Testing New Keywords Without The Anxiety

By , Senior Account Manager at Hanapin Marketing


For this Month’s Series, we’re going to be talking about new and exciting things that you can test within the wonderful world of PPC.  Take your accounts to the next level with some of these new techniques or tools.

New keywords are like the life blood of any established PPC account.


Was that analogy too weird? Eh, either way, you see what I’m saying. Your account is like an old, wrinkly hot mess vampire and you need to keep feeding it new keywords to keep it all Tom Cruise fresh.

Here’s the rub, though: new keywords are scaaary. Will they bring you conversions? Will they spend a lot of money, really quickly? Will the CTR be crap and bring your quality scores down? AAAAAHHH! There are some ways to predict the future for these keywords. You’ve got the traffic estimator tool and the like. But there’s no way to know for sure what will happen. So, I’d like to present two ways you could test new keywords to help you deal with the anxiety behind it.

Create A Campaign For New Keywords

I had an eCommerce client that I had some major new keyword anxiety for. So, I decided to make a new campaign that I could use to test new keywords in. I split ad groups based on product and modifier. So, let’s say the site sold pencils. I had an ad group for generic pencil keywords, specific color pencil keywords, adjective+pencil, etc. I’d just create a new ad groups when I found new keywords that didn’t fit in the existing ones, and I used the same ad template that called out the product and touted our best features/benefits. This was pretty easy to do with the template I made in Excel. But the main point is to keep it as simple as possible without being so simple your keywords won’t make sense with your ads.

This let me keep a super close eye on my new keywords and give them their own little budgets so I’d not have to worry about them stealing money from nicely performing keywords in their campaigns. When I had enough data, I would know that either the keyword was a turd and I could scrap it or the keyword did well and I can add it in to its forever home (whatever existing ad group or a new one within an established campaign). If the keyword seems to do all right, but not well enough, try relocating it to its forever home and see if the increased ad relevancy helps!

Here’s what this method covers:

  • Easy to keep track of
  • No worries about new keywords stealing budget from other, established keywords
  • Can be time consuming to build out new campaigns and ad groups
  • Small risk that CTR won’t be as great if ad relevancy isn’t as great

(I’d like to point out that the last two bullets depend on each other. The less time spent building out ad groups and writing ads, the more risk of the last bullet point. The more time spent building out ad groups and writing ads, the less risk.)

Use AdWords Labels & Automated Rules

Using AdWords labels for all of your new keywords will help you keep track of them with just a couple clicks. Filter by label, and badda-bing, you can see all the keywords you’ve labeled as “new”.  This allows you to place all your new keywords exactly where they should go in your account, with optimal ad relevancy. No CTR issue risks!

But, what about budgets!? Well, this is where automated rules come in. Set yourself that label filter for your new keywords. Select all of them. Then, click “automate”.

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Then, you can pause the new keywords once they’ve spent whatever amount of money each day that you’re cool with each keyword spending.

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The problem here is the time set-up. You can’t tell it to do it just whenever it’s spent whatever amount that day. You have to set a time for the rule to run. So it would be best to set a rule to run each hour past noon or something like that. Which is kind of a pain in the bum to set up.

Then, like the other method, you wait for your data to get nice and relevant, and then make your decisions!

Here’s what this method covers:

  • Easy to keep track of
  • No worries about new keywords spending over what you allow them to each day
  • Optimum ad relevancy
  • Total pain in the bum to set up automated rules to run each hour.

What method do you guys like to use for testing new keywords?

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10 thoughts on “Testing New Keywords Without The Anxiety

  1. Marco

    thanks for the tip amanda, I always find myself getting new keywords then chicken out before clicking the post changes button. Will definitely apply this method.

  2. searchengineman

    That’s very clever. I ran into this problem too..you think Google could create an option for checking criteria Hourly! instead of building out “x” Rule x 24 times – I wish Labels were in the ADWORDS editor – would make life so much easier. It takes way to long using the Adwords UI.

  3. hyderali

    Hi Amanda,

    I think the link you provided “template I made in Excel” is broken.

    Would love to see some post on “How to manage ecommerce project in adwords?”


  4. Scott McIlvaine

    I was always curios why adWords did not see keywords as duplicates when adding a capital letter, so I experimenting with using capital letters in my keywords,(i.e blue bike to Blue Bike). The keywords with capital letters instantly were 9-10 quality scores form a 6-7 without. HOWEVER…it was short lived and after receiving traffic the scores have dropped..BUT they still maintained a slightly higher quality for a longer period of time.. So for a quick boost o lower CPC by increasing scores it worked, but in the long run there was not much of a deference in scores. Best of Luck – Scott McIlvaine – SEM Specialist


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