In this posting, when we use “keywords”, it relates to search terms, also known as “queries”, which computer users type in the search box when searching online. The term “keywords” is also used elsewhere: regarding page code (“meta tag keywords”); and in describing content on web pages (“keyword density”). A computer user’s query with keywords simultaneously triggers a search engine results page (SERP) containing both natural/organic results in the center of the page and ads on the top and side of the page. This fact usually compounds the confusion in those new to search marketing.

Keywords, Negative Keywords and Ad Text Filtering

In their selection of keywords for their query, online searchers tell us in varying degrees what type of information, product or service he or she is seeking. Generally, in goods or services, more detailed or precise searches indicate that the searcher is closer to the act of purchasing.

Search engine ads have a unique feature for keywords called “matching options”. Google AdWords has the most robust options and the other engines have similar ones. In Google AdWords there are four matching options: broad, phrase, exact and negative. We use these to set both what we are looking to match with and filter with negative keywords to exclude parts of similar searches that are not related to our topic. For further filtering, the words in the text ads, called “ad text”, can be used to either attract a certain type of customer as in the example of an ad that includes the words: “Get More Info” or to filter out customers whom you are not interested in by including the words such as “Wholesale to Dealers Only” in the ad.

When Do KeyWords Trigger Search Engine Ads? Just In Time!

Search engine ads that are triggered by keywords deliver a highly targeted message to your potential customer at the moment they are searching online. We sometimes refer to search engine ads as “just in time advertising”. Rather than broadcasting a message to huge numbers of people, as in the mass media, when set up correctly, search ads appear at the moment they are relevant to the searcher. For local services and products, this includes ads only being shown to computer users in the appropriate geographic area.