The Importance of Keywords Is Changing in PPC – Here’s Why

Keywords, one of the most critical elements to marketers, is starting to serve less value in SEM.

Gone are the days when keywords were literally the lifeblood of all our SEM efforts when we were hell-bent on ensuring we had the most potent keyword list containing all long tail and short tail keywords because otherwise, our reach will be limited.

Today Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising are actually laughing at the marketers’ attempt to create a typical keyword list. And it’s solely because keywords are losing their importance in SEM. It’s safe to say that now they are more like nice-to-have instead of a must-have.

The Age of Keywordless Search

So what’s the proof that keywords are losing their value?

Most of us, small and medium businesses, especially, are experiencing the keyword SEM life already.

Let’s have a look at some examples.

  1. Yelp

There is not a lot to manage when it comes to this local listing/review search platform.

All you need to do is place your bid and target (competitors, categories, brands, etc.). Then based on the searches on the platform, your ad will get triggered.

Yelp will display your ads to visitors who are exploring your competitors’ profiles or are local to you.

Still don’t get the point of this example?

Well, bear in mind, almost every restaurant on this earth is listed on Yelp, let alone service-based operations.

Start summing up all these small and medium businesses, and even if a small proportion of them run paid ads on Yelp, you promptly understand that keywordless search has slowly found its way into the industry.

Want more evidence that keywords have begun serving less value in SEM? Okay, then let’s dive into some more examples!

  1. Microsoft Advertising

Formerly known as Bing Ads, these are another popular and lovable search ads across the world. Now one would think that Microsoft Advertising would never give up on keywords, right?

But it’s a day full of surprises! Microsoft Advertising, too has headed into the keywordless search world.

Have a look at these three examples:

  • Product Listing Ads or PLAs – Most marketers know what product listing ads are and probably love/run them too. But if you remember, there are no keywords included here.
  • Dynamic Search Ads or DSAs – Scours your website, decides which search queries your ads should show up for based on your site’s content. But hey, at least it allows you to create a small portion of your ad to make you feel like you still have a motive here.
  • Audience Ads – Bing’s response to Google Dynamic Network. Here too, no keywords are required. All you need is a little bit of remarketing or customer segmentation lists and a hope that users still spend some time on MSN.
  1. Amazon

We personally feel that this is the clearest and easily understood (except if you are doing manual/self-service).

We pay Amazon and give them a target, and they run the ads with it.

  1. Facebook

Facebook has become a social media platform cum search nowadays. You search and engage, and the ads will follow you probably for the rest of your life.

  1. Google/GDN/Youtube

Yes, they are on this list too!

Even though you can still target keywords for most of their ads, if anyone is trying to surrender keywords faster, it has to be them.

Just like Microsoft Advertising, Google is also promoting PLA and DSA ads.

So, after reading all these examples, I hope our point that we are heading towards a world of keywordless search has been justified.

The real only question that remains here is that – “The world is advancing towards this change, are you ready?”

Now, considering that you are still reading this blog dedicatedly, chances are that either you have some doubts or you are not prepared at all. But hey, no worries. Let’s get you ready!

What Should You Do Now?

First of all, no matter what, do not just go and throw away your keyword list. Remember, the world is heading; things are still under process, so keywords are not gone completely yet; they still exist and are necessary for a lot of ads.

However, what has become even more important for businesses is their audiences. If not more, then they have become equally important as your’ keyword strategies.’

  1. Make sure your messaging is on point

Ads is an area that you have full control on, so why not make sure it is in its best shape?

By this, we mean you need to analyze which messaging works best in the regular keyword search, GDN, Facebook, etc. No doubt, your messaging must be consistent but then don’t let one platform call the shots.

Find similarities in your messaging of your top-performing ads across different platforms to create your new super ad,

On the other hand, for shopping campaigns, there are various points of view about which one is the best. You can use Google’s best practices guide to optimizing your product feed in the best way possible.

Keep in mind; it is not necessarily important that your visitors will follow your messaging or even search for it the way it shows on your website.

Define your products and benefits concisely and straightforwardly. You can take help from Google’s tips for optimizing your product data.

  1. Get to know your audiences

When your targeting is shifting from keywords, the next best thing you can do is start by determining who should see your ad first.

Remember, just because somebody triggered your ad does not mean they are qualified to engage on your website.

Therefore, you need to examine and pinpoint target audiences whom you really want to serve your ads.

By incorporating your persona and channel data, you can make sure your super ads are displayed to the right audience. With this, you will be able to maximize your prospect’s qualification, serve them the ideal ad, and all this without needing any keywords.

Ideally, you should build multiple audience segmentation to know your targeting expansion level. With a better sense of traffic volume and performance, you will be able to employ this classification more efficiently.

  1. Unify your ‘super ads’ with your audiences

Well, this is pretty much self-explanatory. You successfully made the ideal ad with the available data in the best way possible and also discovered your ideal audience classification.

Now merge them!

For starters, you might want to use all the audiences for search as at this point, the users are searching for you, so there is a degree of prequalification.

By implementing these steps, you will be able to maximize your return on ad spend (ROAS) in the best possible manner.


At the moment, the keywords still exist and hold importance across various types of ads and platforms.

While there is no official document or proven study that declares their extinction, the search engines are increasingly shifting towards this change.

The need for keywords is becoming lesser, as we saw in the examples mentioned above. With automation taking over the businesses slowly, this is a clear indication that we are advancing towards a keywordless search world.

So, marketers need to keep this in mind – delivering the right message to the right audience at the right time is the key to success in SEM. And in order to achieve this, all you need to do is – audience targeting and segmentation.

By implementing these three steps mentioned above, you will be all set to raise the bar and successfully make the most out of your ads without even the need for keywords! And well, this does put you a lot ahead of your competitors.

Hariom Balhara is an inventive person who has been doing intensive research in particular topics and writing blogs and articles for Tireless IT Services. Tireless IT Services is a digital marketingSEOSMOPPC, and web development company that comes with massive experiences.  We specialize in digital marketing, web designing and development, graphic design, and a lot more.

SOURCE : The Importance of Keywords Is Changing in PPC – Here’s Why

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