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PPC Keyword Research: 3 Steps To Build Effective Pay-Per-Click Keyword Lists

The main tenet of effective PPC keyword research is to build lists of highly relevant keywords, especially in the manner that they are used in a search. Read about the 3 steps to effective pay per click keyword list building.

Step #1: Relevancy

Know which keywords are directly relevant to your product. You can build lists organically (thinking of words that you might use to search for the product) or you can build them using a tool ex: Google’s Keyword Planner Tool

Decide what your focus keyword is. Set your intention to create two base keywords for any new lists you use. For example, focus keywords: Black Mug.

Build a list of 9 other keywords which contain Black Mug, read below:

  • Buy Black Mug
  • Custom Black Mug
  • Black coffee mug
  • Black photo mug
  • Black mug
  • Black mug for sale
  • Black tea mug
  • Buy black coffee mug
  • Buy black mug with handle
  • Starbucks black mug

The keyword “Black Mug” is in each of the 10 keywords above. The relevance of each of these keywords is high as the terms black mug appears in every single iteration. AdWords or Bing is now aware that this is a keyword of high relevance.

Keywords like mug shot, black mug gamefowl, & black mug hooks are not.

Step #2: Tools to Use for Keyword Research

I typically use Google’s keyword planner tool for keywords that are unfamiliar to me. It offers excellent insights the levels of competitiveness, estimated cost per click (CPCs), helps build Ad Groups and keyword lists based on your inputs.

Another cool feature is the ability to use a pre-existing landing page from which Google’s Keyword Planner tool will extrapolate keyword information from. You’re essentially able to build highly relevant ad groups and keyword lists using this feature.

PPC Keyword Research: 3 Steps To Build Effective Pay-Per-Click Keyword Lists

Another tool I use is the autocomplete available on various search engines. Fill in your base keywords and watch the suggestions arrive without much work. This is a quick and easy manner to do some keyword research, however - I’d stick to the former strategy if building out larger lists.

Step #3: Match Type - Modified Broad & Exact Match

My favorite match types for a newly introduced keyword is modified broad match, introducing a ’+’ sign before the keyword allows the SERP to show ad as a link because the modified nature of the broad match lets the search engine know that closely related terms to the words attached to the plus sign are also ok.

Ex: +black +mug ---> can turn up results like blackish mugs, blackened mug etc

I introduce exact match as a match type when I’ve run the modified broad match keywords for enough time to accrue impressions and clicks that are statistically relevant. This is a good practice to use as you’ll have enough data to tell you what queries visitors are using to search for products like yours.

Look through the keyword search term report to find high performers, yank those keywords into exact match ad groups - I like to create an ad group for each exact match keyword - which displays ads related to the keywords.

If modified broad match isn’t working as you expect, experiment with phrase match and limited broad match ad groups.