conducting keyword researchBryan Miller

6 minute read

Conducting PPC Keyword Research (The Right Way)

Published 2021-10-25T06:00:00 by Bryan Miller

PPC is among the most important terms that all marketers should understand. It means pay-per-click, which is a type of paid ad that you can use in any marketing campaign. In the event that you implement PPC ads on Google, Facebook, or any number of other websites, you will pay a small amount of money every time a user clicks on your ad. Likely the best aspect of PPC ads is that you only pay when users click on your ads, which means that you won’t automatically spend too much money on ineffective marketing.

This form of marketing also allows you to obtain qualified leads who are more likely to purchase a product or create a membership on your website. To get the most out of PPC ads, it’s highly recommended that you focus on improving the landing pages that users are taken to after they click on one of your ads. If the page is well-designed and visually appealing, users are more likely to remain on your website.

A key component of PPC advertising is keyword research, which is necessary if you want your ads to be displayed to users who make up your target audience. When users enter words or phrases that are specifically related to your company or the industry you operate out of, it’s important that your PPC ads show up in the search results.

Before you start performing keyword research to make sure that your PPC ads are paired with the right keywords, you should understand that Google uses artificial intelligence and natural language processing tools to provide users with the search results they’re looking for even if they don’t type in the exact words that match their intended result.

Google’s search algorithm has been refined over the past decade to make sure that the right keywords lead to the correct search results. If you can tie your PPC ads to relevant keywords, your ads should be displayed to your main audience without issue. As touched upon previously, PPC ads are different from standard paid ads in that you don’t pay a single fee immediately after purchasing an ad. Instead, you’ll only pay when someone clicks on your ad. This article provides you with a comprehensive guide on performing keyword research for your PPC ad campaign.

What Are PPC Keywords Based on Today?

Today, Google doesn’t use PPC keywords like they once did. In fact, Google wasn’t originally supposed to be centered around keywords. In the past, Google would directly match words from a user’s search term to the keywords in a paid ad list. While this technique was somewhat helpful at providing users with the websites they were looking for, it was only effective if the user knew exactly what they were looking for when entering a search term.

Because of the substantial changes that have been made to the Google algorithm over the years, there are three things that are used less today when it comes to PPC keywords. For one, a lower number of keywords trigger ads, which means that keywords with low commercial intent or low search volume won’t perform well.

It’s also important to note that fewer keywords are necessary for coverage, which means that you can’t precisely control keywords. The third thing that you should know about PPC keywords is that they aren’t as large of a signal as they once were. Today, Google uses implicit queries and search intent to determine which ads they would like to serve to users. Even though keyword research is becoming more complex in regards to SEO, it’s now easier to implement for PPC ads.

4 Ways to Save You Time & Money on PPC Keywords

When you want to save both time and money on the PPC keywords you purchase, the following offers four methods that can help you reach your goals.

1. Plan Out Your Goal

The first thing you should do is plan out your goal for your PPC ads. Unless you fully understand how PPC ads will help your business grow, you shouldn’t use them. It’s important to understand that using PPC ads on search engines means that only your target audience will see these ads. If the ads aren’t well-designed or compelling, you could hurt your brand image.

Keep in mind that you aren’t purchasing keywords or traffic. Instead, you’re paying for the opportunity to place ads in the exact spot where your target audience will see them when searching for related keywords. By typing in a keyword related to your ad, you can already be confident that the user is interested in the subject of your ad.

planning your PPC keyword research

2. Gain Prospect Awareness

Once you’ve determined what your primary goal is, you should then focus on gaining prospect awareness, which will help you provide your audience with ads that they will choose to click on. It’s important that you understand who your audience is and what they want from a brand like yours. There are five distinct stages of keyword awareness, which include:

  • Pain/problem aware
  • Solution aware
  • Product aware
  • Most aware
  • Goal

The people who are aware of the pain/problem will make up most of the people who end up searching for the keyword that relates to your PPC ad. However, the “most aware” audience includes the people who are most likely to click on your ad. While it’s important that your efforts center around the audience who are most aware of your brand, this audience represents the audience with the lowest volume of searches, which is why your PPC ads should still include other audiences.

