Digital Marketing: Why Keywords Should Never Work Alone

Keywords are the core of every digital search. But they should never work alone. Not if you want results. To be effective, product keywords must be linked to carefully chosen modifiers. Why? Because different people often search for different things. Same product, but completely different needs. By adding the right keyword modifiers, brand marketers facilitate accurate search results that match these needs.

The brand marketing world has developed various ‘intent’ categories, each of which addresses a definite user type with clearly delineated objectives. For each of these categories, specific ‘intent’ modifiers should be combined with core keywords to create a targeted, personalized phrase.

One category addresses the information seeker. To build effective phrasing for this person, start with the core keyword. This typically is the product name or product category. For instance, auto parts. Now combine the product or product name with specific modifiers such as – ‘how does [product] operate in battery saver mode?’ or ‘how do I clean a smudgy wall with [product]?’ The possibilities are endless. That, however, doesn’t imply a freewheeling approach to modifier selection. Brands must research the full range of possibilities to pinpoint the ideal candidates for their product.

The same thoroughness holds true for users in the ‘Commercial Intent’ category (or any category). Members of this group have a really good idea of what they need. Therefore, they’re often firmly entrenched in comparison shopping mode. Among the effective modifiers for this category are ‘the most effective [product]’ or ‘portable/full size’ [product]’.

Users on the verge of conversion are identified by the ‘Transactional’ category. By and large, they’re concerned with purchase-related variables, such as selling price and store location – online or on-street. Possible modifiers for this category are ‘what’s the cost of [product]?’ or ‘where can I buy [product]?’

Clearly, contemporary keywords are not meant for solo work. A generalized listing of a product name and – and nothing else – likely will return generalized search responses that miss the mark by a mile. To reach the right group or groups, brand marketers should utilize creative core keyword/modifier combinations derived from thorough research.

If you have any questions or comments about matching keywords to user intent or any other brand-related topic, feel free to send them our way. You can connect with the Young Company team at (949) 284-7208 or And be sure to follow us for the latest brand marketing news and tips.