In PPC or pay-per-click marketing, keywords are a necessary element. If you want to launch a successful PPC campaign, you need to find the right keywords, group them properly, and optimize how they’re used. Successful PPC campaigns translate into increased traffic on your website and lead conversions.
So, what exactly are keywords?
If a question pops up in your head, you will likely pick up a device and type out your question into a Google search bar. Or most likely, only some parts of the question. You will omit any definite or indefinite articles and focus on typing the verbs, adjectives, and nouns. For instance, if I wanted to find out what pharmacy is working late at night near me, I wouldn’t type the whole question into the Google search bar. Instead, my query would probably look something like this ‘night pharmacy near me’.
Some of the four words that I ended up typing into the search bar are what we call keywords. So, you type in some keywords into the Google search bar, and Google presents you with results. These results can either be organic or paid advertisements, but either way, they are relevant to the words in your search bar. As a business, you obviously want your products or services to pop up in Google’s result pages (SERPs) when people search for something.
However, many businesses offer the same or similar products and services. Using our example from earlier, let’s take the word pharmacy. The word pharmacy can be a keyword, but it’s a very generic word that every pharmacy will use, making it too competitive. In other words, it would be exceedingly difficult to rank using that keyword.
You can try using synonyms, but in the case of the word pharmacy, that might be difficult as most people never even heard of its synonym apothecary. Consequently, your only option is to use alternative keywords. Keyword research is crucial as it enables you to determine alternative keywords that you can use to lead people to your website.
How do I know what keywords to use?
Finding keywords, especially the right keywords, is no easy feat. Lucky for you, there are plenty of keyword research tools (free and paid) and analytics data that can aid you in your search. Here’s a pro tip; always organize your keywords into groups of closely related keywords. For example, the word ‘cake’ is very closely related to ‘birthday’ and ‘wedding,’ so that can be one grouping.
You can also instruct Google not to show your ads for some keywords as it can help you reach a more precise target audience. Finally, focus on the keywords that perform best while keeping in mind that the most popular keywords in any industry are too competitive and expensive. The idea is to do research, see what your competitors are doing and try to come up with alternative words that you can use to make your PPC campaign more successful.
How do you bid on them?
As we’ve mentioned already, advertisers bid for space at the top of a results page for specific keywords. Naturally, if your website is at the top of the SERP, the keyword acts as a free source of website traffic for your business.
When you bid on keywords, you can select how Google matches your ads against relevant search queries. These are the available match types:
Broad Match: This is the default keyword match type whereby Google matches your ad against the greatest number of possible queries. Using this option gives your exposure to longer queries, as well as closely related searches.
Modified Broad Match: This is a more targeted match type whereby Google will only display your ad if the query has one or more exact keywords in it. Google won’t match your ads to synonyms or closely related searches when using this match type.
Phrase Match: This type focuses on matching specific phrases instead of words. For example, ‘bathing suit’. Google will only match your ads to queries containing that exact phrase.
Exact Match: Using this method, Google only matches your ads to queries that are identical to your keywords, word for ford.
Some of the match types are more restrictive than others; however, both have their own benefits. While broad keyword parameters will certainly bring you more clicks, those clicks won’t be as targeted. On the other hand, narrow parameters equate to fewer clicks but higher conversion chances as they are more targeted.