Keyword research often involves sifting through existing phrases looking for variations that might snag a few more customers, but one expert believes that writing a few simple stories can open up whole new possibilities.

Writing on Search Engine Land, Brad Geddes said that there are several different types of keywords employed in search engine marketing – explicit words that describe a product; problem words that describe a fault solved by that product; symptom words that outline a problem and actual product names.

Generating new keywords across these categories can be "very useful" as it addresses the different ways users search for goods and services, he added.

Moreover, these phrases often face little competition from other advertisers, unlike variations of top-performing keywords.

For example, a search for "excel slow", referring to a computer problem that affects the Microsoft Office program, does not trigger any ads on Google, Mr Geddes said.

By creating short scenarios that cover a "problem, symptom, explicit solution and product keyword", companies can generate a range of new phrases that while not guaranteed to convert, should give them some "entirely new directions" to explore, he added.

Diana Ransom of the Wall Street Journal recently said that once keywords have been selected, it is essential to continuously monitor their performance.

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