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Keyword Research 101: How to Find the Best Keywords for Google Ads Campaign

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Google Ads is proven to be one of the most effective PPC (pay-per-click) solutions and millions of businesses use this platform worldwide. It has many benefits including the fact that you only pay for results, and the vast network of websites and apps that your ads are displayed on. 

But how do you make successful Google Ads campaigns? There are many different components that make the perfect ad including written copy, your bidding strategies, but perhaps most important – keywords. 

Choosing the right keywords greatly boosts the effectiveness of your ad campaigns but many people and businesses struggle with this. To help, we use our SEO knowledge and look at how to choose keywords for Google Ads.

Why are Keywords Important for Google Ads?

Let’s give the floor to Google to give a simple answer, “Keywords are words or phrases that are used to match your ads with the terms that people are searching for”.

Pretty simple right? That was a quote from Google and it explains them perfectly. Let’s say you want to find a gardener to tidy up your garden before the winter? You search on Google for “gardening services in X” with X being your location.

Google will display search results and Google Ads that use those keywords.

Keywords help get your adverts noticed by the people who actually want to use your services or buy your products – they link buyer with seller. The better you can utilize keywords in your Google Ads, the better ranking they will have and the higher chance they have of showing when people search for those phrases.

Keyword Research - Basic Techniques and Tools

You can see the usefulness of these phrases but how do you find the best keywords for Google Ads? To give you a head start, we discuss six simple techniques below.

Brainstorm ideas about your business and products or services

The simplest starting point for keyword search for Google adwords words is to dissect your business, products, and services, and what you want the advert to achieve. What does your business do? What industry are you part of? Do you sell to a specific country or region? What is your target customer demographic? What products and services do you sell? 

Asking these basic questions oftentimes gives you a list of readymade keywords for your Google Ads.

Think about the customer journey and what they want

After you have brainstormed your business and products or services, it’s now time to look at your customers and think about their journey. What are they likely to search for? What questions will they ask when they use Google? What is the purpose of their search? 

Understanding your customer and how they approach searching will give you excellent insight and allow you to find suitable keywords.

Consider both short term and long tail keywords

Short term = Higher search volume keywords with just one or two words that are less specific. 

Long tail = lower search volume keywords with three or more words that offer more specificity. 

These are the two broad keyword categories and it’s important to consider both. Short term keywords are more difficult to compete for but they offer a much higher search volume. In contrast, long tail keywords might not be searched for as much, but they can yield higher conversion rates and often aren’t competed for as much.

Look at competitor keywords

Many businesses utilize competitor keywords so that they can offer a viable alternative to their main competition. This can be an effective strategy but it has to be used with caution as you don’t want to bite off more than you can chew and get into a bidding battle with other businesses. 

Competitor keywords are basically keywords that include your competitors business name that they may try and rank for. For example, Mercedes could use competitor keywords like “BMW cars”, or “BMW electric cars” to show their Mercedes cars as a potential alternative.

Don’t neglect negative keywords

Aside from keywords that you expect customers to search for to find your adverts, there are also keywords that you DON’T want association with. Say hello to negative keywords. 

Negative keywords can be used for a Google Ad and you can specify words you don’t want your ads to appear for when searched. For example, let’s say that you rent out luxury holiday apartments. Due to the nature of your business and the expense of your product, it could be a great idea to use negative keywords like “affordable”, “budget”, and “cheap”. 

Think about it – are people searching for affordable apartments likely going to want to stay in your luxury properties? No. So, using negative keywords cuts them out and allows you to get more effective results. It also allows you to control your PPC budget more effectively.

Utilize keyword tools like Google Keyword Planner

While using your own business knowledge and customer data is a great way to find Google adwords words, there are some incredible tools available too. Some of the most popular tools and platforms include: 

  • Google Keyword Planner 
  • Semrush Keyword locator 
  • Moz Keyword Explorer 
  • Ahrefs 

Google Keyword Planner is a great starting point as it’s part of the Google network, is free to use, and can be used in-conjunction with your Google Ads platform and Google Analytics. 

Other paid tools like Semrush, Moz, and Ahrefs can get great results too and give you a wealth of keyword research data that you simply wouldn’t be able to find otherwise. Once you have done the basic keyword research, to really find the best keywords for Google Ads, tools like this are invaluable.

Keyword Research is Vital for a Successful Google Ads Campaign

Without keyword research your Google Ads campaigns will not be as effective – no matter how well the copy is written. 

highly specialized PPC marketing agency can help with keyword research as they have detailed insight of tools like Google Keyword Planner, but also features like negative keywords, retargeting, and competitor keywords.

Article by:

Joshua George is the founder of ClickSlice, an SEO Agency based in London, UK.

He has eight years of experience as an SEO Consultant and was recently hired by the UK government for SEO training. Joshua also owns the best-selling SEO course on Udemy, and has taught SEO to over 100,000 students.

His work has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur, AgencyAnalytics, Wix and lots more other reputable publications.