Ads campaigns, as they mirror users’ intentions and their position within the conversion funnel.

It stresses the importance of handpicking appropriate keywords that align with the conversion stage and tailoring the messaging to resonate with that particular stage. Furthermore, it outlines the various stages of the conversion funnel – TOFU (Awareness), MOFU (Consideration), and BOFU (Decision) – and how keywords influence each stage.

In addition, the article highlights the advantages of utilizing Google Ads, including the ability to reach qualified audiences actively seeking solutions and the higher likelihood of conversions compared to organic searches. Notably, it mentions that 65% of high-intention searches culminate in clicking on an ad, underscoring the effectiveness of Google Ads in driving conversions.

Overall, the article offers valuable insights into the importance of Google Ads in digital marketing strategies and provides guidance on how advertisers can harness the platform to effectively reach and convert their target audiences.

In today’s digital age, it’s quite rare for an advertizing professional to recommend a digital marketing strategy without using Google Search Ads. However, not everyone truly understands why Google Search ads is an online marketing tool.

What are Google Ads and SEM?

First of all, let’s define what Google Ads is, and in particular Search ads, also called SEM (Search Engine Marketing). Advertizing on Google, or Google Ads, displays an ad with a link on the search engine results page, most often at the top or bottom. The ad will be displayed based on the keywords the advertizer has chosen.

In short, your paid ads will be displayed along with your organic search results. This kind of advertising exists on most search engines, like Yahoo and Bing, but they fall short of rivaling the power of Google’s engine.

How does this help your marketing strategy? The answer lies in the way most people use Google. We turn to Google when we have a problem to solve, regardless of its nature. Whether we are looking for the best restaurant in the area, the best running shoes or the latest activities, it’s a safe bet that our quest will begin and end on Google. In other words, we are talking about conversion intention and online search psychology.

Search psychology for online marketing

Any online action taken in favour of your business, what is known as conversion, begins with a Google search. The nature of a Google search and how it evolves over time are extremely important. As a digital marketing expert, this is where you start your analysis.

How do people who are looking for answers or solutions to their problems search for what makes sense? This is where keywords come into play. Keywords are highly strategic and are used in a Google Ads campaign to determine conversion intention. In semiotics, the “keyword” is the signifier of the problem that is “signified.” Since the relationship between signifier and signified is arbitrary, people will use different keywords to search for a solution to the same problem. It is therefore important to conduct in-depth keyword research to not exclude any terms that your target audiences might associate or use to describe your product or service—even if they are not terms that your company uses to describe your offer.

Choose the right keywords at the right time

The keywords people use represent their intention—and several keywords can be used to describe the same intention. What is interesting is the wording of the keyword itself. It says a lot about:

  • Users’ knowledge of their problem
  • Their stage of research
  • Their likelihood to convert soon
  • In other words, the keywords used in a Google search means users are now in the conversion funnel. There are many representations of this funnel, but overall it looks like:

    Seize the right opportunity with Google Ads

    In other words, the keywords used in a Google search means users are now in the conversion funnel. There are many representations of this funnel, but overall it looks like:

    • TOFU – Awareness: Users are aware of their problems but don’t yet know their true nature or the best solution. The searches are generic, and much more conducive to SEO than SEM. The vocabulary used is not very technical, if at all. Users begin their research and explore their problem. For example, if they are looking to sleep better, they will write queries like “How to sleep better,” “Tips for sleeping better,” “Why am I sleeping badly,” or “Causes of poor sleep.” After all the research, the problem will become clearer and users will focus on a particular solution. In this example, the search is likely to advise them to meditate, eat better, take sleep-aid supplements. Once users have decided how to respond to their problems, they enter the consideration phase.
    • MOFU – Consideration: Users now know how to respond to their problems. The next step is to learn about all the possible options in order to gather as much information as possible to make their decision. The vocabulary becomes more precise and ads begin to appear because users have better identified their intentions. With the same example as before, during the awareness phase, let’s say that users choose to take supplements to sleep better. But which supplements are best? Users will then want to compare natural products to sleeping pills, understand the advantages of one and the disadvantages of the other, determine whether they are going to take an infusion, essential oils or tablets, read reviews and testimonials on different brands, and analyze prices. Once they have examined all of their options, they will choose which sleep aid is best for them.
    • BOFU – Decision: Users have made their choice and are ready for the conversion. Keywords are often very technical at this point and often refer to a particular brand or product. Competition between advertizers is fierce and for good reason: users cannot be any further down the conversion funnel. Let’s continue with our example. Some users have decided to go with natural supplements approved by Health Canada. All they have to do now is choose the brand that meets their criteria from the results of the previous phase and make their purchase.