3. Create Keyword Categories

Your next step should be to create keyword categories that revolve around the level of awareness that your audience has for your brand. This step involves four stages.

Most aware: In this stage of awareness, your prospects know about your offer and want to take action. At this stage, the most important keywords include your brand name and the names or your services/products. If you find that you have a substantial amount of PPC competition, you’ll likely want to engage in defensive brand bidding with your keywords to make sure that you don’t lose some of your audience.

Product awareness: During this stage of awareness, your prospects know about the product/service you’re selling but haven’t made a final decision on which company they will purchase the item from. Important keywords for an audience who are product aware include the names of your competitors as well as descriptions of your services and products.

Solution aware: At this stage of awareness, your prospects are typically aware of the result they’re looking for but not of specific services or brands. The keywords you should focus on include results, features, and outcomes.

Pain/problem awareness: During this stage of awareness, your prospects are attempting to solve a problem but don’t have much more information about the solution to their problem or the options at their disposal. The main keyword types to focus on include symptoms, goals or desires, and high-level problems. Keep in mind that any problem-aware keywords you use should still tie into your offer. If they don’t, they might not trigger ads.

4. Define the Right Keyword Categories and Research Questions

descriptions in keyword research

The final aspect of performing PPC keyword research involves defining the right keyword categories and research questions. It’s important that you don’t just take keywords from lengthy competitor keyword lists, which is easy but likely won’t provide you with effective results. Great research is derived from paying attention to your prospects and focusing intently on your offer. First of all, it’s important to identify the language that your audience is using when searching for keywords that relate to your brand. Looking at review sites like Yelp and Amazon can help you identify the right language during your research.

You should also conduct in-depth research on the offer you’re including in the ad. Look up a similar product on Wikipedia to determine how the product is described. You don’t want your ad and landing page to be filled with vague wording that doesn’t properly describe your offer. Once you better understand your offer, you would likely benefit from using keyword research tools.

When conducting research, one of the most common mistakes that businesses and marketers make is to focus on keywords that signal buyer intent. For instance, marketers might believe that “how to look for tennis shoes” is informational and that “buy tennis shoes” is a decision or transaction term, which means that buyers who search for the latter term would have more intent to purchase. In most cases, users don’t state their intent in such simple phrases.

Tools Used for PPC Keyword Research

There are many effective keyword research tools that can help you conduct research without making too many mistakes. Among the dozens of different tools that you can select from, two options to consider include the keyword suggestion tool available at WordStream and the keyword planner tool that Google provides to Google Ads users.

If you decide to use WordStream’s tool, all you need to do is enter a website URL or keyword, an industry, and a location, after which you’ll be provided with a list of suggestions. As for Google’s keyword planner, this comprehensive tool allows users to discover new keywords, organize keywords, and create ad campaigns. There are also some great PPC ad tools to consider, the primary of which include the Google Ads editor, Optmyzr, and SEMrush.

The SEMrush tool is an all-encompassing marketing tool that should assist you with all of your marketing efforts and can help you create new PPC ads. Optmyzr is designed to give users the tools they require to optimize their ad campaigns and obtain a high ROI. This tool can also help you obtain insights into the results of your PPC ad campaign. As for the Google Ads editor, this is a no-cost application that can be downloaded and used offline whenever you want to edit your current PPC ads.

Along with the standard editing features available with the Google Ads editor, you’ll also benefit from the inclusion of bulk editing tools. Even though PPC keyword research can take some time, the tools linked above should guide you through the process and help you obtain keywords that provide optimal results.

Bryan Miller

Bryan Miller

Bryt Designs

Bryan Miller is an entrepreneur and web tech enthusiast specializing in web design, development and digital marketing. Bryan is a recent graduate of the MBA program at the University of California, Irvine and continues to pursue tools and technologies to find success for clients across a varieties of industries.

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