Posted on Dec 09, 2020

A useful guide on keyword research and how to pick the right PPC keywords for your campaigns

Keyword research is the backbone of your PPC campaign and is perhaps one of the most important elements of campaign success. Choosing the right keywords to bid on will result in the clicks and conversions you need to make a great return on investment. If you choose the wrong keywords for your campaign, you’ll be wasting your PPC budget.


There is a lot involved in PPC keywords and takes in-depth research to ensure you’re adding value to your PPC campaigns. For PPC beginners or start-up businesses without this knowledge, it can often be quite overwhelming to begin your keyword research process. That is why we are here to help.


With a wealth of industry knowledge and years of PPC experience, we’ve put together a useful guide on keyword research and how to pick the right PPC keywords for your campaigns. Keep on reading to find out more.


1. Start brainstorming

keyword brainstorming


When it comes to starting your PPC keyword research, you should first look to your website landing pages that your ads will be linking back to. We recommend searching through each page and make a note of any relevant keywords that are contained in the text. If your website has well-written copy, you should be presented with enough material to put together a comprehensive list of keywords that directly relate to your products or services.


Keywords can be categorised into the following types:


  • Brand terms – these are any keywords that contain your brand name, as well as trademarked terms
  • Generic terms – these terms relate to any products or services offered
  • Related terms – these are terms that don’t relate directly to what you’re selling, but that users may be searching for
  • Competitor terms – these are any keywords that contain brand names of your competitors who are offering similar products or services to yours. It’s important to note that bidding on a competitor’s brand terms is expensive and can burn through your budget though.


Here are some more useful tips to consider when you begin the brainstorming process:


  • Imagine yourself as a customer – when you look at it from this perspective, you can see what kinds of words and queries your customers would need to type into search boxes to bring them to your website.
  • Start with broad keywords, then move to more specific – for example, it could look something like this: shirts > men’s shirts > men’s long sleeve shirts > men’s black long sleeve shirts. You can also use long tail and short tail keywords. Short tail refers to much more general search queries, while long-tail keywords are much longer, often five or more words.
  • Include variation – search engines are smart and can sometimes make connections between related terms. For example, they can recognise the similarities between “trainers” and “running shoes”, so make sure you include variations and synonyms in your keyword list.


Remember to look at including keywords that put your business ahead of its competitors in terms of services offered, such as “furniture same day delivery” and “insured delivery company”.


2. Check out your competitors

A very useful step when performing PPC keyword research is to investigate your competitors. By analysing what your competitors are doing, you can get a better insight into the kind of keywords and terms you need to add to your own campaign. We can learn a lot from what other people in the industry are doing, including exactly what keywords they’re bidding the most money on and what they’re ranking for.


When looking into your competitors’ keywords, make sure to look out for high-value keywords that you could benefit from and what they’re currently spending on those keywords.


3. Expand your keyword list with research

PPC keyword tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner can be an incredibly useful tool to expand your current keyword list with relevant keywords that can add value to your campaigns. Simply enter in any terms you think your users are searching for, including any in your current list, and look for any suggestions.


Google keyword planner
Image source: Google



You want to make sure that you’re only selecting strong choices. This means selecting keywords with a high monthly search volume, with a lower CPC and/or difficulty rating. There’s no point selecting keywords that you know are too expensive for your campaigns, so choose wisely.



4. Refine your keyword list with research

Now that you have a comprehensive PPC keyword list, it’s time to go back through the list and start making some cuts. Head back to the Google Keyword Planner tool and re-enter your new list of keywords. Now, go back through and assess each keyword individually to decide whether it stays on the list or gets cut.


Make sure to look out for their number of monthly searches, potential impressions, the estimated CTR and the average CPC. As mentioned above, by taking this step, you can look out for high search volume, low competition and low-cost keywords and utilise these for your campaigns.



5. Group keywords into ad groups

Once you’re left with a refined list of keywords, you can work on grouping them together. Ad groups are the sets of keywords that users can search for to see a specific ad or campaign. For example, let’s say you’ve made a campaign to help you sell a new range of garden furniture. You would want to include keywords such as “outdoor furniture”, “patio furniture” and “outdoor furniture sale”. You would not want to include irrelevant keywords such as “leather sofa” or “dining room set”.


Another great perk of the Google Keyword Planner is that you can select the keywords that you want to add into groups and make these separate groups immediately.



PPC keyword research tips for best results

quick keyword research tips


Now that you know the PPC keyword research process in detail, check out some of these tips that can help you to achieve the best results:


  • Consider keyword match type – the keyword match type can directly impact the effectiveness of the keywords you choose. Broad match allows Google to leave things open to their own interpretation whereas exact match will limit the ads shown to the keywords you enter, giving you granular control of the keywords you are bidding on. Additional match types such as phrase and modified broad are a happy medium between opening up traffic and retaining control and visibility of what you are buying.
  • Don’t forget negative keywords – negative keywords can keep you from appearing in irrelevant searches and, even worse, from getting irrelevant clicks that waste business budget. For example, if you’re selling artificial Christmas trees, add “real Christmas tree” to your list of negative keywords.
  • Remember, not all strategies are worth copying – whilst its always useful to do your homework on your competitors, it doesn’t always mean you should try and replicate what they’re doing. If you can see a competitor is spending a lot of money on a keyword that you think won’t benefit you, don’t add it to your list.


Do you need help with PPC keyword research?

PPC keyword research is one of the most important parts of your overall strategy, meaning you need to invest plenty of time and effort to get it right. If you need help with this, get in touch with our team of PPC experts today to discuss outsourcing your PPC management.


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