Is This the End of Keyword-Centric Advertising?

By Paul Easton, Senior Digital Marketer at Scitent

Recent changes to Google’s search and AdWords platforms have many in the digital marketing community declaring the beginning of the end for keyword-centric advertising. The trend is now toward working with semantic and contextual information – targeting audiences, not clicks.

Here are the top three signs that things are changing for digital marketers. Scitent recommends you take these to heart as you look to promote your eLearning library.  

  1. The introduction of Google Hummingbird (Google’s search algorithm) and the semantic search update (improving the ability to put typed searches into context) focus on determining what a user really means, rather than the exact string of keywords, and then serving up relevant results. It’s this update that will show search results for relevant content that doesn’t even include the keywords you searched in the first place.
  2. Changes to the way exact-match keywords work in AdWords were also announced, and it turns out “exact match” keywords are not so exact anymore. Your ads may show when terms in your keyword are reordered or the function words change. The exact match will also trigger for close variants – misspellings, singular/plural forms, stemmings, accents, acronyms and abbreviations – of the the keyword you specify.
  3. In-Market Audiences is available for AdWords. The In-Market Audience function helps advertisers find prospects who are actively researching or comparing products/services and are nearing the end of the buying cycle. Through the synthesis of search query data and activity analysis, Google is now able to identify these valuable prospects on the search network without the use of keywords.

According to Hitwise, 60% of all searches now start on mobile devices. Comprising one-third of these searches are machine artificial intelligence (AI) and voice search, strengthening the move toward a “keyword-less” future.

All of this means the digital marketing landscape is evolving, and adjustments need to be made to search and paid channel strategies. You should be actively thinking about – and testing – semantic search and creating voice-search-friendly phrases. Additionally, integrating your keywords into engaging and contextually relevant content will make your eLearning stand out from the crowd.

To learn how Scitent can help with your marketing strategies and tactics, please click here, or contact us.


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