Keywords are the foundation of your search engine marketing campaign.  Whether you are focusing on AdWords and other paid advertising, or whether you are focusing on organic SEO, the keywords you pick are the building blocks of your search engine marketing.  If you pick the right keywords, you will be setup on day one for success.  If you pick the wrong keywords, then you can do everything else right, but you’ll end up with nothing.

Keep in mind that keywords are not actually words.  They are word groupings.  This is why (according to Oxford English Dictionary) there are under 200,000 English words, but it isn’t uncommon for AdWords accounts to have 250,000+ keywords. In fact, you could have over 1,000,000 keywords in your AdWords account.

The most important thing to keep in mind about keywords is that, as my AdWords hero Brad Geddes likes to say, they represent the “thoughts” of your potential customers.  Don’t just pick words that you think correspond to what you want people to type in to find you — put yourself in their shoes and try to create a keyword list that represents their thought process as they look to solve the problem that is bringing them to you.