Digital Marketing, PPC

Keyword Research for PPC: How it works

Keyword Research

Keywords can be defined as the specific words or phrases people enter into the search box of a search engine like Google, Bing, etc. The search engines, then, use these keywords to search for relevant content online and list the results on a SERP. The results are listed based on their relevance to the keywords. The more relevant a result is the higher will be its position on the SERP.

Getting your website to show up every time a keyword is entered into a search engine isn’t easy. You have to earn the right for your website to appear on the SERP in response to a relevant keyword. To earn that right, businesses and advertisers are required to place bids in the keyword auctions run by Google.

The amount charged by Google against each click depends on the respective bids or quality score of these advertisers. A bid can be defined as the amount any business or advertiser is ready to pay for each click on a keyword.

Keyword auctions, despite being one of the most fundamental processes of online advertising, are relatively unknown to the masses. Moreover, this process is not as simple as it seems. Bidding for the clicks on a certain keyword is not enough.

The keyword you choose must be relevant to your ads and the nature of your business. You must have a clear understanding of the specific words or phrases people may use to search for your business as well.

Otherwise, even if you spend thousands of dollars on a keyword, you won’t be able to get any returns. Paying for a keyword your target audience won’t use in their search queries is bound to have some serious consequences. Hence, while bidding on the right keyword could boost your conversion rates, bidding on the wrong one would cost you dearly.

To ensure the success of your PPC (pay-per-click) advertising campaign, you need to acquire the right keywords. The more effective your keywords are, the more successful your PPC campaign will be.

Keyword research plays a major role in helping you discover, arrange, and refine highly efficient and effective keywords. This, in turn, keeps you stay ahead of your competitors.

Some of the key determiners of successful keyword research are given as under:

  • Efficient categorization of the keywords acquired;
  • Getting a clear understanding of negative terms and expressions;
  • Adopting the best brainstorming strategies;
  • Setting the right targets; and
  • Getting the most out of the keyword research tools available online.

Keyword Analysis strives to achieve the following goals:

  • Generate a detailed list of keywords;
  • Understanding your target audience and customers on a deeper level; and
  • Get a firm grasp of the effect of negative keywords on an online advertising campaign.

Keyword Brainstorming

You should take a simpler approach when brainstorming for keywords. Make use of the following categories when generating a list:

Brand terms
Keywords directly connected to a specific brand are called brand terms. For instance, brand keywords, in the case of keyword research done for the promotion of an elementary learning website, would include “ABCmouse science games,” “Starfall learning,” or “PBS kids math,” etc.

Generic term
Unlike brand terms, generic terms, although unrelated to any particular brand, are directly connected to the pay-per-click advertising campaign. You can efficiently discover the correct generic terms by considering the most basic words relevant to your business. For instance, generic terms for an elementary learning website would include “K-12 online education”, “e-learning,” or “elementary math games,” etc.

Related terms
Related terms have a closer connection with the generic terms but are slightly more specific than the latter. Even so, they are not as straightforward as brand terms. Thinking about a broader subject and selecting relevant, more particular issues could go a long way in developing related terms. “Online math activities” or “science games” can be excellent examples of related terms for an elementary learning website.

Competitor terms
Unlike the three terms above, competitor terms have no direct relation to your brand or business. They are, however, directly connected to your competitors’ campaigns.
It never hurts to watch your competitors and observe how they run their PPC campaigns. Moreover, your competitors target the exact audience you do. Therefore, you should keep your eyes open and analyze how your competitors use their keywords and manage their campaigns.

Regarding keyword research promoting ABCmouse, competitor keywords would be directly connected to competing businesses. Examples of competing companies, in this case, would include,,, etc.

Numerous brainstorming strategies can be adopted for the promotion of highly effective keywords. While conducting keyword research, the simplest way to come up with the right keywords is by putting yourself in your customers’ shoes. The majority of the masses generally use Google search daily. Hence, try to look at things from your customers’ points of view when brainstorming for keywords.

Starting from a broader set of ideas may prove to be the simplest way to create a list of keywords. You could easily work your way down to specific keyword terms and phrases. Consequently, you will be able to create a huge range of keywords covering every single aspect of your campaign. In addition to being highly efficient and effective, this approach covers all bases. Moreover, this mode of thinking encourages productive brainstorming as well.

A thesaurus plays an essential role in keyword research and serves as a highly efficient tool. Synonyms can be very useful when generating related terms. This approach is not only simple but also very effective. For instance, in the case of the word “shirt”, you could also use related terms like “t-shirt”, “blouse”, and “cardigan”.

You could combine different keywords to make new keywords. You could even match them with one another to create an even wider range of keywords. Doing so will help you generate numerous unique and relevant keyword phrases for your PPC campaign.

Keyword Research

Furthermore, to err is man, i.e., no one is perfect and people are prone to making mistakes. Hence, do not forget to add a few misspelled versions of the keywords on your list. This will help your target audience find you even if they misspell certain words when searching for your business.

In truth, typing errors or spelling mistakes are quite common with most people. Not many of your target customers would be able to enter grammatically accurate search queries with zero spelling errors. Thus, the misspelled keywords included in your list would help you connect with your audience despite the spelling mistakes.

