Refining Your PPC Keyword Choices

March 24, 2015


In our last article on keyword choices, we covered the definition of keywords, the three types of keyword searches (broad match, phrase match, and direct match), and showed you some tools for researching possible keywords. Now, let’s find out where you rank organically for the search terms in your initial list, evaluate the cost/benefit of certain keywords, and how to monitor your results.

Let’s stick with the umbrella example used in part one of this series. After going through the research process, we have the following list of potential keywords: umbrella, umbrellas, umbrellas U.K., umbrellas for sale, buy umbrella, vintage umbrellas, white umbrellas, and wedding umbrellas.

Testing Organic Search Results

If you’re lucky enough to have a search term that ranks in the top three organic search spots, that’s terrific: you may not need to use PPC ads to drive traffic for that term. Take the list of keyword terms and input each into Google to see if your site ranks in the top three organic search listings. If not, you’ll want to look at the “Ads” section in Google for your search term. You might find the following:

    1. Your search term is too broad, and you are up against major companies with large budgets and/or items are showing up that aren’t representative of what you offer.

      Results for "umbrellas"

      Results for “umbrellas.”

    2. Your search term is broad, but still may not have many competitors, and may be worth considering for a PPC campaign.

      Results for "umbrella".

      Results for “umbrella.”

    3. Your term is more specific and has some competitors, including some smaller ones, and may be a good keyword term to consider.

      Results for "vintage umbrellas."

      Results for “vintage umbrellas.”

To Buy or Not To Buy: CPC, Your Budget and ROI

After you’ve done a Google search for all your terms and determined which ones are still viable, you’ll want to input each term into your Google Adwords Keyword Planner. The planner will help you determine the number of searches per month the search term received, as well as the average Cost Per Click (CPC) of the term.

You can better target your traffic and lower your estimated CPC by including “negative keywords” and by specifying an exact match or phrase match.

This example shows the Keyword Planner for the term 'umbrellas.'

This example shows the Keyword Planner for the term “umbrellas.”

Now that you’ve done all this research, you need to see which keywords work with your daily and monthly budget. You’ll be able to estimate how many clicks you’ll get at each price point. But beware: if you’re not careful, you could break the bank. The entire goal of this operation is to make you money, not spend all of it, so make sure to keep an eye on your return on investment (ROI).

Of course your ROI will be determined not only by your choice of keywords and the price you pay per click, but by the wording of your PPC ad, and the quality of the information of the link provided.

Have Patience, Test and Revise

Remember that this is an art, not a science. You should consider testing various keyword terms and price points, as well as different ads and landing pages. Don’t just leave a campaign running; analyzing your metrics is critical to your sales success.