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Can you recommend a keyword building + funnel stage methodology?

[ Edited ]
Follower ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Follower ✭ ✭ ✭

Hey everyone!

So I'm setting up a campaign for my web agency (promoting a new proprietary method to build websites for brand which can be reshaped for placement in various distribution channels -- we call it a "page tool kit"). This "page tool kit" that we custom develop for brands is most beneficial to clients that want to drive ROI for their investment in marketing -- because essentially, the more shapes and forms the page tool kit can take (website, landing pages, marketing funnels), well the less the brand needs to focus on design/development of tools, and more efforts towards distributing their message + testing funnels. 


So I'm currently mapping out what potential customers may search for in relation to becoming a potential customer for our agency. Notice that the earlier search intents are geared towards searchers with less awareness of the web as a vehicle to drive revenue -- while the latter search intents are geared towards searchers that are quite educated on what they need:


  1. Have a dream/want to make money.
  2. Build a business (digital vs. non-digital).
  3. Notice they need a sales/marketing strategy.
  4. Notice they need a sales/marketing tool (custom page tool kit vs. landing page/funnel platforms).
  5. Notice they need distribution of communications (advertising/marketing management).

My questions are:


  1. Given that most would say "focus your efforts/budget on buyers in the shopping stage of the funnel" -- so search intents #4-5-6.. is it worth pursuing setting up the campaign for keywords related to search intent #3 -  where you could perhaps jumpstart their process to investing in a partner that could set them up properly (basically avoiding to have them conduct their own research which are they search intents #4-5).

  2. If I would focus on search intents #3-4-5 only, then I'd build problem/solution keyword lists around each intent (both in short-tail + negatives and long-tail variations) to be as granular as possible. What's confusing me a little is the fact that Brad Geddes in his book "Advanced Google AdWords" says that keywords could be split into the following categories: explicit keywords, problem keywords, symptom keywords, informational queries. But if you actually look at the it holistically, in many occasions problem keywords are symptom keywords of one another, and symptom keywords and problem keywords etc. Taking his examples:

    Explicit keyword: Dermatologist
    Problem keyword: Acne
    Symptom keyword: Oily skin
    Product name keywords: Mint Cleanser
    Informational query: Home remedies for acne

    So if you look at this, I mean couldn't the "Mint Cleanser" be categorized as the explicit keyword, and the "Oily skin" as the problem?

    The reason why I'm asking is because I'm trying to build a keyword list for search intents #3-4-5, and as we all know, keywords could be written in different forms as seen above: problems, symptoms, service/product names, informational queries. And I don't want to waste time setting up keywords in forms which I know are less likely to lead towards conversions -- for example certain types of informational queries. If as a product I sold guides on "how to make your own page tool kit", then maybe it would be worth looking at, but since it's a service -- we know that those intents are probably just investments towards "branding", and for a small business it may be an investment not worth making compared to others.

    Do any of you have recommendations for resources (books, links) to build keyword lists in relation to search intents + funnel stages? I find that Brad's book is a bit vague.


Any help is appreciated!



2 Expert replyverified_user

Re: Can you recommend a keyword building + funnel stage methodology?

Badged Google Partner
# 2
Badged Google Partner

First of all Great Question. Sorry however their truly is no Answer in my opinion except to TEST TEST TEST TEST.

As you pointed out there are various different methodologies and way to tackle your issues. But the problem is there is no one solution or even an out of the box cookie cutter solution that is going to fit every scenario or even your scenario.

In this business it depends on the Competition, the Target area, the Unique Selling Proposition (USP), your Budget, and your conversions based upon your Landing pages.

Even if someone had the magic bullet, the majority of the experts here are in the business themselves, and one would never give away "secret sauce" on a free community for millions to emulate even if there was one so to speak.

What you need to do it TEST, TEST TEST, start small, make a hypothesis and test. Make decisions based on true conversion data and ROI capacity, Tweak and Test.

Again no one can answer this for you because what works for Me in my target business model, doesn't necessary work for you in your target area and business model.

Also it appears you are in Canada, and what works in the US or even in Europe may not work there or vice-versa. Customers may only want to work with their native, local or regional businesses.

Also your competition may be National companies with deep pockets or local agencies with less experience. Don't know.

