Online advertising is a completely different game from traditional offline media. You have a far greater ability to target and segment beyond geographic (newspapers), demographic (magazines) and time (TV/radio). What really distinguishes online advertising is the ability to target keywords.
Keywords come in different shapes and sizes but are vital to any type of web marketing campaign. When compiling a list of keywords and keyphrases, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Plurals, synonyms
- Adding locations to words and phrases (for geotargeting and local search)
- Avoid too general of terms (example: If you're a used car dealership in Red Deer Alberta, targeting the keywords "cars" is most likely unattainable with many online marketing methods)
- Avoid focusing ONLY on long-tail terms. Long-tail is great - such as "used car dealership red deer" but it's really easy to let it get out of hand. Do you really think more than maybe 0-2 people are searching for "used ford pinto 1977 red deer county alberta canada"?
Your keyword list will change depending on what type of online marketing you're doing. With search engine optimization, you're going to want those long-tail terms on your site. With paid search, you have a bit more flexibility (especially since you have the ability to assign a category to your keywords - more on that another day).
Another major strategy that is far too often forgotten when planning keywords is making a list of negative keywords. Negative keywords are words that you DON'T want to be associated with. For instance, an airline would not want to be associated with the word "crash". Therefore, the word "crash" would be placed on the negative keyword list. To compile your list of negative keywords, follow the guidelines mentioned above.
My final keyword tip is probably the most important - WHEN do plan your keyword strategy. You shouldn't even be starting any sort of online marketing campaign without a solid keyword list. Your keywords determine the who what and where of your online marketing campaign. They are your guide and without them, your campaign will be lost.