November 4, 2012
Oh the sweet old days. We all remember, or most of us have been told about, the tales of greatness from using very specific keywords and how it allowed for extraordinary profits.
But where did these days go and what happened? It’s certainly not like that anymore. There are no magic low CPC keywords that all of a sudden start producing huge profits.
What is a Narrow Keyword Theme?
One of the key mistakes I used to see when training new AdWords professionals in White Shark Media was the act of siloing keywords.
Rookie AdWords managers would see keywords like:
- plumbing repair services
- plumbing repair company
- licensed plumbing repair
- plumbing repair emergency services
They’d think they had done a great job because they had found a lot of ways of saying plumbing repair.
The danger with only using keywords like this however, is that you’re limiting yourself extensively. You are entirely dependent on the effectiveness of the keyword plumbing repair to garner enough searches to suit your financial goals.
Low Diversity in Keywords Results in High Click Prices
When you’re relying on a single keyword theme, such as plumbing repair, you will be limited to the amount of searches there are for the single keyword plumbing repair and its variations.
If the keyword plumbing repair has 3,000 monthly searches, you can then be sure that the keyword plumbing repair services has less. When keywords all revolve around another single main keyword, you will only attract the few searches that the single main keyword is providing.
When your keywords have low search volume, you can be forced to bid high in order to get the traffic that you need to succeed.
The ad position of a keyword is directly related to how big of a CTR it has. If you’re #1, you will have a 5 to 20 times as high CTR as in the 7th position.
The higher the position you have, the more you will have to pay. This is the basic governing math one finds in AdWords that you can always count on.
The Magic of Going Wide Instead of Narrow
The direct opposite of narrow is wide. The true magic in AdWords happens when you start thinking about width when you’re best researching for your AdWords campaigns.
One of the characteristics of a wide keyword is that it doesn’t share any of the words that your other keywords contain.
Google’s broad match feature will effectively make sure that you’re shown on smaller variations of plumbing repair services, so initially it’s not necessary to spend too much time researching that one silo.
Instead, think outside the box…
Example of a Great, Wide Keyword List for a Plumber:
- plumbing repair
- fix sink
- leaking pipes
- emergency leaks
- emergency plumber
- septic tank installation
To be honest, I’ve only developed 2-3 plumbing campaigns in my entire AdWords experience and I have no natural inclination toward the field. But just look at the variety of keywords I found by just thinking a little bit outside the box.
I’m confident that a plumber could find far-more-reaching variations than in my small example above.
Not All Wide Keywords Will Succeed
It’s important for you to realize that not all your “outside the box” thinking will work. Some of the keywords I’ve listed above might also be a bad choice.
The keyword fix sink, might be over-used by do-it-yourselfers and will be unlikely to attract profitable business. With the right ad, it might work though!
An ad that mentions the dangers of fixing sinks yourself and a landing page building upon the horrific stories about men fixing their own sinks (just to discover mold in the foundation 3 months later), might perform amazing!
A Great Way to Keep Yourself in Check when Researching Keywords
A good exercise is to split your keyword research up in two lists:
- A wide keyword list
- A narrow keyword list (with adjectives, geo-modifiers, price-modifiers, etc.)
The danger is that once you have 200 keywords that all revolve around one main keyword, you will be satisfied. You won’t know the true width of your keyword list unless you segment your keywords into both narrow and wide.
More Resources on the Subject
I recently discovered that I’m not the only PPC professional at all that has changed his keyword research focus from narrow lists to wide lists.
My fellow AdWords enthusiast, David Rodnitzky, has written about what he calls the Wide Tail in this fantastic, short eBook on the subject.
I recommend that you download it for a more in-depth analysis of why wide keyword lists will be more successful for you in the long run.