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How to Conduct Keyword Research for More Effective PPC Campaigns

keyword-imageIn order to conduct more effective keyword research, you will first want to spend some time making notes about what you’re offering and figuring out what problem your product solves. We highly recommend you start by evaluating and thinking deeply about your product, or what needs your service solves before beginning your keyword research.

For example, if you conducting keyword research for the site iSpionage, you would first write down something like that it’s a keyword research tool that helps companies optimize their PPC campaigns and an SEO tool that helps them improve organic search rankings. This description let’s us know we should start our research by looking into terms like “keyword research,” “PPC,” and “SEO.” Writing our a detailed description of your product or service will help you uncover key adwords you can begin your research with.

Use of Keyword Tools

The next step is to use the tools you have available for keyword research. You may want to start with the Google Keyword Planner since it’s a free tool that has access to Google’s AdWords data. Most businesses rely on this tool heavily as a starting place for keyword research.

At this point you want to add a keyword into the Google Keyword Planner to see what it recommends. You’ll receive recommendations based on ad group and keyword ideas. The ad group ideas are potential ad groups you can run based on similarly themed keywords, and the keyword ideas are individual keywords you can consider that are related to the term you searched for.
Once you’ve started your research, you don’t need to weed that much out at first. Simply create ad groups based on different themes, and then add all of the keywords into the group. There are other ways to do this, but we recommend beginning with all of the relevant terms and then weeding out the ones that don’t perform well.

Limited Budget Research

search-keyword-tool Although to warn you, this can be somewhat costly. It’s the fastest way to optimize your campaign, but it’s not necessarily the cheapest. If you have a limited budget, consider starting with only the most focused keywords and expanding from there, but if you have a large enough budget to test, go ahead and begin with as many terms as are relevant for your business and then narrow down based on what doesn’t work well. And if you do have a smaller budget, that’s where iSpionage comes in handy because it allows you to spy on your competition so you can learn from their best practices. More on this later…

So this is how you begin your keyword research. You figure out which terms you want to rank for based on a description of your product or service, and then you use the Google Keyword Planner to begin identifying terms you can use as an ad group or keyword.

Group Your Keywords

One thing to keep in mind is that you always want to group your keywords. The best way to do this is to group them into themes. You can have a technical theme based on a specific feature of your product, or you can create groups based on other related terms centered around different industry terms. You can even have a theme for each of your competitors. Although you can’t use their name in the ad copy, because that’s forbidden by Google’s policies.

You can also have a group based on the product itself and what it does. iSpionage helps people with AdWords, online marketing, and landing pages so we can create ad groups based around these and similar terms. Hopefully, these ideas provide a good starting point for grouping your keywords together.

Using iSpionage for Research

As mentioned before, iSpionage can help you with your keyword research in addition the Google Keyword Planner, especially if you’re on a limited budget. iSpionage helps you uncover what keywords your competitors are using and how long they’ve been using them. If a keyword has been used for a really long time, there’s a good chance it’s performing well. Otherwise, why would they still be using it? This is the key — by figuring out which keywords your competition has been using for a long time you learn what is working well for them.

Once you find a keyword your competition’s been using for a long time, you can start with that as a keyword theme and expand from there.

The same can be done for ad copy. iSpionage shows you which ads your competitors are running and which ones have been running for a long time. You can use this data to get an idea about what kind of copy might work well for your product. You never want to copy your competition outright, but you can learn from what they’re doing and do something similar for your campaign.

iSpionage works if you have a larger budget as well. Even if you start with the Google Keyword Planner strategy outlined above, you can use iSpionage to expand your research and to find out what’s working for your competition. This can provide new ideas you’ve never thought of before and will identify more keyword opportunities for your business.

Optimizing Your Keywords

Once you’ve picked out some keywords, you need to take some time to optimize your campaigns. First, let the ad groups accumulate enough data so you can make changes that are statistically meaningful. It’s best to have at least 20-40 clicks for each ad or keyword.
Next, pause keywords and ads that aren’t performing well. If the conversion rate for a keyword is really low compared to the rest, you’ll need to pause it. You may also noticed that some keywords have a much lower click-through rate in addition to a lower conversion rate. That’s an indicator that there isn’t a good match between the ad, what you selling, and that particular keyword. You want to pause these keywords so you don’t burn through your budget. (And make sure to pause instead of delete because otherwise you won’t remember that you used the keyword before.)

The best way to make these changes is a little bit at a time. If you do 15 minutes of optimization per day initially, you’ll eventually get to the point where you only need about 15 minutes per week to give your campaign a check-up. You also won’t end up hating AdWords and wish you could throw your computer into the ocean. It’s better to do a little bit at a time so you don’t end up getting burned out and wanting to quit.

Did you learn something from this post, or do you have a question about how to conduct effective keyword research for PPC campaigns? Ask a question or leave a comment so we can discuss!


Guest-Author-Joseph-PutnamJoseph Wesley Putnam is the proud owner of 5 North Marketing. He helps startups with copywriting, content marketing, and conversion rate optimization. You can follow him on Twitter and Google+, schedule a call on Clarity, and read more of his posts on the 5 North Marketing Blog.