How to Perform Keyword Research for PPC

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns can be a little daunting when first starting out. What keywords should I bid for? How should my keywords be grouped? These are some of the questions you may be asking yourself. There’s no need to worry because as you first conduct keyword research, most of these questions will be answered. Keyword research is one of the most important parts of creating a new PPC campaign. Conducting detailed keyword research will not only help structure your PPC campaign, but also give you an idea of budget and Cost-Per-Click (CPC) bids for your targeted keywords. Let’s take a look at some of the goals when starting keyword research and how to implement your keyword research into your new PPC campaign.

Keyword Research Goals

As you begin your keyword research, keep in mind the goals you would like to accomplish from your research. You can also think of these goals as questions you would like answered from your keyword research.
  1. Creating a Targeted Keyword List: The primary goal of conducting keyword research is creating a list of keywords you would like to bid on in your new PPC campaign. This is, for the most part, what every new advertiser would like to accomplish in their keyword research.
  2. Get an Accurate Estimate of Budget and/or CPC Bids: As you’re doing your keyword research, advertisers can get a good idea of how much these keywords are going to cost them. They also have the opportunity to get an idea of a good CPC bid for each keyword, which will get them to the best ad positions in search results pages.
  3. Gain Insight on Your Audience: When you begin your keyword research, you’ll soon find common search terms that your audience uses to search for the services and/or products you’re advertising. From this, you can gain insight into more keywords to include in your campaign and start thinking of messaging for your PPC ads.
  4. Negative keywords: When researching keyword data, you may find some search terms that are irrelevant to your campaign. In this case, you could add them to your negative keyword list, so your PPC ads do not display on these searches.

Finding Keywords

If you’re unsure of which keywords to include in your PPC campaign, you can start by including keywords directly related to your products that you would like to advertise. Google recommends structuring your PPC campaign following your website categories. So be sure to keep this in mind when first creating your keyword list.

You can also try googling some of your product keywords to see what other related searches pop up in your search bar. This will give you an idea of other related keywords that might be relevant to your PPC campaign.

In addition, there are keyword tools that you can utilize when finding keywords to include in your PPC campaign. Google’s Keyword Planner is a great tool to not only get ideas for keywords, but also gain insight into search volume and estimated CPC bids. You can also use third-party software like SEM Rush, Moz and Spyfu to find useful keywords and even take a peek at some of your competitors.

Estimating Your PPC Budget & Bids

Now that you’ve started building your targeted keyword list, it’s time to settle on a budget. While you won’t have a concrete idea of CPC bids until you actually launch your PPC campaign, keyword research will help with estimates. You can utilize those same keyword tools to help estimate overall daily budget and CPC bids for your keywords. Google keyword planner also has features to distinguish CPC bids for different match types for your keywords.

When creating a new PPC campaign, it’s always useful to experiment with different match types. You want to gain exposure with broad match type keywords, but as your campaign accumulates data, it would want to consider focusing on phrase match or exact match keywords to bring down cost and gain relevance in your PPC ads.

Getting to Know Your Audience

Now that you’re becoming familiar with popular keywords for your business, you may come across common search terms your customers are using. These search terms can help you gain insight into your audience. Reviewing common search terms not only can provide you with more ideas for keywords, but can also enable you to work these search terms into your PPC ads.

In order to gain top ad positions in PPC, your ads must be relevant to your customers’ searches, which is an important factor in Quality Score. Google uses a scale of 1-10 for Quality Score, 1 being poor relevance and 10 being very high in relevance. Google uses Quality Scores in determining the ad position of your ad. To aim for a high Quality Score, make sure you’re bidding on relevant keywords, writing engaging ads and have a good user experience on your landing pages.

Eliminating Irrelevant Traffic with Negative Keywords

When looking at search terms that are related to your keywords, you may find some terms that are unrelated and would lead to irrelevant clicks. You can eliminate this bad traffic with negative keywords. By compiling a list of negative keywords, you can ensure that your ads are targeting people who are actually interested in purchasing from your website. Negative keywords are one of the best ways to optimize your PPC campaign and increase relevance with your ads.

While starting a new PPC campaign may be overwhelming at times, if you follow the tips above for your keyword research, you’ll be on your way to creating a top-performing campaign. Make sure to set clear goals for yourself before starting your keyword research and take note of any important keywords and search terms you come across. Keyword research can help you get a head start in creating your campaign and writing compelling PPC ads to attract new customers and gain sales.

Now that you've got your campaign started, it's time to track the success of your efforts. Check out our list of the 9 most important PPC metrics for ecommerce stores.