You may also find that your Keyword research and building out your campaigns results in numbers that are no where near projections and that a low value term is your ROI winner, while the projected Winning KPI's are your loss leaders.

Doing this for years, the initial thoughts of my preconceived ideas rarely are the same after data driven results flow once the campaigns are live, active and tweaked. There are always shifts based on the data results.

So the only suggestion is to map out your ideas, start small, TEST TEST TEST TEST till you find the sweet spots that make your ROI.

Sorry I don't have a You should follow this road map, or do XYZ, because those maps and XYZ are always dependent upon the basics of USP, Budget, Target and Competition.

Hopefully others will chime in with some details, but I am just trying to keep it real for you since you posted such an eloquent question that was very well thought out and presented.

Sorry I couldn't help more, but maybe even helped a lot with observational and experience related input???

Re: Can you recommend a keyword building + funnel stage methodology?

Follower ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
Follower ✭ ✭ ✭
Thanks for your reply. However I think you may have mis-understood what I'm trying to build as a methodology here. After some more research, I landed on topics relating to user query intents (informational, transactional, navigational) which seem to drive me closer to finding what I'm really looking for.

I think to sum things up: I'm looking to build a method which streamlines the process of building transactional-oriented keywords, which could then be matched to a variety of funnel stages.

Re: Can you recommend a keyword building + funnel stage methodology?

Rising Star
# 4
Rising Star

Brad's book is an excellent one and well worth studying, to master the overall concepts he's talking about.


The confusion (overlap of intent between one category and another) is not because Brad's methodology is faulty. It's the target audience--people. What is a "problem" keyword for one person is an "informational" keyword to another person.


People are not all the same. They're only kind of the same, viewed from a distance, in aggregate, without too much detail. IMO, it's a mistake to to take any concept too literally. This is a way of thinking about your potential traffic that's useful, but there are always going to be overlaps between categories. 


I sympathize with your desire to find absolutes--rules, keywords, strategies--that will produce success in the shortest amount of time, but @Eric Gehler is quite correct. The approach most likely to be successful is to put together the best landing pages, keyword list, and ad messaging you can, then test, test, and test some more. 




In your original post, it sounds as though your agency is trying to advertise a responsive web design platform it can offer to clients as a platform/format for their business websites. I may be misunderstanding, but that's what it sounds like.  


If it were me, that's where I'd begin with an advertising campaign. Responsive web design is a hot topic right now--there should be plenty of searches available. 


All of those other points in your post (your points #1 - #5) should be handled on your landing pages. Those are the questions you're answering for the searcher. Unlike selling acne cleanser--everyone knows what acne is--this is a case where you have to inform the business--your clients are highly likely to be unsure of why they need a "responsive" website, even if they've heard it as a buzzword--your agency has to both educate and sell.


For your own purposes, you'll need to serve the traffic, figure out which of the various search terms work for your company, and optimize from there.


Just my $0.02.



Google AdWords Top Contributor

Re: Can you recommend a keyword building + funnel stage methodology?

Follower ✭ ✭ ✭
# 5
Follower ✭ ✭ ✭
Hey Theresa,

So for the last few days I've been reading some of the original research conducted by Border (2002) amongst others regarding the reliability and validity of web query intent and taxonomy.

As much as I'd like to attempt to assign query intent classifications to various stages of a marketing funnel, I'll quote the following from the Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology , 64(11):2224-2237, 2013:

"In conclusion, we showed that Broder (2002) was correct with his warning that "inferring the user intent from the query is at best an inexact science, but usually a wild guess (p.5.). Therefore, we encourage the research community to consider, where possible, using query intent classifications by the searchers themselves as test data."

I think query intent taxonomy is a great way to organize keyword research, groups tests and measure from there.

What I was really looking with this post was to build a taxonomy for query intent, so that I could better organize my keyword research planning process, and build a framework for organizing things.

Keeping both your recommendations in mind when building out this campaign.

Cheers and have a great weekend!


Re: Can you recommend a keyword building + funnel stage methodology?

Rising Star
# 6
Rising Star

This is an excellent thread. Kudos to @Eric Gehler & @Theresa_Zook for such insightful responses!

Sumanth Sridhar