Keyword Targeting

In the field of SEA, targeting refers to aligning advertisements or advertising media as best as possible to specific target groups. Keyword targeting is a subfield thereof, in which keywords are defined in advance and then used to control the display of banners or text ads. A prerequisite for efficient keyword targeting is precise keyword research and target group analysis.

How it works

Keyword targeting is used by search engine providers such as Google (Google AdWords) and operators of web portals which display text or banner advertisements. The ad server responds when previously defined keywords are entered and displays the corresponding ads. If keyword targeting is used in web portal, ads, text, image or video formats can be output to match the content.

Keyword targeting on search engines

The keyword combination “rent an apartment” is entered into the Google search bar. Google’s ad server recognizes the search term and delivers AdWords ads that contain the exact same or a similar combination.

Keyword targeting on web portals

If ads are displayed on web portals, the corresponding ad server can deliver ads that match the content of the website. A banner with images of running shoes would appear next to an article about the health benefits of regular jogging. This is also called contextual advertising.

The keyword selection: matching and picking

As your first step, you need to select appropriate keywords for effective keyword targeting. To do so it would be beneficial to take on the viewpoint of the target group of searchers. This method is called “picking.” In “matching,” you determine whether your keyword is meant to match in the broadest sense or exactly with the request (broad match vs. exact match).

Areas of application

Keyword targeting can be used both for search engine marketing (SEM) and for targeting within individual catalogs. Keyword targeting is in the broadest sense, the use of a keyword catalog in a library. In SEO, keyword targeting plays a role in the creation of content and the alignment of the meta information of a website. Additionally, the URL can be matched to a keyword by using an Exact Match Domain (EMD).

Social media platforms or large Internet portals use keyword targeting to optimally adjust the ads of their clients. If the website content contains a particular keyword, the ad server returns the best matching display ad. Thus, keyword targeting plays an important role in the monetization of websites.

Keyword targeting is used in brand bidding as well. Campaigns can be either aligned to one’s own trademark as a keyword, or to that of a competing brand to intercept their traffic. Brand names other than your own should, however, be dealt with carefully, since actual success and erroneous clicks on your ad are difficult to measure.

Potential weaknesses

Pure keyword targeting has a disadvantage in the area of SEA. It is possible that ads could be delivered in a negative environment. This can happen if an airline starts a banner campaign and the keyword “airplane” is established as a broad match. If the airline books ads on a news website, it is possible in extreme cases that the ad for a vacation trip to the sun with that airline will be shown next to a report of a serious plane crash. To avoid such scenarios, negative keywords can be defined within the campaign. Contextual advertising also ensures that ads are excluded from display with inappropriate material as much as possible.

Keyword targeting and SEO

Keyword targeting is an important discipline for SEO experts in the area of on-page optimization. The content of a website is oriented so that it fits perfectly with the researched keywords and combinations. The art of keyword targeting is to keep a text interesting, even if it is optimized for search engines. A new form of keyword targeting has been found with the TF*IDF optimization. There are tools to assist with selecting the appropriate keywords.

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