PPC Tips: Building A Keyword List

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Building an effective keyword list can be tricky – how can you boil down everything our brand has to offer into just a few terms? Your choice of keywords will determine how effective each campaign performs and how to measure its success. Creating a killer and effective keyword list takes time and research – and will never be completely static. As your services grow and internet queries change, your list will need to be continuously improved. .Use the following steps to create a master pay-per-click (PPC) keyword list.

Knowing Your Match Types

When putting together your keyword list, it’s important to understand which match types you’ll be targeting. Match types indicate to Google and other search engines how close of a match you want to bid on. For example, ‘tennis shoes’ are in your keyword list; would you also want to show up for the term, ‘sneakers?’ It’s likely that you do – but similar terms aren’t always best to match all of the time. You must have a strategy behind identifying match types to limit your spend and hone in on your true audience. There are four keyword match types: Broad Match, Broad Match Modified, Phrase Match and Exact Match.

  • Broad Match shows when someone is searching for any word in your key phrase, as well as misspellings and synonyms. Broad match will help you to reach the widest audience, however, the search terms can often be irrelevant. A strong negative keyword list is required for these keywords.
  • Broad Match Modified is a happy medium between Broad Match and the more specific match types below. This specifies the exact terms you would like to appear in the query, while also allowing misspellings, abbreviations, and some close variant synonyms.
  • Phrase Match allows people to see your ads when they search for your keywords in any order but also with additional words. For example, if your Phrase Match keyword is ‘marketing agency’, your ad could trigger for ‘overland park marketing agency.’
  • Exact Match will display your ads only when the exact keywords and phrasing strings are typed into the search engine. This will give you the smallest reach of the four options, which is a good strategy for niche businesses or audience groups. Knowing popular phraseology and search queries will come in handy for this option.  

These options aren’t mutually exclusive: It is very effective to use multiple match types per ad group. By doing so, advertisers can reach a more specific audience and get a higher return on investment.

Creating A List

When it comes to identifying which keywords to target, it can seem overwhelming. But, it’s important to make sure your list includes a comprehensive set of both short- and long-tail keywords for highest quality optimization.

What Keywords Do I Use?

Make sure you do your research. You should always use words relevant to your business. AdWords is not about getting the most impressions or clicks. It is about getting relevant clicks from qualified customers. This makes a good starting point to figure out which keywords would work.When using general keywords that have high search volume, keep in mind that while you may get lots of clicks, they may not all be relevant, driving up your cost per click. On the other hand, too much specificity is also inefficient. It will lower the possibility of targeting even relevant customers. That said, you want a goldilocks list of keywords – not too vague, but not too narrow.  When creating your keywords lists, don’t forget to think like a customer: How would I search for this? Is this a phrase I would use? And if the answer is yes, add it into the list

Long-Tail Keywords

The key to being competitive on Google AdWords is to use of long-tail keywords. These are queries that are more detailed than simple, generic search terms and typically include some sort of modifier, be it location-based, service-based, or the like. They are more specific with lower search volume, meaning they often have lower suggested bids. Unlike other generic terms, bidding on these keywords doesn’t translate into a bidding war, but rather, ROI.

The fact that they are more specific means that they will catch users who are further down the sales funnel, past awareness and consideration stages. These users have already done some research and are more certain of what they are looking for, therefore are more likely to purchase. For example, if someone were to type “women’s shoe” into Google, they would be making a very general search and likely don’t know what they are looking for. They are in the awareness stage. However, someone who types ‘Nike women’s running shoe size 6 in black’ would likely know exactly the type of shoe they are looking for. This is when long-tail keywords come into play. While they have a lower search volume, you’re more likely to capture the searcher.

Negative Keywords

As important as researching relevant keywords is, you also need to create a list of negative match keywords, or those that are not related to your business. Negative keywords give you the possibility to exclude words that aren’t a good match for your product or service. For example, if you’re running an Eagle conservation group, you may want to target ‘eagles’ but disclude ‘football’ from your consideration set. This further allows you to find the customers that are most interested in your products and services.

Adding negative keywords to your list can help reach your target audience, reduce costs, and increase your revenue. Keep in mind that you’re paying for this space – only pay to reach the customers  that need your services.

Optimizing Your List

Continue updating your keyword list to ensure they’re still effective and relevant. PPC is all about A/B testing and optimizing. Some keywords that you thought may be great could be falling flat – and in this day and age, the use of language and queries can change in an instant. See what consumers are searching for, updating both your keyword list and negative keywords to reflect the common language of your target audience.. Don’t rely on your gut instinct, AdWords and other third-party analytics sites offer complex and comprehensive data that you can read to truly see what’s performing, and what’s not. The key to PPC success is continuous testing and improving.

For an analysis on your AdWords accounts or other PPC campaigns, please reach out and get connected to our Paid Media experts.

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