    Seize the right opportunity with Google Ads

    Google Ads, and in particular Search ads, is a compelling marketing tool: the prospect is searching for you. Advertizing this way does not annoy users; it provides a solution for which your audience has clearly expressed its wish. In fact, Google Search Ads is a “pull marketing” type initiative, since your advertizing is displayed to pre-qualified people who are actively seeking a solution. You already have the attention of people looking for your solution. The challenges are therefore not the same as for “push marketing,” which is the case with Facebook Ads.

    The first thing to carefully consider is the solution you have to offer to a particular problem, since that is the whole point of an advertising campaign on Google Search Ads. Before even thinking about ads and keywords, you have to ask yourself the right questions:

  • What do I want to promote or sell?
  • How do I solve the target audience’s problem?
  • Who is part of my target audiences and what is their problem?
  • How do my target audiences qualify their problem?
  • What action do I want my target audiences to take on my website?
  • Why should my target audiences visit my website?
  • What do my target audiences expect when they arrive on my website?
  • Once everything has been well-thought-out, it will be a question of positioning yourself in the conversion funnel in order to capture users’ attention at the most opportune moment. How do you do this? By selecting keywords that match the conversion stage and tailoring your message to reflect that stage.

    In fact, describing a product in too much detail in the awareness phase will be useless because users will not yet understand your solution’s ins and outs. Also, asking users to clarify their intentions when they have already chosen a product or service will have no impact. Let’s examine the aforementioned example again and how impactful a misalignment between your ads and where users are in the conversion funnel can be. If your company sold sleep aids, you could:

  • Advertize on keyword questions, such as “Why am I sleeping poorly” with an ad highlighting that your product is made with natural ingredients and approved by Health Canada. However, at this stage, your target audiences are trying to find out why they are sleeping poorly. They are not (yet) looking for a solution. As a result, people may actually choose a meditation app instead of supplements. Your ad then becomes irrelevant.
  • Advertize with a keyword like “natural sleep pill.” The ad would promote a blog post about the 5 most common reasons for poor sleep. However, your target audiences have already gone through this stage and know why they are sleeping poorly. They even know how to fix their problem. Your message is therefore not in line with this audience’s real needs.
  • Finally, you will have to pull out all the stops to differentiate yourself from the competition. You do not want to get lost in the crowd by using sales arguments identical to those of your competitors. You want your ads to be relevant and different from other offers.

    Why use Google Ads?

    Advertizing on Google fits more naturally into the buyer’s journey. Google therefore makes it possible to reach target audiences that are active and in search of a solution. The audience is more qualified and further along in the conversion funnel. If your SEO is not optimal, Google ads can pack more of a punch. And if that doesn’t convince you to try advertising on Google, know that 65% of all high intention searches result in an ad click and visitors acquired by the ad are 50% more likely to buy as are organic visitors.

    For some help in the field or simply to hire a certified agency, contact us!

    Laurie-Anne Nault
    Determined, ambitious and passionate, Laurie-Anne Nault has already acquired several years of experience in administration and customer service. She joined the Turko Marketing team in October 2021 to fulfill the role of administrative manager and social media manager.