It’s no secret that keyword research is the cornerstone of a successful PPC campaign.
Choosing the best keywords to bid on that you know are going to generate clicks is what drives traffic to your website and lead to conversions. Keyword research is half art and half science, with plenty of variables to keep in mind to ensure that your ads are showing up at the right place at the right time.
In this guide, we’ll be taking a look at the different methodologies that you can use to help refine, organize, and acquire the right keywords for your PPC campaigns.
Creating a PPC keyword list
The entry point for keyword research is your website’s landing page(s) where your ads will be linked to. Start by scanning each page and gather any relevant keywords in the text. Assuming that you have a website with well-written copy, you can create a comprehensive list of keywords that are closely related to the products/services you are offering.
You can organise your keywords into the following types based on:
- Brand terms – keywords that have your brand name and trademarked terms.
- Generic terms – keywords that are related to your products/services.
- Related terms – keywords that while not directly relate to what you’re offering, maybe something that your customers may search for.
- Competitor terms – keywords that contain brand names of your competitors
When creating a PPC keyword list, it helps to put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Think of what words and queries they may use to bring them to your website. For example, you can start with broad keywords like “shirts” and you can move to specifics like “men’s shirts” or “men’s short-sleeve shirts”.
You can also include variations and synonyms to further expand your keyword list. Taking the keyword “men’s short-sleeve shirts” for example, you can jot variations such as “men’s short-sleeve Ts” or “men’s short-sleeve t-shirts”.
Using keyword research tools to refine your list
Now that you have a decent set of keywords to work with, the next step is to utilise keyword research tools to full effect. Such tools help you identify which keywords to use and which ones to drop. Google’s Keyword Planner and Wordstream’s Keyword Suggestion tool are all popular keyword tools that give valuable insight into how popular your list of keywords are.
While they may vary slightly on their interfaces, the one thing you need to look for is the keyword’s search volume. This tells you how many people are searching for that keyword each month. The higher the search volume is, the more likely they are to discover your ads. If keywords have little to no search volume, then it’s not worth keeping them from the list as your campaigns will not benefit from them in any way.
Sorting through and organising your keyword list
At this point, you should have an impressive list of keywords to work with. The only thing left is to sort those keywords into small, targeted keywords that are closely related to one another. Grouping those keywords correspond to your ad groups in Google Ads, Bing Ads etc. so it’s important that you sort through your keywords prior to grouping them.
It’s a good idea to have your ad groups resemble the structure of your website. For example if you’re selling cat food, your campaign may look something like this:
- Brand – Purina Cat Food
- Brand – IAMS Cat Food
- Generic – Cat Food
- Generic – Cat Food – Chicken
- Generic – Cat Food – Beef
- Generic- Cat Food – Fish
By making your ad groups tighter and more focused, the easier it’ll be for you to measure the performance of each keyword and trim or expand your keywords list if need be.
Adding in negative keywords
While creating your keywords list, make sure to include negative keywords as well. These are the keywords that you don’t want your ads to appear for and are critical for any PPC campaign. This ensures that your ad targeting is as relevant to your website as possible. The last thing you want is for your ads to show up on something irrelevant or offensive. This will help keep costs down and create more opportunities for your ads to display on searches that can actually lead to conversions.
It can be easy to go overboard on negative keywords so be careful when adding them in as using negative keywords incorrectly can potentially affect your impression volume. Also, make sure to explore different negative keyword options before your campaign goes live. The more negatives you set on the get-go, the more money you’ll end up saving.
And that’s pretty much it. Keep in mind that we only covered the basics of PPC keyword research in this article and there are tons more information out on the web that goes in-depth about choosing the right keywords. Optimising your PPC campaign takes a lot of work and by learning how to perform keyword research, your account will get stronger and you’ll get more relevant clicks because of it.