A Brief Guide to PPC Keyword Research

July 3, 2012 by  Filed under: PPC 

As keywords are essentially the pillars of PPC strategies, it’s important that you take the time to carry out thorough research. Start by making a list of all your campaigns and ad groups with the respective keyphrases listed underneath.

In terms of finding your keyphrases, Google Keyword Tool is a PPC marketer’s best friend. Of course it’s necessary to use this for competition level’s and cost-per-clicks but it’s still important to look down other channels for potential keyphrases: the site’s competitors, for example. Take a close look at what keyphrases they are targeting, then look at the search volumes around these to determine if there are in gaps in your own research. An easy way to do this is to use a scraper tool like Screaming Frog, which clearly shows page titles and meta descriptions and therefore the keyphrases that these pages are targeting.

Google Insights and Google Trends are other useful tools which can tell you if there are any rising search terms. These are also useful for determining the popularity of certain keyphrases in different regions of the world. Insights in particular can give you a good idea of new potential keywords to add to your list.

Search engines themselves are also great for finding synonyms. Using the tilda (~) symbol, you can find words which Google considers to be synonyms and could be useful in ad copy.

Negative keyphrases are another important aspect when researching PPC keyphrases. These are essentially words that you don’t want to be associated with your ads. This means you stop people click on an ad that is not what they are looking for, an in the process save yourself unnecessary costs. Negative keywords also help improve the quality score of relevant keyphrases by reducing wasted impressions.

When doing keyword research don’t forget about the user’s search experience across devices. With growing numbers of people searching on mobile and other devices, it’s extremely important that you cater to their needs too. The length of keywords varies considerably from device to device, with iPhone and Android users searching for comparatively shorter keyphrases.

An remember, never assume your keyphrase research is complete or final. Google’s algorithms and ranking factors are always changing, so it’s not a set and forget situation. Create an editorial calendar for updating and refreshing your paid search keyphrase list, perhaps in line with seasonal changes or more frequently depending on the type of business.

Harvey McEwan writes articles on a variety of topics, from paid search to fashion and technology.

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