Moreover, search engines are getting better at comprehending longer strings of words or phrases. Therefore, try not to limit your keywords to just one or two words. The ever-increasing rate of advancement in technology renders it pointless to restrict your keywords to two-word phrases.

Negative Keywords

Negative keywords refer to words or phrases capable of leaving a negative impact on a PPC campaign. These words or phrases could either be completely unrelated, off-topic, or highly offensive in nature.

Using negative keywords will provide you with unqualified traffic that can leave a devastating effect on your website. This is because the traffic brought in by negative keywords is not the traffic you are targeting.

Hence, despite the increasing number of people visiting your website, your sales won’t experience any positive impact. On the contrary, your conversion rates will go down to a considerable extent.

You can avoid this outcome through proper and effective keyword research and analysis. In-depth keyword research and analysis will generate words capable of bringing qualified traffic and leads directly to your website. Not only will your click rates improve but your sales will also increase to a significant level.

Because negative keywords are usually quite similar to related terms, normal users may fail to recognize them. People might even confuse them with something else. Therefore, you need to optimize your campaign’s relevance by creating a list of negative keywords. This way, every time a search query contains a negative keyword, your ads will be not be included in the search results.

Negative Keywords

Keyword Research Tools Available Online

Of all the keyword research tools available online, Google’s Keyword Planner is the most trusted one. It is also quite popular and is known for its efficiency and effectiveness. The keyword researchers can use it to not only discover a wide range of keywords but also compare them. Furthermore, it helps them keep track of the latest trends prevalent across the web.

Keyword Research tools like the Keyword Planner make it easier to do keyword research and analysis. You can use these tools to discover keywords with the lowest competition and highest search volume. Such keywords are regarded as the ideal choice for a PPC advertising campaign.

To discover such words, you should look for the most frequently searched words that haven’t been used by your competitors. By using such keywords in your campaign, you can reach out to your audience before your competitors do.

Keyword Research Tools Other Than Keyword Planner

Some other highly efficient and effective keyword research tools apart from Google Keyword Planner are given below:

  • WordStream: WordStream is an excellent brainstorming tool designed to suggest related keywords. It also provides you with the competition scores and an estimated CPC (Cost Per Click) for each keyword.
  • Soolve: Soolve provides you with hundreds, if not thousands, of related terms for your campaign. It searches for these terms using almost all of the search engines available. These related terms are collected from a huge variety of audience search queries relevant to your specific keyword. Moreover, it improves the speed of the brainstorming process to a considerable extent.
  • Ubersuggest. Ubersuggest is not just a simple keyword research tool. It’s a multi-functional tool and offers a huge variety of functions. Ubersuggest allows you to search for keywords using various categories, such as YouTube, shopping, web, image, and news, etc. It also conducts a detailed analysis of the keywords you search for. The analysis offers access to some of the most critical details of each keyword. These details include the volume, CPC (cost-per-click), competition, seasonality, and the total number of search results per keyword.

Final Stages of Keyword Research

Once you’ve generated a list through brainstorming, you should use a reliable keyword research tool to edit it. That being done, the next step is to organize your keywords based on their nature and categorize them accordingly. Divide your list into four major categories, i.e., brand terms, related terms, generic terms, and competitor terms.

Once done with categorization, rank your keywords based on their volume, competition, and relevance. This will help you assess the power and potential of each keyword. At this point, you already have the keywords you could invest in.

Now it’s time for you to consider the CPCs (cost per click) of each keyword. After considering the costs, think about your budget and allocate it to your keyword bids accordingly.

However, before deciding to invest in the keywords, go through the list one last time. Try to spot any negative keywords you may have missed before. Look for any words that could either be used as a negative keyword or confused as one. Try to look at it from a customer’s perspective.

Keyword Research

The last stages of keyword research require you to pay more attention to the target audience’s intent. There are numerous ways to look for content on the internet these days.

Search queries consist of three major categories, i.e., navigational, transactional, and, informational. Navigational searches help the user navigate to a particular website or blog. Informational searches are meant for gathering information while the purpose of transactional searches is to make a transaction.

Hence, your keywords should, based on your campaign, either promote informational searches to get subscriptions or transactional searches with the object of purchase.

Nowadays, most of the customers use IPAs (Intelligent Personal Assistants). Intelligent Personal Assistants (IPA) search the web on behalf of the users. When it comes to running an online search on Google, an IPA is quite different from a natural person.

Unlike humans who are prone to making mistakes, the search queries run by an IPA are grammatically accurate. In addition, these queries are accurately spelled as well. The height of grammatical accuracy and lack of spelling errors reduce any chances of getting unrelated search results.

Bidding for PPC (pay-per-click) ads is not only a sophisticated process but also serves as an essential element of online advertising. Detailed keyword research and selection of highly functional keywords ensures a successful internet marketing campaign.

Additionally, keyword research also plays a major role in the creation of successful PPC (pay-per-click) advertising campaigns. Competition is a lot more intense in the virtual world than it is in the real world. Optimal use of the relevant tools available online could help you face the challenges of the virtual world. Furthermore, getting a clear idea about the prevailing trends and your audience’s preferences will keep you ahead of the competition.

If you have any questions or want to know more about campaign management, PPC keyword research, or the monthly PPC services we offer, do not hesitate to contact us

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