[Research] The Top Marketing Keywords for Agencies in 2022

Kate Churkina

Jan 25, 20226 min read
Popular Online Marketing Keywords

Keyword research is a vital step in any company’s digital marketing strategy. When you know what people are searching for—and you understand the intent behind those searches—you drastically increase your chances of finding and connecting with the right audience.

Effective keyword research can also help you get a better understanding of broader industry trends—and potentially even influence your wider business strategy.

The key, of course, is to identify the right keywords, which is where we come in!

How Can Marketing Keywords Shape Your Agency’s Strategy?

Before we delve into what exactly those core marketing keywords are, though, it’s worth noting how they can be used.

These keywords can give your agency a good idea of what your audience is looking for, such as:

  • The kinds of marketing problems they are looking to solve
  • The types of services they are looking for
  • The geographical areas they are based in
  • Their level of understanding of digital marketing
  • The industries they operate in

As a result, they can help you to create a far more effective content marketing strategy, build authority and expertise in a particular field or specialism, and even target potentially untapped markets.

As mentioned, they can also influence your business strategy. Instead of choosing what services your agency is going to offer and then marketing them, why not flip things around? You can see what kinds of queries and terms audiences are searching for and then tweak your services and your approach accordingly.

So, what are these key digital marketing keywords?

To find out, we did some detailed research using Semrush’s Keyword Research toolkit. However, rather than just copy and paste a jumbled list of generic marketing terms (and brand them as “the most important keywords in marketing”), we wanted to provide some actual insight into keywords that are specific—and helpful—for agencies.

To start, we looked closely at the monthly search volume of terms related to digital marketing. We also looked at the Cost per Click (CPC) and Keyword Difficulty (KD) (a Semrush indicator of how hard it is to rank in the SERP top 10) for each term. This allowed us to see which areas and specialisms are the most widely searched, regardless of intent.

Keyword

U.S. vol.

Total vol.

KD (%)

CPC (USD)

seo

110,000

1,900,000

100

6.32

affiliate marketing

110,000

549,100

100

1.53

web design

60,500

368,200

81

10.50

social media marketing

40,500

221,900

100

7.56

ppc

27,100

222,500

92

7.32

marketing strategy

22,200

183,800

84

3.82

market research

22,200

122,000

100

7.18

email marketing

14,800

120,700

100

22.19

content marketing

14,800

110,800

95

7.84

retargeting

12,100

37,500

80

46.62

direct marketing

8,100

46,100

68

4.92

link building

8,100

35,500

92

2.23

b2b marketing

6,600

34,900

73

13.38

search engine marketing

4,400

25,200

77

12.14

digital marketing strategy

3,600

22,500

77

7.62

As a result, we get a broad idea of the digital marketing specialisms that are generating the most interest, giving a useful indicator of which services might be the most in demand.

These keywords are also a good starting point for your own research, allowing you to dig deep and uncover specific niche services, queries, and seed keywords to use in your content strategy.

Keywords for Digital Marketing Companies

Of course, while handy in a market research sense, these keywords are still pretty vague. A wide range of intent is likely behind the searches for those terms.

Therefore, to give you a better idea of what people are searching for in terms of requiring an agency solution, consider the following keywords.

Keyword

U.S. vol.

Total vol.

KD (%)

CPC (USD)

seo agencies

8,100

20,000

74

19.00

social media marketing agencies

5,400

17,200

79

8.47

web design agencies

5,400

14,700

73

14.80

email marketing agencies

1,000

9,900

55

18.52

content marketing agencies

880

4,100

66

14.63

ppc agencies

880

3,300

57

28.96

full service marketing agencies

480

1,200

45

6.52

marketing strategy agencies

390

1,600

49

4.81

b2b marketing agencies

390

1,500

53

22.92

market research agencies

320

1,800

53

18.69

link building agencies

320

1,700

60

NA

affiliate marketing agencies

320

1,600

34

9.70

direct marketing agencies

260

1,100

50

7.00

white label marketing agencies

260

840

56

11.84

search engine marketing agencies

210

3,800

44

20.52

digital marketing strategy agencies

210

860

76

NA

From a strategic point of view, you should consider this list a starting point (albeit a more targeted one). When doing your own research, make sure that you take into account the various angles and associated keywords, as these can potentially contain a lot of value. Our quick guide on seed keywords is a great place to start.

Pay close attention to wording variations too, as you might overlook a potentially fruitful keyword. For example, if you’re going to target “seo agencies,” you might also consider “seo companies” (U.S. vol: 14,800), “seo services” (U.S. vol: 12,100), and “seo digital marketing agencies” (U.S. vol: 1,000).

Digital Marketing Agency Keywords

It’s also useful to see the general terms that searchers are using to find digital marketing agencies. For instance, take a look at the list below.

