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How to Do Keyword Research for Pay-Per-Click Advertising Campaigns

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If you’re new to pay-per-click advertising and want to get started on a campaign for your business, the first and most important step is learning how to do keyword research. Keywords are  relevant words to help people find the products or services your business offers. Your selection of keywords can include a combination of single words and search phrases like “coffee” and “gourmet iced coffee.”

According to Google Adwords, “[f]or your ads to show when people search for products or services like yours, you’ll want to choose keywords that are similar to the words or phrases people might use when conducting their search. When someone’s search terms are similar to your keywords and the text of your ad, your ad can be eligible to show near their search results.”
The idea of keywords is relatively simple: pick the words and phrases users will type when searching for your product or service – the hard part is figuring out which words and phrases will work best.

Because keywords are words or phrases that match ads with a customer’s search, it’s tempting to use keywords that are general – such as coffee if you’re a coffee purveyor, or shoes if you run a shoe store – but sometimes the clicks that you’ll get won’t be qualified leads. Qualified leads come from customers who express an interest in your product, and then end up buying it. This is why you’ll want to be as specific as possible when coming up with keywords that you want to bid on.

Instead of using broad terms, narrowing them down comes in handy. Instead of using coffee as a keyword, the purveyor could use Sumatra coffee or Guatemalan coffee. Another important step is theming or segmenting your ad groups. If you sell a variety of outdoor equipment, and one of your groups of items are tents, you can create a theme around those tents by using keywords that fall in that category. You could choose keywords such as dome tents, hoop tents, wedge tents, and a-frame tents (if you sell all of those types of tents). This ensures that the user is looking for that specific kind of tent, so their click is more likely to lead to a sale.

Being specific with your keyword choices is very important when you start a pay-per-click campaign. If you’re having a sale on tents, and use the keyword “tents,” you could get unqualified clicks from people searching for information about how to put up a tent, or something else unrelated. Instead, being specific about the sale and using keyword phrases such as “dome tents on sale,” or “discount dome tents,” the people clicking on your ads are more likely to be looking for what you offer. According to Google Adwords, “successful advertisers choose between five to twenty keywords per ad group.”

Perhaps the most important part of your keyword research is adding negative keywords. Negative keywords ensure that your ads don’t show up for the wrong people. If you choose the right negative keywords, you get more qualified clicks. If you don’t sell hoop tents, then make sure you add “hoop” as a negative keyword. You won’t want to waste money on people who don’t even want your service or product.

You can use a keyword planner to help you form a pay-per-click campaign. Google Adwords has a keyword planner that helps come up with new keyword ideas, estimate the number of clicks you might get, and lets you check to see how certain keywords are performing. If you keep a close eye on certain keywords, and they seem to be performing better than others, you can put more money toward them to potentially increase your sales.
Here are some other important tips to consider when you’re learning about how to do keyword research:

  1. A lot of businesses will bid on their own brand because the keywords are typically cheap to buy. If you’re a smaller company, you don’t want to waste money on people who look for your business organically already, so investing in those keywords may not be in your best interest. If your organic rankings are poor, then it’s smart to invest in branded keywords so you show up closer to the top of search results.
  2. Knowing your competitors can help your campaigns. If you wanted to, you could use a keyword that helps you show up every time someone searches for your competitor.
  3. Consider adding location-based keywords to your campaign. Users will often search for services in a certain area, so if you install windows in Bangor, Maine, you could use a keyword such as “window installation in Bangor, Maine.”
  4. Blue chip keywords are generic, every day keywords, such as “buy children’s shoes online” or “dome tents.” These are where you’ll get the most bang for your buck because internet users will often search for these terms to find products or services like yours.
  5. Do people misspell your business’ name often? Bidding on that misspelled term may help direct users to your business, even though they don’t have the name right.

Keyword research is an important part of any pay-per-click campaign. There are also plenty of tools online that can help you choose the right keywords, but these are often tools that need to be paid for in addition to the price you’ll pay to buy certain keywords. A little bit of time spent on Google Adword’s keyword planner and monitoring the results of your campaign closely can help you continually improve your campaigns and bring more leads to your business.

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