The Essentials of PPC Keyword Research

The Essentials of PPC Keyword Search Tools

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Identifying keywords for Pay Per Click (PPC) ad campaigns is a dynamic and never-ending process that demands continuous improvement. The key to conversion is within your keywords and how effectively you use them. Data-driven keyword research is a must to remove any guesswork from the process. The idea is that outcomes of a PPC campaign should not be a surprise once you have agreed to invest in it.

But how do you start and from where? Do you have the right approach when searching for the best business keywords to suit your campaign? Here are a few ideas to start with before you jump into your PPC campaign.

The manual exercise of generating keyword ideas can limit your options and opportunities. Keywords, if not evaluated against monthly search volume, location popularity, CPC rate, competitive pricing and ad position, may ruin the entire marketing effort.  It is important that you make informed decisions while choosing and applying keywords for your business campaign.

Know Your Keyword Search Tools and Their Usage First

Using keyword research tools like Google AdWords Keyword Planner, SEMrush Keyword Analytics, WordStream Keyword Tool, Moz, Wordtracker, or SEO Book can be of great help.

Another interesting bit of news for the PPC marketer is that SEMrush has come up with its very own PPC Keyword tool which is in beta stage. With this tool, not only can you create new PPC keywords in various combinations but also collect competitors’ keyword ideas for implementation. SEMrush has developed its own database for searching new keywords. It also allows you to discover intersecting keywords in different groups and add them as negatives in order to avoid ad groups’ competing.

However, which tool to go for and what to try out for occasional use depend on individual choice. There is no guarantee that using these tools will bring you higher conversions, but they can definitely help you in picking the right keywords that influence your PPC campaigns.

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Using Keyword research tools can automate data capturing, data storing and sorting processes, and provide important statistics that marketers need for quick decision making. The steps to using keyword tools are simple.

  • Learn the must-have features you should find in a keyword research tool.
  • Evaluate the keyword tool based on its ease of use and level of automation.
  • Establish the targeted campaign settings — location, device, placements, schedule, targeted ad message and landing pages — before running the keywords.
  • Keep on evaluating Clicks, CTR, Conversions, Cost per Conversion for each keyword and improve upon their number and variety for better outcomes.

In this article, we will focus on the key capabilities of a PPC keyword research tool and how you can use one to your advantage. Following the checklist will insure you choose tools that will have a positive impact on your overall campaign objectives.

Tool Should Provide Well-Tried and Tested Keywords

A good tool can help you perform PPC keyword research for both Google AdWords and Bing Ads campaigns. If you have a list of all relevant keywords that your competitors and industry leaders are already competing and ranking for, it becomes easier to set short-term and long-term PPC targets.  The tool must have the historical database to provide you with performing keywords in your targeted domain.

Tool Should Provide All Useful Information About Selected Keywords

Extended information such as average monthly search volume by location, search trend charts, Keyword Difficulty (KD) score, CPC, Competitive Density and number of results in SERPs provide you better insights about a keyword. Evaluating a keyword based on all these essential metrics helps you optimize the list of prospective keywords and build on it.

Keyword Search Tools Essentials - The Tool Should Provide all Useful Information About Selected Keywords

Tool Should Show Popularity and Usage Details of Each Keyword by Others

Isn’t it a great idea if you discover keywords and the names of the leading advertisers/competitors who use those keywords for their campaigns? Once you learn their popular landing pages and the ad copy messages in them, it becomes easier for you to create AdGroups having a compelling message and high CTA. Make sure your keyword tool has the provision for it.

Tool Must Generate Phrase Matches and Related Keywords

Do broad/phrase match keywords work for your campaign or do you feel using exact match keywords for targeted PPC brings better results? What yields the maximum return at a reasonable cost? Making such decisions often depends on how large a keyword pool you have to draw from. If your PPC keyword tool allows you to create a maximum number of phrase variations to test and choose from, you are in a better position to make meaningful decisions.

