Choosing Your PPC Keywords: Don’t Go Overboard With It

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Many of the pre-existing PPC accounts we work on here often have a few trends running through them. Some were set up by another agency a long time ago and forgotten about, others were done manually by the client hiring us, and some were automatically generated by Google. The trend that tends to run through them all?

Poor execution on keywords.

ppc keyword optimization

Why It’s Happening

It can seem like such an easy thing when you’re starting out fresh for PPC. You enter in the keywords you want your ads to bid on and you let things roll along from there. Couldn’t be simpler right? Well, in truth, it is a pretty simply process, but doing it right isn’t necessarily as easy as people believe.

The tendency to go way overboard with this happens all the time. We’ve seen accounts that have every possible keyword a client could think of shoved into one massive list and left to stew. Every possible variation, single words, sentences, and everything set to broad match. Oh dear. This is what keyword nightmares look like.

It all stems from a lack of understanding what the best practices are with keywords, and it leads to extremely sub-optimal campaigns that end up bleeding money. If you’re building a fresh campaign take what we’re saying to heart and avoid doing this to yourself. However, if you’ve already got a campaign running and its keyword lists sounds like what’s being described, remain calm, you can correct this with a little (sometimes a lot) time and effort.

How It Should Be Done

So lets talk about your mind set when looking into your keywords. First thing is first: brain storm and research for keywords you want to bid on. You probably already have an idea as to the keywords you want when starting out just based off what your advertising. Mark these down then take advantage of the keyword research tool to get some more ideas and some initial competitive information. Once you’ve got a good list started take a look at it and try and come up with good synonyms and add those to the list.

Hold on a sec… Didn’t we just roll our eyes at accounts having every possibly variation of a keyword? We did, but that’s more for those that take it beyond synonyms and add in the singular and plural of each word, include full on query strings as keywords, and reverse the order of the keywords (although this last one can be worth it, that’s something to figure out after the campaign has been running for a while).

Keep in mind that what you’re doing here isn’t to add in query terms and questions. There’s no need to bid on a keyword that looks like this “free local SEO service”, or “local cake bakeries near me”. Don’t even consider it, avoid these always. Instead what you should be focusing on are the root keywords. The above examples are too long, and these next examples are too short: “SEO”, “bakery”. Find the shortest long tail keywords to bid on, which might look something like these: “search engine optimization”, “SEO agency”, “cookie recipes”.

If you’re thinking to your self that those are the types of queries you want your ads to show for any ways, that’s great! You absolutely want to show for these queries but bidding directly on them is unnecessary thanks to Googles keyword matching options. Check out that link to learn all about them, but the three types you should be focusing on are: Phrase match, exact match, broad match modifier. With these your bases will be covered but avoid using regular broad match as its scoop is far to wide and will lead to a budget bleeding.

Create ad groups with 20 or fewer keywords, each one built around related keywords in order to keep them better relevant to your ads and increase your quality scores, which will help to bring down your CPC eventually. If you do these things, then you’ll find your self with a better start and better performance over all compared to the old “dump everything in a hope” approach.

Getting Some Help

This may be a daunting task for those who are new or are facing a massive campaign that needs a going over. Fortunately, our experts here can take care of this for you. Get in touch with us and tell us what you need, we can take a look and give you our recommendations to get your campaign back on track.