Want to get your ads in front of the right people? Choosing the right keywords is vital to campaign success. Here, we offer up our advice on building an effective keyword list to help your customers find your products or services.

Keyword research is the process of building keyword lists, based on the frequency at which consumers search for these words and phrases. Despite the name, each keyword can be made up of multiple words, like ‘red shoes’.

You then use these keywords to choose the search queries for which your ads appear.

Keywords are organised into ad groups. You assign ad creatives (ad text) to these ad groups, which appear when triggered by these keywords. In AdWords, you can then control how strictly Google interprets a keyword by assigning a match type, such as Exact, Phrase, Modified Broad and Broad.

Keywords scrabble

Why is Keyword Research Important?

Keywords are the building blocks of your AdWords campaigns. Using them effectively, you can control your ad’s visibility in search results, as well as affecting the amount you spend.

If you’re setting up an account for the first time, it’s essential to build a robust keyword list as soon as you can. The quality of this list will determine the frequency at which your ads appear, and the relevancy of your ads to users’ search queries.

Even if you’ve been running AdWords campaigns for some time – or you’ve recently inherited an account – it’s still important to regularly review your keyword lists to discover missed opportunities.

Keyword Research Tools and Techniques

Keyword planner

Google Keyword Planner – Google’s own keyword research tool is invaluable, as it provides solid data on the popularity of keywords from Google itself. The tool also provides keyword suggestions, lets you organise keywords into ad groups, and forecast visibility based on varying bids.

Keyword Planner will likely be the most frequently used tool in your research – and any keywords found through other sources should be entered into keyword planner to ensure you have accurate search volume data.

On-Site Search – Search data from your own website can provide plenty of insights to help you start your keyword research process. The terms your customers use to find products using your on-site search box will very likely be reflected in the terms they use to search on Google.

On-site search data can also help you understand the quirks of your customers’ linguistic choices – remember, the way your customers talk about your products will not always reflect the way you talk about them.

Search Terms Reports – The Search terms report provides a list of search queries that triggered your ads within a specified time frame. This is useful if you’re looking to optimise your existing keyword lists further, or discover new keyword opportunities.

For example, search terms data may bring to light a new synonym for your products you hadn’t previously considered. Using this synonym as a starting point, you could use Keyword Planner to discover further keywords, and create a new Ad Group to categorise them.

You can find the Search terms report in AdWords by going to the Keywords tab. Click on ‘Details’ to view search terms for selected keywords (or all keywords).

Best-Practice Tips For Keyword Research

  • Be Relevant. Creating a ‘quality’ keyword list doesn’t necessary mean creating a lengthy list. Strong, relevant keywords should take precedence over generic keywords with high search volumes. Relevant keywords bring in relevant clicks, which ultimately means more conversions – and less money wasted.
  • Stay In Budget. Even at the earliest account setup stage, you should always keep your budget in mind. Consider search volume and CPCs when finalising your keywords, so you can be sure you can afford to bid on all the keywords you’ve chosen.
  • Review Your Rivals. You can use competitor review tools to analyse how rival businesses are bidding on keywords – and uncover new keyword opportunities.
  • Be The Customer. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes when conducting keyword research. Don’t assume the terminology you use reflects the way your customers search for your products.

This post is adapted and abridged from our FREE eBook – The Best-Practice Guide to AdWords Audits: Part One

Download your copy now to discover how to structure a successful AdWords campaign and keep up-to-date with Google’s guidelines.

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ClickThrough is a digital marketing agency, providing search engine optimisation, pay per click management, conversion optimisation, web development and content marketing services.