Some people live to organize and we see all sorts of advantages in organizing everything in our lives. If you’re in that category, you probably have already convinced yourself that organizing your keywords is important, but what about the rest of us? We need convincing.

Some search programs contain hundreds of thousands—even millions of keywords—and you can imagine that it isn’t easy keeping track of all of them. Even if your program has far fewer keywords—10,000, say—you can be forgiven for not looking forward to organizing all of those keywords. In fact, you can be forgiven for not even believing that organizing your keywords is an important activity. Everyone knows that paid search keywords need to be organized by accounts, campaigns, and ad groups, but keyword organization can go far beyond that—and includes organic keywords, too.

So, here’s the simple reason why everyone needs to organize their keywords far beyond the standard accounts and ad groups—money.

If you aren’t categorizing your keywords according to myriad criteria, you’re missing out. Here are just some of the benefits of organizing that can jump start your keyword optimization:

  • Separate categories allow separate analysis. If you’ve ever performed market segmentation, you know the power of organization. Segmentation allows you to identify the keyword groups that convert the highest, produce the most loyal new customers, produce the best return on investment, and many other prized segments.
  • Organization allows optimization. Understanding those prized segments allows you to optimize your approaches—better keywords bidding strategies, more time spent on optimizing organic pages, common messaging to persuade similar targets, and many more.
  • Common categorization helps co-optimize paid and organic. If you’ve only organized your paid search keywords, you’re missing a big opportunity. Focusing on both organic and paid keywords with the same categorization approaches allows them to be optimized together rather than separately.

So, what kinds of categories can be helpful? Anything that allows you to consolidate your message across groups, rather than keyword-by-keyword:

  • Target market. If you have already segmented your markets based on other criteria (B2B vs. B2C, demographics, industry, or others), you can use what you know about your segments to identify which keywords appeal to each segment.
  • Purchase funnel. Search keywords reveal exactly where in the buying cycle searchers are. There’s no reason to offer a coupon to someone in the initial research stages, so organizing by purchase funnel stages allows message optimization.
  • Benefits. Some keywords reveal which benefits the searchers desire—“cheap flights” or “five-star hotel” or “quiet restaurant”—and that lets you target the messages to match. Grouping keywords for value, luxury, or other benefits allows you to scale your learning as to which messages are most persuasive.

Don’t settle for one-dimensional keyword organization that does nothing to optimize your messaging. How you organize your keywords can make the difference between an average search program and a great one.