For those just getting started with PPC advertising, specifically Google AdWords, you might find the whole process to be a little overwhelming. Google provides, what seems like a million different tools to make your life “easier” but often times it makes things more difficult when it’s a matter of getting started.
In an attempt to free you from your state of paralysis, I’d like to start small and offer a couple of tips to embarking upon your Google advertising journey by walking through the process of building a keyword list.
Build Your Foundation
This is where it all begins. Keywords are the phrases that trigger your ads to be displayed when a Google search user enters into the query process.
An effective keyword list is a vital component to campaign performance. Begin by creating a list of words and phrases that relate to your brand, products and/or services. While a great place to start is by brainstorming on your own, there are tools to help.
Google Keyword Tool
Google provides a great resource that will essentially build a base of keywords for you. Isn’t that handy?! You have the ability to search on category keywords, Web sites and/or categories. Based on your search query, Google returns hundreds of potentially related keywords. Here are a couple of suggested uses:
- Search for keywords using competitor’s website domains. This strategy will discover terms that people are searching on that point them to competitor sites.
- Search for terms related to your brand name or your core product offerings. Be sure to use negative keywords to refine your search
- The results from the Keyword Tool not only offer a list of generally related keywords, but also a new Beta tool, called “Ad Group Ideas.” This is an extremely helpful tool when you’re looking to find more specific keywords to build tightly knit Ad Groups, which we’ll discuss at a later time.
Another excellent way to discover keywords is to simply perform a search query for words and phrases related to your company. There are a few ways to use this:
- Perform a search and note the predictions that Google makes for your search. These are terms that Google has stored as previous searches. This is valuable information that should not be ignored.
- Perform a search and see which sites come up in the organic and paid search results. Visit those pages and browse the site for keywords you can use. You can search for words displayed on the page, and you can also search for meta-tags, which are simply the keywords within a page that specify page description and are used by browsers and search engines. To find the meta-tags follow these steps.
Not All Keywords are Good
Consider the perfect keywords and phrases that will provide your Web site with the most effective resulting traffic. The goal of running an AdWords campaign isn’t just to drive traffic to your site for the sake of getting more eyes on your Web page. The intention is to drive users to your site who are going to take a desired action.
Target users who are looking to buy or sign up for what you’re offering. Let’s use the example of a coffee merchant. There are thousands of coffee suppliers. Consider what makes you different.
- Location – do you have a brick and mortar location? Where do you ship to? What are best performing areas?
- Specialties – Is your coffee organic? Is it fair trade? Where are the beans grown?
- Special events – Do you host cuppings? Are you providing discounts or have sales coming up?
These questions will help you build long-tail keywords that improve the performance of your campaign.
Your first instinct might be to simply build a list of general words and phrases related to coffee, but resist the urge. Instead, use the questions posed above to build a more effective list of phrases that have less competition and are more relevant to what you’re offering.
Building a good keyword list can be a time-consuming exercise, but it’s worth it. Try to think like a customer. Test search queries to see which competitors are displaying for which keywords and how you can refine your terms to get in a competitive position. You won’t know how your keywords perform until you actually put them in market and begin to optimize them. Don’t worry about that now. For the time being, just focus on building your killer keyword list.
About Andrea Steffes-Tuttle
Andrea Steffes-Tuttle (@andrea_tuttle) is a Marketing Analyst at SpotRight, a customer intelligence platform out of Boulder, CO. SpotRight provides marketers with social data and actionable insights on their customers to maximize the return on their marketing efforts. Andrea also maintains a consultancy firm, serving as a Marketing Technologist, assisting clients with their community management and online advertising initiatives.