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Adding the right keywords into an ads account, such as Google or Bing, is often overlooked. It is common practice for people when writing an ad to think ‘what will people search for?’ add a few terms and then run the ad. However, adding keywords into text ads is a much more complex process if you want your ads to perform to the best of their ability. We’ve highlighted below some of the key ways you can help ads perform well and which tools are available to help pick the right keywords.

As with all processes in search ads, testing is key, as cost per clicks fluctuate depending on the competition bidding on the keywords, seasonal trends, locations and much more. Therefore, accounts need to be monitored closely on a weekly basis. Bear in mind that it is best to not make dramatic changes to keywords after short periods of time. This is because data is required to support the changes you decide to make within the account.

Keyword Planner

Always check in Google Keyword Planner. It will most likely pick up keywords which you hadn’t considered. For example, a simple ‘women’s blouse’ rather than ‘ladies’ shirt’ could have a much higher number of monthly searches, so it would make sense to include in your search terms. The keyword planner also shows the competition for each of these keywords. With this information you can determine how hard it will be to get into top position. It also gives you the average cost per click so you can work out, prior to setting the campaign live, how much budget is necessary based on using a variation of keywords.

Although the hardest to find, the best keywords to aim for are ones with high volume, but low competition, as these will allow you to reach a large number of people, but it won’t cost you a fortune! So needless to say, the high competition/high searches keywords are those that cost a lot per click, so if possible, they are the ones to consider dropping.

Competitors’ Keywords

Check what your competitors are bidding on using a tool like SEMrush – you will want to be showing in the right auctions, and they may be targeting some keyword that you haven’t considered. Also, the larger companies will have large teams behind them, so they will have the budget available to research top keywords, giving you the opportunity to come along and see what potentially works. Once in your account, make sure you keep an eye on these keywords, as bids are more likely to be higher due to competitors bidding on them. This can sometimes start a ‘bidding war’ if you both want the top spot. In these cases, it’s usually advised to drop down a spot to position two, as these have a similar click through rate but a much lower click through rate, as search ads only charge you 1p over the bid from the keyword in the lower position.

Organic Search Terms

Google Analytics has made it harder to access organic search terms, and now provides a large chunk of ‘not provided’ organic keywords. However, there are a couple of ways to gain access to these organic search terms. It is possible to drop some code into Analytics, but we use a couple of tools which makes the process much easier. SEMrush makes it much easier to download the top searched terms simply by adding your URL and heading over to the organic keywords section. Another tool is Keyword Hero, which can easily be integrated into your Google Analytics. It sets up a new profile and you can see which search terms brought visits to your site for free. It does cost if you want conversions against the data, but we think it is worthwhile to give you invaluable data which is otherwise pretty inaccessible. Once you have your list of organic terms, you can then filter through these and pick some that you would like to test out in your search ads campaigns.

Cover All Possible Search Terms

If you have the budget available, start with your broadest terms and then get more granular. You will then know that you are covering all potential searches. If you use one-word keywords, which are generic, make sure you keep a close eye on the search terms coming through as you don’t want to be showing up in irrelevant auctions. If you are competing against some big brands, you may want to consider skipping the broader terms and focus on longer keywords.

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Think Like Your Website User

You may think that you know what your audience will be searching, but reality could be completely different. For example, one of our clients Flexed were concentrating on the term ‘short term car leasing’, but, after some research, we found out that one of their other top search terms were ‘long term car rental’. This is a key term which was not considered previously. Once this was added into the search ads campaigns, the conversions started coming through on this term!

Consider Longtail Keywords

Aim for keywords which your customer would search for rather than what you think they would. For example, ‘limestone paving suitable for garden path’ rather than ‘paving slab’ – these terms will have a much lower number of searches, but they will be the people who have more intention to buy as they are a much more specific search.

Separating Keywords into Campaign Types

Have separate campaigns based on product type, brand and product id. This way you can have the ad copy suited to your keywords and can compare which search ad types work best for your business. Also, this means it will be much easier to measure the performance of the keywords and will provide a higher relevancy for the ad groups. Just don’t make the mistake of putting single keywords into their own ad groups, as this is far too granular and will hinder your account rather than help.

If you found this blog useful and would like our team to have a look into your PPC strategy, please visit our PPC services page, or contact us today!

Hannah Pittman

Hannah Pittman

Hannah has 12 years’ experience in the marketing field, ranging from online and offline marketing to PPC Specialist roles in a variety of sectors from education to global online retailers. She joined Agency51 as a Senior Client Marketing Manager with a PPC specialism.

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