AdWords Optimization Tips: Part 4 - Keyword Basics

In previous Optimization Tips posts, Stephanie Lim from the Optimization team shared her tips on assessing your industry and audience, knowing your website and goals, and setting up an AdWords account with a structure that is appropriate to your business and its needs. Today, in the first of two keyword related posts, she will discuss […]

In previous Optimization Tips posts, Stephanie Lim from the Optimization team shared her tips on assessing your industry and audience, knowing your website and goals, and setting up an AdWords account with a structure that is appropriate to your business and its needs. Today, in the first of two keyword related posts, she will discuss how to use keywords to target your audience and how to stay competitive with others who are advertising in the same space. Specifically, she'll cover general keyword advice and formatting, core keywords, and keyword variations and modifiers.

General Keyword Advice and Formatting: Before we discuss how to create and expand keyword lists, it's important to make a few points about keyword formatting.

  • Keywords are not case-sensitive, so 'flights to new york city' is recognized as the same keyword as 'flights to New York City.'
  • You do not have to include punctuation such as periods, commas, and hyphens. 'Eye-glasses' are the same as 'eye glasses,' but different from 'eyeglasses,' so do include two separate keywords when appropriate -- one with the space, and one without.
  • Wherever appropriate, be sure to include both singular and plural variations of your keywords. Though the 'broad matching' feature in the Keyword Tool will generate other keywords to include potential synonyms, you can ensure that you are not missing out on relevant traffic by including both singular and plural variations.
  • You may want to avoid including duplicate keywords across ad groups and campaigns in the same account. Your ad will only be shown once for a given search, and these duplicate keywords will be competing with each other to appear.

Once you've understood the basics of keywords, you can begin to think about your keywords in terms of what we will refer to as 'core keywords' and 'keyword variations and modifiers.'

Core Keywords: Core keywords are the foundational themes of your advertising campaign, the most basic keyword phrases that describe your products or services. Depending on your overall advertising objectives, you may or may not want to include these core keywords in your keyword list; but these core keywords can be helpful when you first begin to think about how to advertise what the product or service you are offering.

The account structure you outline will help you identify these basic keyword themes. You can also use the Keyword Tool with the 'Use synonyms' boxed checked to get a broader range of ideas, or browse other sites to see how similar businesses describe their products. Keep in mind that customers may use different terms to find your product or service than the terms you would normally use. An advertiser selling nutrition bars may think of his product as 'protein bars' for body builders, when a large portion of his customers are busy professionals looking for 'meal replacement bars.'

It's important to note that core keywords will often be very general, high-traffic, and highly competitive keywords. As we've mentioned in an earlier post about knowing your advertising goals, if you are focused on conversions or return-on-investment, you may choose not to run on such general keywords, but only on the more specific variations of those core keywords.

Keyword Variations and Modifiers: Once you've identified some core keywords, you can start expanding on variations of those core keywords. You can use the Keyword Tool, with the 'Use synonyms' box unchecked, to find keyword variations that will help you better understand how customers may search for your products or services. You may find that many of these variations are related to your business in some way and may wish to include these in your keyword list. An advertiser promoting laser skin treatment may find that variations on 'wrinkle,' such as 'wrinkle cream' or 'anti wrinkle products' are relevant and should be included. However, the advertiser will not want to include unrelated variations such as 'wrinkle free pants'. Instead, the advertiser may choose to include terms like 'pants' and 'shirts' in his negative keyword list. (Stay tuned for the second half of this topic for more on negative keywords.)

If core keywords are the basic themes that help you build your keyword lists, keyword modifiers will help you home in on a particular audience. If an advertiser is trying to reach the appropriate audience for a designer handbag line, for instance, he may find using general keywords like 'handbag' or 'purse' alone ineffective. Combining these core keywords with modifiers such as 'luxury,' 'high end,' and 'authentic' will help target an audience that is willing to pay top dollar for a high quality handbag, rather than a bargain hunter who is looking for a lower-end one.

Modifying keywords can also help you achieve the goals you defined for your advertising campaign. An advertiser selling electronics, for instance, may be focused more on sales and conversions rather than branding. Her goal, then, is to distinguish shoppers who are closer to buying from those in the research stage of the sale cycle. One way to do this is to use conversion-oriented modifiers such as: 'buy,' 'buying,' 'order,' 'ordering,' etc. She can also include specific brand names, product names, and even model numbers. Users searching on highly specific terms know exactly what they are looking for, and could be more likely to convert for you.

Source:→ AdWords Blog

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