Choosing the right keywords is the key to running a successful ad campaign. However, with so much competition in the Pay-Per-Click (PPC) space, finding relevant terms that you can afford to bid on and still generate a good Return On Investment (ROI) is no easy task. That’s why using keyword research in ad campaigns is so important.
In this post, we’ll take a closer look at PPC keyword research and how to apply it to your paid advertising campaigns. We’ll then show you how to use Google Keyword Planner to find those high-volume, low-competition keywords that your competitors don’t know about. Let’s get started!
What PPC Keyword Research Is (and Why It Matters)
The keywords you target within your paid search campaigns determine where your ads show up in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) and who sees them. PPC keyword research is the process of finding and evaluating relevant terms that help you reach the right audience. It’s arguably the most important step in your marketing strategy.
If you get it right, your campaign may generate more leads and a better ROI. If you get it wrong, you might end up blowing your advertising budget on clicks from users who aren’t interested in what you’re selling.
Therefore, keyword research is about understanding exactly who your customers are and what terms they’re typing into the search box. It’s also about keeping your costs down.
The costs of PPC advertising on Google depend on a few different factors, including how competitive your target keywords are and your quality score. The more popular a keyword is, the higher the average bidding price will be.
If you target very competitive search terms, you’ll probably end up paying more per click than you need to. By using the right tools, you can find relevant keywords that are less competitive, thus keeping costs as low as possible.
One keyword research tool that you might want to check out is Google Keyword Planner:
This is a powerful, free program that helps you discover new keyword ideas related to your business. You can also use it to see monthly search estimates for each term, and find out the average cost for targeting your selected keywords in Google Ads.
How to Use Keyword Research in Your Next Ad Campaign (4 Easy Steps)
Let’s take a closer look at how you can use Google Keyword Planner to carry out effective keyword research for your next ad campaign.
Step 1: Brainstorm a List of Seed Keywords
The first step is to open up a spreadsheet and create a long list of seed keywords. These are very broad, short-tail phrases (usually just 2-3 words) that are closely related to your industry, service, or product.
For example, let’s imagine you’re advertising a legal firm in New York. A few examples of relevant seed keywords might be “lawyer new york,” “new york attorney,” “criminal law,” or “family law.”
When brainstorming your list, there are a few different types of seed keywords you might want to include, such as:
- Brand terms: These contain your brand name.
- Competitor terms: These contain the brand names of your main competitors.
- Generic terms: These are related to your products or services.
- Related terms: These are related to those other items that your target customers might search for (besides your own products).
Here’s an example of what your list might look like when you’re done:
As you can imagine, these kinds of terms are highly competitive. However, you’re not going to be targeting them in your advertising campaigns; instead, you can use them as a jumping-off point to find less competitive, long-tail keywords.
Step 2: Enter Your Seed Keywords into Google Keyword Planner
Now that you have your list, you can enter these terms into Google Keyword Planner. To get started, go to Google Keyword Planner and log in to your account.
Next, select Discover New Keyword Ideas:
On the next page, enter your seed keywords (use a comma to separate each search term) and click on Get Results:
This should bring up a long list of keyword ideas that you might want to use in your campaign, alongside several columns that contain important data:
Next to each keyword, you’ll see an estimated monthly search volume range, competition marker (low, medium, or high), and the average bidding prices. You can use this information to determine whether or not a given keyword is worth targeting.
Step 3: Evaluate Your Options
Next, we’re going to sort through our options and pick out the best keywords to use in our campaign. The goal is to select low-competition search terms with high commercial intent, as these are the terms that are likely to be the most cost-effective and generate the best possible ROI.
You can use the filter feature in Google Keyword Planner to only include low competition keywords:
However, you’ll need to use your own judgment to work out the commercial intent behind these terms. You may want to think about the sales funnel, and try to pick out keywords customers might search for at the bottom of the funnel when they’re ready to buy.
Ideally, the phrases you choose should also have a high search volume, as this will allow you to drive the most traffic to your landing pages. However, this is less important if you’re working with a modest budget, as you may only be able to afford a limited number of clicks.
You can prune your list by dropping any terms with very little or no search volume. You can also remove those items with high competition, low commercial intent, and average bidding costs that wouldn’t make sense for your budget.
Step 4: Organize Your Keywords into Ad Groups
At this point, you should have a pretty big list. The next step is to organize it by grouping search terms that are closely related to each other into smaller categories. These will become your Ad Groups in Google Ads.
One way to go about this is by basing your groupings on the different products or services you offer. For instance, in our legal firm example, you can group keywords into those related to ‘business law,’ ‘family law,’ ‘employment law,’ etc.
Google Keyword Planner automatically makes ad group suggestions for you. In the Refine Keywords tab on the right, you should be able to see a list of categories alongside the number of items in each one:
Creating tightly-organized ad groups may help you get a higher quality score by increasing the relevance of your campaign. It also makes it easier to create ads for each group, measure the performance of your keywords, and increase your ad rankings.
If you want your ad campaign to be a success, you’ll need to nail your keyword strategy. Fortunately, you can use a powerful tool like Google Keyword Planner to conduct careful keyword research and optimize your next ad campaign.
Do you have any questions about how to use keyword research in ad campaigns? Let us know in the comments section below!
Image credit: NordWood Themes.
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