Categorizing Your Keyword Lists

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This entry is part of an ongo­ing series on how to iden­tify the best key­words to help your tar­get cus­tomers find your com­pany online.

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As you are gathering keywords, it’s important to categorize them by type, content, and source. Most keywords found while compiling an initial set of keywords fall under one of the categories discussed below. Record the category as you collect and enter keywords into the master keyword list. (Moreover, make sure you consider all of these categories as you analyze materials to help you identify potential candidate keywords to add to your keyword list):

Proper names/trademarks — These are proper or trademarked names of organizations, processes, or products that are more or less widely accepted and understood and are used to describe other similar or related products. For example, the keyword “Outlook Exchange plug-in” can be understood easily because everyone is familiar with Outlook Exchange, which is trademarked software.

Product/service generic description — These keywords provide generic descriptions of the products or services that a company provides; they are typically high-level, general, and do not convey a lot of distinction. For example, “spend management software.”

Product/service features — These keywords describe the qualities and characteristics of a company’s products or services in non-technical terms. For example, “time tracking,” or “task delegation.”

Problems that the product/service solves — The pain points that drive customers to purchase the products or services offered. For example, “communication overload,” or “spam.”

Technical terms/technical terminology — Technical terms can be found in the classification of the product/software, as well as in industry reports, industry websites, and resources where more generic, standardized key phrases are used to describe the product or service. For example, “cloud computing platform,” “cloud-based storage,” or “.net development platform.”

Business benefits — The benefits a business/user will enjoy from using a company’s products or services. For example, “faster processing,” or “easy file access.”

Emotional reactions — For certain product categories, the emotional reaction of the user/buyer is important, and therefore keywords that describe these responses are important. For example, “happy computing,” or “awesome project management software.”

Branded keywords — These are specific keywords that are identified or prioritized for a specific “branding” reason, in accordance with a company’s marketing and market strategy. For example, a company’s product name, a company’s unique tag line, or a unique description of the product can constitute “branded” or “chosen” keywords that need to be prioritized outside of the normal prioritization process.

Keyword Sources

While gathering keywords, it’s also important to note the source from which you found it. A keyword might be found across multiple sources (e.g., in interviews with marketing and sales team members, in web visitor search terms, and in a top competitor’s website). The sources signify not only the prevalence of the keyword, but also help identify the audiences that will respond well to the keyword. As such, the sources might become an important factor during the prioritization process, as they will relate to the “Audience Relevance” factor.

Stay tuned for more infor­ma­tion on find­ing the best key­words for your tar­get audi­ence. Next week I will look at some tactics for generating addtional keywords after the fact.