Keyword

U.S. vol.

Total vol.

KD (%)

CPC (USD)

digital marketing agency

18,100

85,600

89

10.62

digital marketing company

5,400

29,400

87

9.07

digital marketing services

5,400

28,500

67

10.22

digital marketing consultant

2,400

8,600

54

7.68

top digital marketing agencies

1,300

3,600

78

10.22

best digital marketing agencies

880

4,500

79

11.48

digital marketing firms

880

3,600

76

12.48

digital marketing agency for small businesses

590

2,500

57

14.88

digital marketing agency for startups

260

5,400

38

10.51

creative digital marketing agency

170

3,000

58

6.87

boutique digital marketing agency

170

810

40

6.69

These short- and long-tail keywords can help you target user intent more effectively and focus on specific terms and phrases in line with your paid and organic strategies. For example, if your agency’s expertise is in helping startups scale their online presence across multiple channels, then “digital marketing agency for startups” is a great keyphrase to build around.

It’s also important to focus on local search in your marketing plan, as you can see from the queries below.

Keyword

U.S. vol.

Total vol.

KD (%)

CPC (USD)

digital marketing agency near me

2,900

8,800

70

11.21

digital marketing near me

1,900

5,600

66

12.20

digital marketing company near me

1,000

3,000

73

12.48

digital marketing agency in <location>

NA

NA

NA

NA

local digital marketing agency

320

900

69

11.37

Location-specific searches can be particularly fruitful, especially if your agency is looking to acquire local clients. For example, the term “digital marketing agency miami” attracts 1,300 monthly searches in the U.S., which is a potentially lucrative keyword if you’re based in that region.

To fully optimize your agency for local search, ensure that you are always following best practices. Dedicated tools such as the Semrush Local SEO toolkit can also help you improve your local search presence.

Question Keywords

Question keywords can also reveal a lot about the general concerns, pain points, and knowledge gaps of your potential market. Several of these can be identified from the long-tail keywords below.

Keyword

U.S. vol.

Total vol.

KD (%)

CPC (USD)

what is a digital marketing agency

320

1,300

44

5.80

how to choose digital marketing agency

90

2,400

32

NA

how to promote business through digital marketing

90

1,400

52

NA

which industry needs digital marketing

90

900

30

NA

what do digital marketing companies do

90

810

41

NA

how much do digital marketers charge

90

540

49

4.78

why do you need a digital marketing agency

90

180

32

12.23

As well as giving you an idea of what people’s biggest concerns are, these keywords can potentially serve as a great foundation for your content marketing and outreach plan all while providing helpful and informative content for users.

Keywords by Industry

Looking at some industry-specific keywords can also help identify those sectors where digital marketing agencies are in high demand right now.

Keyword

U.S. vol.

Total vol.

KD (%)

CPC (USD)

real estate digital marketing

480

3,500

51

8.21

digital healthcare marketing

480

1,900

46

16.41

ecommerce digital marketing

320

1,900

60

21.00

automotive digital marketing

210

750

42

12.26

attorney digital marketing

140

560

47

26.71

These keywords can give you a good idea of the kinds of potential clients you could perhaps reach out to; it may even be worth putting together a presentation or pitch that focuses on the marketing challenges and opportunities that are unique to those sectors.

You can also narrow your search, allowing you to target users who are specifically looking for an agency solution.

Keyword

U.S. vol.

Total vol.

KD (%)

CPC (USD)

healthcare digital marketing agency

260

1,100

45

22.80

ecommerce digital marketing agency

170

3,500

52

19.55

real estate digital marketing agency

140

1,100

50

8.62

automotive digital marketing agency

140

530

39

16.23

digital marketing agency for nonprofits

90

1,700

20

11.44

fintech digital marketing agency

90

1,700

20

NA

digital marketing agency for attorneys

90

1,200

50

NA

This can be quite helpful if you are looking to position your agency within a particular industry or niche.

How Can Semrush Help?

These keywords reveal a lot for agencies, but in many cases, they are just the tip of the iceberg. To fully understand the big picture and formulate an effective keyword strategy, you need to dive a lot deeper (as well as take into account individual factors, such as your agency’s geographic location, niche, and resources).

With this in mind, the Keyword Magic Tool, which we used to create these lists, is a great place to start. It allows you to uncover and gather low-competition keywords upon which you can build your SEO and PPC strategies. Use it with other Semrush tools to hone your organic and paid content. To learn more about doing this, check out our full Semrush keyword research workflow guide.

In the meantime, we hope that you find some genuine value in this list—and that we’ve maybe even given your agency some ideas to build on in 2022!

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Kate Churkina is a content strategist at Semrush. With years of experience in social media, content strategy, SEO, PR, and more, she curates and crafts content to help digital agencies grow and succeed.
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