How to Fit General Keywords into a Profitable Campaign


As mile 4 in our ‘Walk a Mile in a Searchers Shoes’ series we’ll focus on how to fit general keywords into a profitable campaign. General keywords can at times get a bad rap in the PPC world. They don’t convert as well as specific or long tail keywords, and they typically cost more since they drive large amounts of possibly untargeted traffic. However, it’s important to have general keywords in your PPC account, and in this post I will discuss the best ways to fit them into a profitable campaign.

Definition: General keywords are typically defined as one or two phrase keywords. Example: keyboards or wireless keyboards. Long Tail keywords, which are the opposite of general keywords, are keyword phrases containing 3 or more words. Example: sony wireless keyboard or H239 sony wireless keyboard.

For clients with a smaller budget, eliminating general keywords is a good idea. You’re likely to eliminate unqualified traffic and decrease your spending. But for most companies having general keywords in your PPC account is necessary.

Why it’s important to have general keywords: The core benefit of general keywords is for branding purposes, more so than generating actual conversions or traffic. By having general keywords in your account, people who are looking for products/services but aren’t ready to buy yet, will see your ad and click-through to your site to compare pricing or available services. Your company name is just as important in the beginning research phase as it is in the buying phase to a customer.

If you do not create brand awareness early on, how will a customer know to buy from you when they’re ready to make a purchase?

Grouping of General Keywords: The best way to fit general keywords into a profitable campaign is to assign them to their own ad groups. All keywords should typically be grouped according to their themes and phase in the buying cycle. General keywords should go in one ad group and long-tail keywords in another. This allows you to focus your ad text and bidding strategy more specifically to the buying cycle for your customers.

Bidding Strategy: Since general keywords generate a lot of traffic you’ll want to bid less on these terms. You may show up in lower ad positions but at least you will still be in front of your customer. The point is to be there as an option for the customer.

Ad Text Strategy: For general keywords it’s best to be informative to your potential customer. You could include copy such as, “Compare Pricing”, “Get More Information Here” or “View Available Services” to reach out to people who are in their research phase. These phrases are also very action-oriented and may help improve your click-through rate. To learn more about action oriented ad text click here.

Now the customer has researched your site, among others I’m sure, and has put you on their possibility to buy from list. You’re in the customer’s mind and hopefully they’ll come back to you to purchase. To learn more on the research and the buying cycle of customers and paid search, click here.