The Importance of Effective Keyword Research

@Callie | Search

As a digital marketer trying to increase awareness and leads for your product or service in a competitive market, effective keyword research for your PPC campaigns is crucial. You want to make sure that you are targeting the right audience using strategic keyword selection and categorization.


A great process for this is the following:

  1. Create a seed list with initial terms such as your company’s branded terms and any generic terms relating to the products/services offered.
  2. Expand your keyword list with related and long-tail keywords with the help of various keyword research tools.
  3. Perform competitive research to find and target terms that competitors may be focusing on.
  4. Sort and group your PPC keywords to help form well-organized campaigns.

Creating the Seed List

The initial seed list of starting terms is usually the easiest to come up with because it will contain many of your brand terms and broader terms describing your business offerings. The keywords containing your brand’s name will not have the most impressions but tend to have the highest conversion rate because the people searching for these terms are already familiar with the company and product or service. The broader terms describing your business offerings that consist of single words or short phrases will have a much larger search volume but may not convert as well as more targeted terms since people searching for them are more likely to be further back in the decision cycle. To generate this list, it’s a great idea to start off examining your site internally and seeing what terms you and your audience may use to describe your offerings. Creating groups or categories of offerings is also very helpful when compiling an initial keyword list to make sure you don’t leave a gap in your keyword research. It can also help you in organizing your keywords into campaigns later.

Keyword Expansion: Adding Specific and Long-Tail Keywords

Once you have created your initial list with terms generated from internal resources, you should continue expanding it with different variations and synonyms of the existing keywords. Also be sure to include longer-tail keywords that are more descriptive and specific (these will tend to convert better). If you are advertising vacation deals for example, work on adding terms that are more specific to the locations that you offer deals for, such as, “10 day vacation in France” vs. just “vacation packages.”

One great way to come up with long-tail keyword ideas is to type a term in Google’s search box and look at the popular suggestions that pop up. Google Adwords Keyword Planner is also a great tool to take advantage of. This tool gives you keyword ideas based on terms, landing pages, or product categories that you may use as a starting point. It also lists the average monthly search volume, competition, and suggested bid to give you an idea of how popular and/or expensive it may be to bid on a certain keyword. There are many keyword tools available but this is a great one to help really get the job done.

Competitive Research

Also be sure to analyze your competitor’s websites and see what keywords they may be targeting. Scan their pages and content to help discover keywords that you may have missed. Competitor’s URLs can also be entered into various keyword tools to generate a list of keywords that they are ranking for. This competitive research will ensure that you don’t have any gaps in your keyword list resulting in missed conversion opportunities.

Sorting and Organizing Your Keywords

By the end of all your research you will probably have generated a large keyword list with possibly a couple thousand keywords. For your PPC campaigns, the keywords that you really want to focus on are the high-volume, low-competition keywords. These will drive traffic to your site but won’t eat up your budget too quickly. Once you have selected the keywords that you want to use, work on sorting and categorizing them  into smaller targeted groups with terms that are closely related to each other. These will be your campaigns that will be further narrowed down into ad groups. The more focused your campaigns and ad groups are, the easier it will be to create very specific and relevant ads and landing pages. It will also be easier to measure the performance of each keyword. The better organized your campaigns are, the more relevant they will be leading to higher quality scores and a lower cost-per-click.

Additions & Feedback

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