Are You Using Keywords Properly?

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Before any AdWords campaign can fashion any clicks, you’ve got to select the keywords you want your ads to show for. It is, unfortunately, an overlooked part of PPC management. Unfortunate, because without a good keyword list, your campaigns are going to fail.

In this post I’ll highlight a few ways you can improve your keyword lists to ensure you’re being found by more potential consumers.

Use all Keyword Types

There are three different kinds of match types: exact, phrase and broad. With broad keywords, any search including your keyword as one of the words has a chance to trigger your ad. This means that if you sell basketball shoes and one of your keywords is ‘basketball shoes,’ your ad might appear when somebody is searching for “basketball scores” or “basketball rules.” That’s not ideal for you because those people aren’t specifically looking for your product and might click on your ad, costing you money with a 0% chance of converting a sale. Try using phrase and exact matches in those circumstances, phrase matches will trigger your ad if all the words in your keyword are used so if a query was made for “good basketball shoes” or “buy shoes for basketball” your ad would then appear. In exact match, the query must be exactly the same as the keyword to appear, so you’d only be triggered for a search of “basketball shoes.” Try using your keywords in all three match types to see which ones work best, then slowly weed out the ones that don’t.

Make Use of Negative Keywords

Negative keywords are keywords that you specifically do not want to appear for. These are useful when you sell a product that shares a related term with a product you don’t sell. For instance, if you sell batteries, but not car batteries, you’ll definitely want to make ‘car batteries’ a negative keyword. In the same vein as using different match types, negative keyword lists help you filter out bad traffic, or people that aren’t in your customer base.

Use your Ads for Inspiration

A great place to look for keywords are you ads themselves. I always write my text ads before choosing my keywords because I know that doing so will make it easier to have a high quality score. The more your keywords appear in your ad, the better. Try writing three versions of your text ads with slightly different wordage, and pull your keywords out based on the results. That doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself to only those keywords, but it’s a great starting place.

Utilize the Keyword Tool

Google has a built-in keyword tool and it’s a great resource for determining the average number of searches and costs on keywords each month. It also shows you related keywords that you may want to include in your lists to drive more traffic to your website. This will help you get a grasp on how much you should expect to spend on your advertising and how much product you’ll need to sell with your advertising for it to be profitable.

Check your Search Query Report Regularly

Within the AdWords interfact, you can pull up the search terms people used to find your ad and visit your website. I’d check it at least once a week to find out how people are finding you. This report not only is useful for finding new keywords to add to your campaigns, but also for getting inside the head of a customer searching for your product. The report also easily allows you to turn the search terms into negative or positive keywords on the spot which is incredibly helpful, if you ask me.

Great AdWords management isn’t always easy, but getting your keywords set up right is essential to running a successful campaign. It’s important to always be on the lookout for keyword additions while making sure you mark the bad ones as negative so that you’re always attracting interested buyers to your store.

Trace Ronning is the social media coordinator for WordWatch. They’re dedicated to delivering small business advertisers better results for their money. He blogs about small business and paid search at and you can follow him on twitter @WordWatchPPC