Keyword Search Tools Essentials - Tool Must Have the Ability to Generate Phrase Matches and Related Keywords

Tool Should Generate Keyword Ideas Using Custom Inputs and Variables

Not every tool has this feature built-in. Keyword research tools like SEMrush Keyword Analytics provide an advanced filter option to create a varied set of phrase match keywords. You can add varied input texts and find multiple keywords in different combinations of search metrics.

Tool Must Group Keywords into Niches

Isn’t it a great relief that you could arrange keywords in separate niche groups, analyze them as per requirements and discover new niches to take over without using any excel based repository? A keyword research tool that helps you segregate keywords in batches and provides you with relevant AdGroup ideas can be really useful and time-saving.

Tool Must Show Keyword Difficulty

One of the major mistakes marketers often make is that they select high CPC keywords with high first-page bid estimate. These keywords are the most difficult to rank for and to maintain for the top positions. This results in frustration as you continue to increase bid amount, but with no luck for clicks or even impressions. By using a keyword difficulty tool, you will be able to locate keywords having moderate to less competition and affordable CPC rate that your ad campaign suits. Keyword difficulty data for organic search rankings also gives an idea of the keywords you can target for PPC keyword ranking.

Tool Must Create Longtail Keywords

Longtail keywords are the lifeblood of your PPC keyword generation strategy. The more you rely on branded, highly competitive keywords with high search volume, the more you ignore a large chunk of other keyword opportunities. Thousands of users use small-volume search queries on the web and ranking for them can bring you a higher number of clicks in total.  Your keyword tool should enable you to find as well as create longtail keywords with low competition. Increasing your longtail keyword database helps you armor against sudden inflation of keyword CPC rate.  By using such keywords, you can keep your monthly investment in control yet bang on clicks and conversions.

Tool Must Suggest Regional and Multinational Keywords

Does your tool allow you to develop keyword pool based on local, regional, national as well as multinational business strategies and traffic data? Whether you target regional customers or adopt global marketing strategies, the tool should be able to provide you appropriate keywords for each region.

Tool Must Generate Keywords in Multiple Languages

If you are managing multilingual websites, you have to select language specific keywords for PPC campaigns. Your keyword research tool should support whatever language your customers speak.

Tool Should Allow Export of Research Reports in Various Formats

Whatever research findings you generate using your keyword tool, they should be easily accessible and shareable among peers or clients for further data analysis. Make sure your keyword tool provides you with all basic reporting features and graphical dashboard views for campaign audits. The Keyword tool should bring together the functionalities of multiple tools, such as online key editors and Excel files.

Tool Should Apply Dynamic Searches

A modern keyword research tool helps to locate intersecting keywords in different AdGroups and add them as negatives in order to avoid AdGroups competing with each other. These are some of the day-to-day functions that can be automated and augmented by a keyword tool.

Once you have all the different keyword-driven data put together in a presentable format, you are in a better position to drive a PPC campaign in the right direction. Following this infographic below can help you revitalize your PPC campaign plan and keyword initiatives. Happy researching PPC keywords!

Keyword Search Tools Essentials - 10 Tips for PPC Optimization Infographic

PPC Photo via Shutterstock

William Johnson William Johnson belongs to the most creative field of digital media - web design. He is currently an Editor at Big Eye Deers and he is obsessed with the latest trends in ecommerce, SEO and social media analytics. He has been a regular contributor to leading online portals such as SEMrush, Small Business Trends and SocialMediaToday.

4 Reactions
  1. Thanks for pointing out the SEMrush keyword tool beta. I’ll have to go check it out.

  2. This is a great list of features a keyword research tool should have. Any thoughts on the recent Google Keyword Planner changes? Specifically around them removing so much search volume data?

    Interested to hear your thoughts on that. -Thanks!

  3. Thanks a lot. This is a great list of keyword research tools. I found Google Keyword Planner the best to find niche keywords and KWFinder for getting some good LSI keywords for long tail keywords searches.

  4. Thanks for the great article! I have taken some notes and will put to the test in future campaigns 🙂