The foundation of any rewarding pay-per-click campaign is PPC keyword analysis. Selecting keywords to bid on that are most relevant to your audience, and most likely to provide your business with a return on ad spend (ROAS). Keyword research involves using the many PPC keyword research tools at your disposal and also understanding your customers and the search terms they will be using on search engines. This will ensure your ads serve at the right time and in the right place.
If you’re interested in finding out how you should be structuring your Google Ads campaigns, then get in touch with one of our account managers for a free keyword audit.
This guide will help improve your keyword research process and in turn, help you achieve more effective pay-per-click campaigns. We will cover the following topics:
- Creating your PPC keyword list
- Using PPC keyword research tools to perfect your keyword list
- How to arrange your PPC keywords
- Adding negative keywords
Create Your PPC Keyword List
Keyword research starts by analysing your website landing page(s) that your advertisements will drive users to. Start by looking at each page and gather all of the relevant keywords from the text. Supposing that your website has well-crafted page text, there should be enough content to begin putting together a thorough list of relevant keywords. At Clear Click, we start by organising our keywords into the following categories;
- Branded - keywords containing your brand name.
- Generic - keywords relating to your product or service offering.
- Related - keywords that don’t have direct relation, but users who are interested in your product or service may be searching for.
- Competitor - keywords containing brand names of your competitors.
Here is what this method of categorising keywords would look like in practice if we were to conduct keyword research on Mercedes cars.
It’s very important to note that if you decide to bid on competitor keywords, it is expensive and cannibalise modest PPC budgets quickly. So, think carefully about your goals and if the risk is worth the reward.
Put Yourself Into Your Customers’ Mindset
During the keyword brainstorming stage, you must put yourself into your target audiences shoes. What kind of search queries would they use when searching for your product or service?
For example, if your audience is searching for shoes they might use the following queries;
trainers, running shoes, blue trainers, men’s sneakers, women’s trainers. Search engines like Google can often make connections between related search terms and therefore they would treat “trainers” and “running shoes” in the same manner. However, search engines do not always find the connection between similar terms, so it is best to include them in your initial keyword research. Especially if you are using exact match keywords.
Consider Broad Match Keywords
Adding broad match keywords to your Google Ads campaigns will serve advertisements to users who might be researching topics around your product or service not wishing to convert at that specific time. This allows advertisers to capture a higher volume of website traffic at a lower cost than other keyword match types.
Explore Long-tail Keywords
Contrary to broad keywords, long-tail keywords are low in search volume but high in user intent. An example of a long-tail keyword would be a user who searches for “Levi men’s t-shirts size medium” rather than “men’s shirts”. These keywords may only have a dozen or so searches per month, but the user is much more likely to click the advertisement and purchase your product or service because it’s exactly what the user was searching for. Due to their low search volume, fewer advertisers bother to research and develop their long-tail keywords, this means that it’s a less competitive space and costs less to bid on them.
Understandably, long-tail keywords can be quite time consuming to pull together. That’s why we suggest using tools such as Merge Words or Founds PPC Concatenation Tool to concatenate your lists into long-tail keywords.
Perfect Your Keyword List with PPC Keyword Research Tools
Equipped with your initial keyword list, it would now be wise to refine and expand your keyword list using PPC keyword research tools. By doing so, you will find which keywords should be kept, and which should be discarded from your list. Keyword research tools provide advertisers with keyword research volumes, the level of competition, and the average cost per click for each of the keywords in your list. Our favourite keyword research tools are Google’s Keyword Planner and SEMrushes PPC Keyword Tool.
Arranging Your PPC Keywords
You must arrange and organise your keywords into groups that are closely related to one another. These groupings of keywords will resemble your ad group structure from within the Google Ads or Microsoft Advertising (formerly known as Bing Ads) platforms. For instance, let’s assume you are selling ground coffee on your website. A good PPC account structure would mimic the structure of your website. Therefore, your ad groups might look like this;
Generic | Ground Coffee
Generic | Peruvian Coffee
Generic | Columbian Coffee
The more tightly knit your keywords and ad groups are, the higher chance you have of measuring keyword performance, creating highly engaging and relevant advertisements, and achieving a higher quality score.
Quality scores are a crucial performance metric every PPC advertiser should aim to increase.
Google allocates a score to each of the advertisers keywords out of 10 and the score is based on the relevance of the ads, landing page experience, and expected click-through rates. The score given is out of 10, and having a higher score increases your ad ranking and reduces your cost per click.
Add Negative Keywords
Adding negative keywords to your PPC accounts are extremely important. Negative keywords are the terms that you don’t want your ads to appear for. A vital part of any PPC account, negative keywords help govern cost and keep your targeting highly relevant to the users search intent. For example, a merchandiser of luxury watches would add negative keywords like “cheap” to mitigate the risk of their ad showing for an irrelevant search.
Here are some suggestions for adding negative keywords to your PPC campaigns:
- Monitor your search term reports in Google Ads and Microsoft Ads. This is an excellent way to determine what users were searching for when your ad was served to them. If you find keywords in user search terms that are irrelevant to your business, set them as negative keywords to ensure your ad spend is not wasted in the future.
- Research keyword match types. Using broad match negative to disqualify obvious terms such as “free” is acceptable. However, be careful with broad match negative keywords as you can quickly rule out a large portion of traffic without knowing the quality of search traffic you will gain from serving your advertisements. Be cautious and collect data before ruling out too many keywords.
- Make use of shared negative keyword lists. There are some keywords that you will want to apply globally across your account. To do this efficiently, use shared keywords lists.
How Clear Click Can Help
Our paid search team specialise in finding our clients the most profitable keywords and reducing wasted ad spend, positively affecting the bottom-line of our clients’ businesses. If you would like help identifying growth opportunities and implementing a structured strategy to your Google Ads campaigns, contact us.