Expand Your Keyword List Smartly and Efficiently

Keyword research is an ongoing tactic that continuously helps increase the performance of your PPC account. When inheriting a new Google AdWords, Yahoo!, or MSN account, it’s important to do a thorough scan of all the keywords in the account and begin researching what new keywords you could potentially add. There are various methods of doing additional keyword research once you have the basics.

Review your client’s website and/or landing page for new keywords:
Companies add content to their websites often, so it is necessary to keep up on new content and review it to see if additional keywords can be added.

Use the free keyword research tools:
Several companies and search engines provide free keyword research tools . We have mentioned six of our favorite free keyword research tools in a previous blog post. Below are the six most helpful free keyword research tools:

  • Word Tracker
    With Word Tracker you can type in one keyword and get up to 100 top keyword variations
    and an estimate of how many searches each one receives. They also have an “adult filter”
    you can use to eliminate any adult-orientated search terms that might be related to your
  • Google AdWords Keyword Tool
    The Google AdWords keyword tool is great. You can type in as many keywords as you like to
    start with, and Google will give you hundreds of keywords to choose from, including
    different variations and misspellings. Google also gives you much more
    information than just keyword variations. They can show you advertiser competition, search
    volume per month, average search volume total, average CPC , ad position, and much more.
  • SEO Book Keyword Suggestion Tool
    The SEO Book Keyword Research Tool is very cool for many reasons. Mainly, it shows the estimated number of daily searches at Google, Yahoo!, and MSN. They’ve also recently added an export to .csv feature, so you can now export the entire list of keywords into a spreadsheet to share with others or for future reference.
  • Keyword Discovery
    The free Keyword Discovery tool is great for giving many different variations of keywords and their estimated number of searches performed. The great thing about Keyword Discovery is that they collect data from all major search engines. However, on some keywords they seem to estimate a very low number of searches.
  • SpyFu
    SpyFu is pretty cool in that it gives you more than just variations of keywords searched. SpyFu gives you such information as an average cost-per-click, cost per day, clicks per day, the number of advertisers also bidding on a particular keyword, and the number of search results listed. In addition, they will list top related terms, related concepts, and keywords that competitors have bought. Moreover, they will also list the top 5 (although you can view more) advertisers who are advertising for this keyword, their domain, and their ad text, both in paid search and organic. Now that’s a lot of info!
  • Microsoft Advertising Intelligence
    This tool doesn’t necessarily give you variations of a keyword you type in, but it does give you traffic forecasting information as well as demographic information. For example, for the keyword “catheter,” I found that that majority of people tying in this keyword were women aged 50 or older. This will help me understand my target audience better as well as allow me to set up correct demographic settings within my accounts. It also gives me an estimate of when searches on this keyword are highest and lowest so I know when to expect more traffic and when to expect a drop in traffic.
  • Check out your competition to find new keywords
    It’s always a good idea to follow up on your competition and check out their websites and landing pages to see if they have any keywords you might be missing. A good recommendation is to go to their landing page: in your Web browser, click View > View Source Code, and look at their meta keywords to see which keywords they’re targeting.

    Add long-tail keywords to help qualify your traffic
    Long-tail keywords help drive qualified traffic to your site. Be sure to include a plethora of long-tail keywords along with your general keywords to hit people at the end of their buying cycle.

    Don’t forget your branded keywords
    A huge mistake people make is to forget to add keywords for their own company name. Even if you’re ranking organically for your own company name, it’s important to have branded keywords in your PPC account. This will increase the likelihood of someone actually clicking on your ad, and it increases brand awareness.

    Think about your target audience
    When you’re trying to come up with keywords, think about your target audience and what they’re thinking and looking for. What would you type in to a search engine to find your site without using your name? That’s how people may be searching for you.

    Dig into Google Analytics or other analytics programs associated with the client
    Google Analytics is full of information on what keywords people are typing in the search to receive your ad. Check out Google Analytics keyword reports to be sure you haven’t missed anything.

    Run a search query report to find real search terms users are typing in
    Just like Google Analytics, you can also run a search query report in Google AdWords to get real search queries people have typed in the search box to receive your ad. But this report will tell you how many times someone saw your ad (impressions), how many times someone clicked on your ad, and if you received any conversions from it.

    Once you have your complete list of keywords, determine which keywords should have broad, phrase, and exact match types. Test all match types on your keywords if it makes sense, and after a period of time pause the match type that is the worst performing.

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