This article is the second in a five part series. For the full series, click here.
It’s one of the first questions that people ask when setting up an account with AdWords, one of the world’s most popular SEM tools.
What keywords are most appropriate for my business? While there are a number of online tools available, sometimes the best place to start is by using good ol’ common sense.
In this second installment, we reveal five tips for selecting your keywords.
If you’ve been with us for parts one and two of this Google AdWords series, you’ll be all over SEM like a cheap suit.
Now it’s the turn of campaign structure and what you can expect to find in your AdWords account.
Choosing the right keywords for your business is essential, as is understanding the tools that AdWords provides to accomplish this supremely important task.
Let’s start with why keywords are essential to the success of your online advertising campaign.
When you do a Google search, you start with typing in a phrase or a word. This phrase then triggers the search engine to give results that correspond to your search term.
Still with us? An example will make it easier: You’re searching the market for a new DSLR camera and want to know if any retailers offer a discount. You search for “discount DSLR cameras”. This term gives you millions of results but which one should you click? If statistics are to be believed, most internet users scan through the first five results only.
But what do you do if your website doesn’t figure in the top five list? You start advertising with [we think you can see where this is going…] AdWords!
Now, let’s fast forward to where you have an active AdWords account, complete with keywords and ad texts. You think it looks great, but here’s something to masticate over. Let’s assume you’re selling DSLR cameras and there’s a person who’s searching for discount DSLR cameras, which isn’t a keyword in your account. This means your ad doesn’t appear for “discount DSLR cameras” searches and you end up losing a significant amount of traffic, not to mention potential customers.
In this article, we will focus on three crucial keyword finding steps:
1. Your idea of awesome keywords is about to go kaput.
As a business owner or entrepreneur, you know your market, you know your target audience, and you know your product really, really well.
We hate to burst your bubble, but that knowledge may not do the trick when it comes to keywords for your AdWords campaign.
When compiling your list of keywords, there’s important stuff most business owners tend to overlook. Metrics like search volume and advertiser competition and other equally sexy stuff. There’s no way you can determine these by creating a list of keywords on paper.
Taking the DSLR example again, you may think that a single word keyword like “cameras” is a good option. You’re selling cameras, right? Wrong, foolish mortal. It will only lead to irrelevant clicks and a negative ROI. That’s precisely what we’re trying to avoid here. Time for some keyword ground rules:
- Keep it short and simple. According to OneStat.com, the majority of searches are between one and five words long. While one word keywords may be too generic, an ideal keyword length would be around two to four words.
- Be specific. As discussed earlier, the keyword “cameras” is too generic, resulting in poor ROI. Keywords like “Canon DSLR camera”, “discount DSLR cameras”, “Nikon DSLR cameras” are a good option here. However, don’t go too far in the opposite direction, including keywords that no one searches for, such as product SKU’s or serial numbers.
- Reduce irrelevant clicks. When you’re advertising cameras, you want clicks and possible purchases from customers who love the products you’re offering. This means you need to reduce unwanted clicks from comparison shoppers, people searching for reviews, or for brands you don’t offer. AdWords offers a great way of doing this with their negative keyword list option. Simply build up a list of keywords that you do not want your ad to appear on and watch how irrelevant traffic gets eliminated, quickly and efficiently, giving you a high performing campaign.
2. How do you find the right keywords?
AdWords provides two very powerful tools that can help you find suitable keywords. The first is the Keyword Tool and the second is the Traffic Estimator. Both can be found under the Tools and Analysis tab of your AdWords interface.
You can use the Keyword Tool two ways: either by listing potential keywords that you think would be beneficial for your business or by plugging in your website URL. Either way, the tool will give you a list of keywords that you should ideally use.
These can be arranged according to several parameters, such as the global monthly search volume, local monthly search volume, advertiser competition, approximate cost per click, and so on. The most important of these are the local search volume and advertiser competition.
Higher advertiser competition suggests that there are a lot of people competing on this keyword. It’s advisable to choose keywords with medium-to-low competition as they cost less and have a better chance of converting.
However, some markets, especially mortgage and real estate, are quite saturated in the online advertising industry. If this is your niche, be prepared to shell out more advertising dollars. Let’s not forget that the returns would be pretty amazing too.
The Traffic Estimator tool helps you calculate the estimated clicks and the average ad position your keywords can get based on the maximum amount you’re willing to pay for each keyword.
This tool is particularly useful in calculating data to help plan your budget, however, be prepared to spend time tweaking keywords and taking measures to improve campaign performance.
Feel free to play around with these tools to see how they can better address your advertising needs. For those who love numbers, AdWords also offers a host of download options for the keyword list it generates, allowing you to filter data easily.
3. What do you do with keywords that are costing you money but not getting you customers?
This is an important question that needs to be addressed. When you start advertising a new product, you’ll often notice that there are keywords getting you a lot of clicks but not converting into sales. This happens for several reasons:
- General one word keywords without the right negative keywords.
- Low ad position
- Poor website design or irrelevant landing pages
- Faulty user interface
- Insecure or non-user friendly shopping platform
To understand what you’re doing wrong, review the various reports in AdWords or on your web analytics program. This will help you determine what search queries your ads are actually appearing against and where users are leaving your website so you can fix the leak. For example: bad landing page design will be reflected in your AdWords account through the Quality Score column.
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