SEO and Content Marketing Blog

Keyword discovery via broad match-negative exact match killer combo

Whoa, that title was a mouthful (thankfully Thesis theme lets me clean up this url), but let me explain this concept in more detail…

The idea for this blog post just hit me as I was reviewing our AdWords account for Hop Online. We are trying to attract companies interested in SEO. The dilema we have is that there is an extremely long-tail of relevant keywords that we can best discover by doing broad match on ‘SEO’ and mining our search query reports, adding exact matches, negatives, etc (we dub this process search query mining). If we rely on Google’s increasingly misleading keyword tool, or other paid tools, we’ll still miss lots of great keywords.

So, we need to keep ‘SEO’ broad match in the campaign. The problem, though, is that most searches for ‘SEO’ alone–without any modifying terms–are not relevant for us. Most of these people intend to ask “what is SEO?”

Here’s the workaround–the negative exact match. In order to discover the long-tail that our SEO prospects are using while at the same time excluding ‘SEO’ as a keyword, we use the negative exact match like this: -[seo].

Voila! Now we’ve filtered out information seekers, yet preserved our ability to find and add new keyword variants that are triggered by our broad match term.

We use a similar approach across several industries.  For example, in the call center outsourcing business:  ‘customer care’ broad match / -[customer care]. This weeds out  lots of complaint-seeking customers but still lets us discover gems like ‘customer care telesales.’

Does your industry have such cases? Let’s hear about it?

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Paris's foray into Internet marketing began in 2003, and since then has spanned numerous projects in countries that include U.S., China, Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania. Paris founded Hop Online in the spring of 2009 with the aim of aggregating the Bulgaria talent potential and establishing a highly qualified search and social marketing outpost in the region. So far, so good.

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