“This is the fourth out of a five-part series trying to teach SME business owners on Google’s Adwords Advertising, understanding terms, processes and tips on how to efficiently do ad campaigns without blowing your entire budget. Find the other parts in the links at the end of the article.”
Now that we’ve finished the preliminary details that you would need to learn with Adwords, we’re going into what you came here to know: what keywords are the best to use for your advertising purposes.
Unlike SEO where you typically get keywords and rank for them in the long-run, the short-term nature of PPC advertisements is to make sure the keyword does the job that it is intended to do. There’s a number of concepts that you need to understand when taking this into consideration.
Finding the Right Keywords
Your goal in finding the right keywords is two-fold: search volume and commercial intent. These two goals will help you narrow down what works, what may work and what doesn’t work for your purposes.
There’s no end-all, be-all answer to this task, but there are rules of thumb that you may want to try.
Volume and Competition
Much like SEO, you would want your keywords to have search volume with low competition. This is important as the high search volume allows you to get as many potential visitors as possible whilst getting less competition helps in your keyword cost-per-click and your visibility in Google.
This can be done using your Google Adwords Keyword Planner or use a third party tool just like SEMRush. In our team, we tend to collate data from different tools and see what consistently provides us the right combination of search volume and competition – and this extends to ads.
The best way to weigh the value of a keyword is through its intent. This is typically problematic as “intent” is very broad and very subjective, varying from business to business. To describe, intent is the reasoning why people use a specific keyword.
This changes accordingly, but typically broad keywords – words that are catch all, non-niche and non-specific, tend to show very low intent within the people that search it, which means there’s lower click-through rates (CTR), lower conversion rates and tends to be more expensive per action (CPA).
We will discuss the different types of keyword intents in another topic, but typically you do Adwords to sell and convert – and that’s what we will teach you.
4 Categories of Commercial Intent
Commercial intent can be divided into four different types of phrases – each with a decreasing sales viability. These are buyers, product, informational and tire kickers.
Buyer keywords are the keywords that are nearly 100% sure that the person is interested in a sale. These people are ready to pay, ready to go through your sales funnel and are willing to get the product that you are selling. The keywords involved in this category mostly have words that involve final purchase phrases. These may include:
- Free shipping
- Buy now
- Instalment plans
Some nice examples are “SEO agency Brisbane quotes”, “buy nike shoes online”, “beauty mask with free shipping” and “makeup deals”. These mark that people are ready to buy now.
There are words that show this intent that can be utilised by brick and mortar businesses like “[keyword] repair [location]”, “[keyword] [location]” and “[keyword] near me”. If you can see the trend here, many searches that involve a specific location typically qualifies for a purchase as this is typically done by people who are unsure where to run to have their problem resolved.
Product keywords are words that focus on just the brand, type of service or a product category without too much qualifiers. These indicate that the customer is still into product discovery mode and is typically in the earlier parts of the buying cycle. You would need a few more touches before they buy and this can be done through great copy and a strong sales funnel.
Some phrases for this category include:
- Top 10
- Top 5
- Brand Names (“Nike”, “Maybelline”)
- Product types (“hosting service”, “SEO agency”)
- Cheap/Affordable/low cost
Cost qualifiers are a bit problematic and complicated. These words convey high conversion rates and they do typically provide some great value since a lot of people are looking for low cost products. Why is it not in the more powerful buyer phrases? That’s due to the fact that most people who look for “low cost” products have a limited budget and would like to maximise it.
Informational keywords have very low buyer intent and are rather used by people who are looking to ease their pain. The audience behind this category are not even in any buying cycle – but with enough touches, pain resolution copy and the right sales funnel, they might eventually buy.
Why would you use informational phrases? That’s because you would want conversions. All three categories so far have different levels in the buying cycle, but they can all provide strong conversions. This specific group are the keywords that you want to push your potential audience to a landing page with a strong sales copy. These words include:
- How to
- x Ways to
- Can I
- What is
- Learning how
When you look at your Adwords Keyword Planner, you will specifically see these as words that have high volume but with very low CPC and very low competition. These words are perfect for your email list.
Tire Kicker Keywords
A tire kicker is a person who asks a lot of questions but never buys. These are searches that are looking for free products, downloads and other items that they can get for zero cost. These words have zero commercial value. The audience behind these words have zero intent on buying anything – even clicking ads. They would most likely have adblockers installed.
Some keywords in this category are:
- Watch online free
- Direct download
Never put up an ad for these. It’s rare to find people who willingly purchase anything in ad networks and pages that cater to tire kickers – it’s not worth it.
Using Phrase Categories Correctly
The categories we listed are typically representative of the people who use them, but there are a few ways to make sure that you only get to choose the ones that do the job right. Here’s a few short keyword research moves you can do.
Don’t Forget Adword Match Types
Utilising your Adword match types is important to broaden, narrow or cut off searches that you don’t want for your keywords. We will deeply discuss these match types in another article, but the idea is to utilise broad, phrase, exact and negative match keywords according to the type of campaign you are doing.
- Use broad match to make sure that you put out as wide of a net that you can as possible.
- Use phrase match to if you want a narrow audience that is either ready to buy or are intent on using phrases that are in the buyer or product keyword category.
- Utilise exact match for branded campaigns.
- Use your negative keywords to discount yourself from niche that you are not trying to reach at all but may prop up from relative phrases to your search
Don’t Use Single Term Keywords
Avoid single term keywords. These are typically expensive and are better set for SEO rather than advertising. There’s a likeliness that you will be using single term keywords in your copy anyway, so it’s better to save your PPC budget for longer keywords.
The ideal length is a minimum of two to three keywords and reflect how people search in their daily lives. Use your tools like Keyword Planner or SEMrush to see if they are valuable and check Google itself if people are trying to compete for your keywords.
If there are people who do so, this means there’s value to your phrases.
Use the ‘Get Ideas’ Option in Keyword Planner
An easy way to check the value of your keywords as well is to use the “Get Ideas” Option on your Adwords.
When you log in to keyword planner, you will find the option to “search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category”. Fill up the fields and add a number of keywords that you want your ad to show up to. Choose “Get Ideas”. See what happens.
Keyword Planner will start spitting out keywords with suggested bids. Categorise the intent of the keywords and see their value in suggested bids. More keywords in the buyer and product phrase categories tend to be high volume, high cost keywords whilst informational phrases tend to be high competition – low cost. This is a true indicator of intent.
There’s still a lot more to keyword research than just this – specifically about bidding strategies, Quality Score and minimising CPC strategies through the right keywords that deserve their own articles.
Picking and choosing the correct phrases for your advertising campaigns is important, and being equipped with the “why” of their function together with the “how” helps you understand the task a little bit better.