By definition, a keyword is a search term or phrase that describes your product or service. They lead customers to your advertisements by determining which searches – inside Google, in this case – could result in your ad appearing in front of potential customers. A keyword is something that helps Google understand that your content is an appropriate match for the search entered by a user. The more closely your content matches relevant searches, the more your ads will be received by the correct users.
Customers know keywords because they are closely tied to the products they want to find. These customers know what they are looking for and often use the same general teminology when researching products or services. When searching for something as vague as “buy smartphone” or as detailed as “2×4 lumber cherry wood,” people expect to find relevant results. In your eyes, the eyes of the business, keywords allow you to make it to the front page of both vague and specific searches. Generating a list that enables your business to reach potential customers in as many keyword phrases as possible is the end-goal with using adwords. The more ranking keywords and keyword phrases your website is able to be relevant with, the more your brand will be able to provide ads to convert sales.
The Potential of a Great Keyword List
In one of its AdWords help pages, Google does well to sum up the potential of proper keyword usage: “A great keyword list can help improve the performance of your ads and help you to avoid higher prices. Poor keywords can ultimately cause you to have higher prices and lower ad position.” Keywords that are not converting are a waste of your time and money as your target audience is either not searching the keywords listed or are looking for something entirely different.
How can you create a great keyword list? First, think like your target consumers. Create a list of terms and phrases that describe your business. Think of how you would be searching for your products when searching for them online. Referencing the search phrase listed above, a lumber company could make its way into that relevant search with terms such as “lumber,” “cherry,” and “wood.” Combining these words help you target your results to the customers who are obviously very interested in the products you are providing per search terms.
Those three keyword examples bring up one important point: those terms, standing alone, are vague. With a quick change to “cherry lumber” – a phrase – and a change in keyword type – to “exact match” or “keyword match” (see below) – that hypothetical lumber company can retain the keywords that best describe its operations, and it can continue to remain relevant within customers’ searches. As a business, the lumber company doesn’t want to pay for ads that appear in front of individuals who want cherries (the food). Organized and specific keywords can initiate the desired positive effect.
In AdWords, you can also collect your keywords into groups. Groups of keywords target specific ads. Therefore, as another example, the search for “buy smartphone” could easily lead a customers to an ad that features smartphone covers. However, attaching the “buy smartphone” keyword phrase only with ads for actual handheld devices will keep that broad search term headed in the right direction. For ads about covers, you can simply keep the “smartphone covers” search in a separate relevant list.
Control Keywords Like a Pro
Once you master the basics, you can begin to modify your keyword types. By default, AdWords places keywords into the “broad match” type. It allows the phrase “2×4 lumber cherry wood” to end up in searches such as “2×4 house build” or “cheap lumber.” Broad matching can work well to drive visitors to your website, but it can make your ads appear more often in front of individuals who want something completely different. In many cases, you will spend more money yet achieve fewer results.
This is where you can take the time to make your keywords fall under the categories of “exact match” or “keyword match.” The former will show ads only when specific words or phrases exist as the only words in a search, and the latter will allow ads to appear when a word or phrase shows up in addition to other words.
You can also remove trigger words from either of those types. In that case, you can create “negative keywords” to keep specific searches from calling your ads. This could be useful, as one last example, for the lumber company that doesn’t supply oak lumber but still wants to target individuals who search for cherry.
Keywords and keyword phrases may at first seem a bit overwhelming when entering the world of Google Adwords, but after using Adwords for a while and seeing your results on the screen, you will be able to understand what keyword searches are converting and where you need to place more of your focus when it comes to targeted keywords. Once keywords are entered and your results begin to render, you can start A/B testing your Adwords list to also find the best enhanced results for your business.
That about covers the basics of keyword use. But you’re not out of the water just yet. Next time around, we’ll discuss the AdWords Keyword Planner and how it can help you create new campaigns or alter your existing keyword sets.