Strategic Keyword Research: A Deep Dive into SEM Campaigns in 2024

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) campaigns are a great way to boost your business visibility and drive conversions. However, your SEM campaign may not reach its full potential without proper keyword research. Yes, it’s true! Thoughtful keyword research is the driving force behind successful SEM.

You must target keywords that align with your target audience’s search intent. They should also be relevant to your business or product offerings and have sufficient search volume to generate meaningful traffic. But how to do strategic keyword research for SEM?

This article will discuss the techniques for keyword research and its role in SEM. Let’s dig in!

strategic keyword research 

What are SEM Keywords?

SEM keywords are words and phrases relevant to your products and services that you can use to rank your ads higher on SERP. These keywords determine where and when your ads will be displayed in search engine results. 

Incorporating SEM keywords in your ad campaigns ensures you reach customers actively searching for products or services related to your business. This translates to increased website traffic, ultimately helping you achieve your marketing objectives. 


Tips to Do Keyword Research for SEM 

Google makes up 78% of all online searches. So, to maximise your chances of leveraging this huge audience, you must run SEM campaigns featuring high-intent keywords. The following tips will help you in finding the right keywords for SEM:

Define Your Audience and Goals 

First and foremost, you should clearly define your audience (who you want to target) and goals (what you want to achieve). To get an idea of your target audience, you should segment them based on their demographics, interests, behaviours, and other relevant factors. 

You can also look at the website analytics data, conduct customer surveys, or keep an eye on competitors to understand your target audience. This will help you shape your keyword research strategy to meet their needs. 

In addition, clearly define your campaign goals. Is it driving website traffic, increasing sales, or boosting brand awareness? Once you have a clear objective, you can focus on keywords that help you achieve these goals. 

Create a Seed List on the Target Model 

Creating a seed list around your target model is essential in keyword research. A seed list is actually an initial keyword research that represents the themes and concepts related to your business. The target model categorises these keywords based on user interest levels, helping you to prioritise them effectively. 

Let’s see some types of target models:

  • Brand Terms: Keywords directly related to your brand name, including their variations. 
  • Product Terms: Keywords associated with the products and services your business offers. 
  • Audience Terms: Keywords based on your target audience’s demographics, interests, and behaviour. You’ve to put yourself in the shoes of the customers to understand what terms they’d be using while searching for products online.


Utilise Keyword Research Tools

Now, you should utilise keyword research tools to expand your seed list. Some notable keyword-finding tools that can help you with this are Ahrefs, Semrush, and Google AdWords Keyword Planner. You can leverage them to get new keyword ideas, determine the difficulty of ranking a keyword, and find the overall keyword search volume.

In addition, keyword search tools help you see your competitors’ keywords and their bidding. This helps refine your keyword selection process and uncover lucrative opportunities for maximum impact and ROI. 

Categorise the Keywords

This step involves classifying your keywords based on factors such as:

  • Relevance: See how closely a keyword aligns with your business offerings. For instance, keywords like “gaming laptops” or “programming smartphones” will be highly relevant if you sell laptops. 
  • Intent: It’s the purpose behind a user’s search query and can range from informational to navigational and commercial. Informational keywords are purely meant to educate the audience, such as “Window 11 installation process.” On the other hand, commercial keywords are used for commercial purposes, such as “best gaming laptops under $100.” 
  • Keyword Difficulty: As the name suggests, it’s the level of difficulty you may face when ranking or bidding on a keyword. Some keywords have huge search volume along with high search difficulty, so it’s best to know what you are up against. 

Separating your keywords into various categories helps you target the right audience with the most relevant and impactful keywords. 

Optimise Your Keywords 

After dividing keywords into groups, it’s time for keyword optimisation for the SEM campaign. This involves deciding the best keywords for each ad group and finding the right match for them.

Some match types that you can explore are:

  • Broad Match: Use broad match if you want your ads to appear when users search a query that’s relevant to your ad keywords in any way. For instance, if the user searches for “bicycles”, your ad with the keyword “bicycle maintenance” will appear.
  • Exact Match: This match is perfect if you want your ads to appear only when someone searches a query that matches your keyword exactly without any additional words. Exact matches allow you to target a specific audience and have a lower search volume. 
  • Phrase Match: It’s suitable when you want your ads to appear when someone searches for a phrase that matches your entire keyword phrase. For instance, if someone searches “Bike repair and maintenance services”, your ad featuring the keyword “repair and maintenance services” will be triggered. 


Monitor and Refine

The final step in SEM keyword research is monitoring and refinement. You should have a bird’s eye view of your ads performance and website analytics to see if your search engine marketing campaigns are yielding results. You should make the necessary adjustments if you don’t see noticeable results. 


Winning SEM Strategy: The Role of Advanced Keyword Research 

Proper keyword research in 2024 plays a crucial role in search marketing. Some of its benefits are: 

Allows You to Target Your Audience Better 

SEM keyword research aids you in identifying the terms and phrases your concerned audience uses when they search for products online. You can use this information to create targeted SEM campaigns, ensuring they reach the right users at the right time. This increases the likelihood of engagement and conversions.

Saves You Money 

Finding the right keywords also ensures you use matching-intent keywords and avoid low-volume ones. This way, your ad spend is focused on keywords likely to yield results, and you don’t have to spend bucks on general keyword ads. 

Improve Your Search Engine Rankings

When you target useful keywords in your SEM campaigns, you attract an audience interested in your products. This increases traffic on your website, increasing its credibility and ultimately ranking high on SERP. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes keyword research strategic in 2024’s SEM landscape?

Various factors make keyword research strategic in 2024, such as search engines prioritising user intent and the usage of semantic keywords. The hype of AI-driven insights further enhances precision and relevance, ensuring campaigns resonate with evolving search behaviours and offer optimal results. 

How does advanced keyword research impact SEM campaign effectiveness?

Advanced keyword research helps enhance the effectiveness of your SEM campaigns by giving you opportunities to target the right audience and improve overall ad relevance. It also lets you stay informed about market trends and anticipate user needs, which helps you adapt your campaign strategies. 

What are the latest tools for conducting keyword research in 2024?

Some of the latest tools that help you are Ahrefs, Semrush, Moz Keyword Explorer, Ubersuggest, and AnwserThePublic. You can go with the one in your budget that offers detailed insights into the desired keywords. 

How can businesses outperform competitors with strategic keyword research?

Businesses can focus on long-tail keywords that are less competitive to rank higher. In addition, they can find gaps in a competitor’s keyword strategy, like the keywords they aren’t using but have a high search volume. This allows businesses to fill the gap and attract organic traffic to their website, outperforming others. 

How important is keyword research in the overall SEM strategy?

Keyword research is important for overall SEM strategy as it offers increased visibility and maximises the effectiveness of your SEM campaign. Businesses can align the keywords with their goals and user intent for sustainable growth. 



Proper keyword research is the backbone of SEM campaigns. You should start by determining your goals and audience. After that, create a seed list and find more relevant keywords using various tools. Once you are done with the research, categorise and optimise them to maximise your visibility. 

However, navigating the intricacies of keyword research can be daunting for many businesses. Here, the support of experts like 3 Phase Marketing becomes invaluable. We have a team of experts who help companies understand the complexities of SEM campaigns so they stay ahead of market trends. Contact us now to discover our SEM expertise and unlock the full potential of your online marketing efforts!


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