Digital Marketing 101: Keywords

When you choose to pursue digital marketing for your business, you will probably need to use keywords for some of your strategies. While the term “keywords” might not be familiar, you already know what they are. You just need to learn how to use them in your marketing efforts. Here is a look at what keywords are and how to use them to create a more effective digital marketing campaign. 

Keywords: Definition

Simply put, “keyword” is a synonym for “search term.” Any query that a user types into a search engine qualifies as a keyword. This means that keywords aren't just single words. They can be multi-word phrases and even sentences. 

“Keyword” tends to be a technical marketing term. When someone is simply searching for information online, the words and phrases they type into the search bar are called search terms. Those search terms are only referred to as keywords when they are used in marketing campaigns. As a result, the term “keywords” refers to the words, phrases, and sentences that you use in your marketing campaigns to lead people to your website.

For example, say you provide pest control services in Greencastle, IN. You might want people who type the phrase “pest control services, Greencastle” into their search engine to find your business. In this case, “Pest control services, Greencastle” is a search term for your consumers and one of your keywords for your marketing campaign. 

Keywords: Characteristics

Any search term can be a keyword. This means that there are almost infinite keywords from which to choose when deciding which terms to focus on for your marketing campaigns. 

However, not every search term makes a good keyword for your business. Every business has a different target audience, so every business should use different keywords in its digital marketing campaign. You need to narrow down your options to only those keywords that work for your business. What are the key characteristics that turn an ordinary keyword into the perfect keyword for you?

There are at least four characteristics to look for when choosing keywords for your marketing campaigns. 


Does the keyword refer to the products, services, and topics that your business sells and addresses? Do they address topics in your industry that interest your consumers? Would people who need your products and services be using these keywords in their online searches? 

For example, as a pest control business, you would never use words like “diamonds,” or “curtains” in your campaigns. Your business has nothing to do with diamonds or curtains. Instead, your ideal keywords might include words like “pests,” “cockroaches,” and “yards.” These terms are very relevant to what your pest control company offers, and many people who need pest control will include these words in their online searches. 


In addition to relevance, the keywords you choose should also be very specific. The more specific they are, the more likely it is that they will be keywords that your potential customers will be searching for. 

For example, instead of using “pest control” as a keyword, you may want to use “pest control, Greencastle, IN.” This keyword ensures that your website appears in the search results for people who are local to your business. 

Adding specificity to your keywords will probably mean making them longer. Long-tail keywords include multiple words instead of just one or two words. These keywords, because they are so specific, are more likely to deliver people to your website who are interested in the products and services you offer. 


You will not be the only business trying to earn customers by using keywords. You will also not be the only company using certain keywords. For example, your competitor in the pest control business might very well be targeting “pest control, Greencastle, IN, in their marketing campaigns too. 

In order to choose the best keywords for your marketing campaigns, you want to avoid terms that are too popular. If 100,000 businesses are targeting the same search term, you have a much smaller chance of being seen than if only 1,000 businesses are targeting that search term. 

At the same time, you do not want to choose keywords that are too obscure. There might only be 10 companies targeting a certain keyword, but that probably means that there aren't very many people who use that keyword in their online searches. You won't have to compete with many people if you target that keyword, but you won't be attracting many people to your website either. Instead, you need to choose keywords that hit the sweet spot of competitiveness and accessibility. 

Keywords: Identification

How do you figure out which keywords are most relevant to your business, specific enough for your campaigns, and have the right balance of competitiveness and accessibility? There are a few approaches you can take. 


First, begin by brainstorming all of the keywords you can think of that relate to your business. This free-flowing exercise should leave you with many search terms to consider as you select the right one for your marketing campaigns. 

Competitor Research

You may also want to see which keywords your competitors are targeting. This research might give you ideas about keywords you should also target. Just make sure that those keywords are relevant to your business as well. 

Keyword Research

Once you have a good list of keywords, you can conduct keyword research. You can use any one of many tools to figure out which keywords perform well, how often they are searched, how competitive they are, and more. 

Using this research you can narrow down your list to the terms that will work best for your business. In addition, once you have your keywords chosen and begin using them in your digital marketing campaigns, you can use A/B testing and your analytics to see which keywords perform best for your business. 

Keywords can form the backbone of digital marketing strategies like search engine optimization (SEO) and Google Ads. The next time you need keywords, reach out to Distinct Web Design. We can do more than build you a killer keyword list. We can help you put that list to use in your own digital marketing campaigns. 

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