PPC Keywords

Power Up Your PPC Campaigns With These 7 Tips for Choosing Effective Keywords

To highlight the obvious, in today’s modern business world, more and more business transactions are moving online. And to capture consumers’ attention — especially when looking to reach them as they’re considering a purchase and evaluating their options in the marketplace — the internet is increasingly the prime spot for doing so.

Consider these facts related to e-commerce in the modern marketplace:

·  In 2022, e-commerce accounted for more than 16% of total retail sales in the United States. That figure is up from 5.8% in 2013, and it’s expected to jump to nearly 22% by 2025.

·  More than 60% of today’s purchase journeys begin online, via either browsing or research.

·  Roughly three-quarters of today’s consumers shop online at least once a month.

Add all of this up, and it’s clear that to truly thrive in the modern marketplace, businesses need to capture consumers’ attention where large numbers of them are spending their time. That time is spent researching their purchases, and buying their goods and services — on the internet. And one of the best ways to do just that is to employ pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.

7 tips on how to choose PPC keywords

Of course, those familiar with pay-per-click advertising know that one of the biggest keys to PPC success is choosing the right PPC keywords to bid on, which can be a challenging process. To boost the effectiveness of your brand’s next PPC campaign, consider employing these seven strategies when selecting the keywords behind your pay-per-click ads:

1. Explore your options

To begin the process of keyword research for PPC, use tools such as Google Search Console to see what search terms your website visitors are using to find your site, and Google Analytics to determine which of the keywords are most frequently leading to conversions. The Google Ads Keyword Planner can also be a big help in determining what keywords are likely to be most effective in reaching the best target audience for your brand’s offerings. Further, if you run a Dynamic Search campaign with Google Ads, you can see the searches that the search engine giant deems relevant to your landing pages, which can also help you refine your keyword set.

Another thing to keep in mind as you narrow down your keyword selections: Google often allows for synonyms and misspellings within the bounds of a single keyword, so there’s no need to triplicate for every keyword variant.

2. Consider the costs

When you are running your PPC campaigns, your costs can vary greatly depending on the keywords you choose. In a nutshell, the keywords with the highest search volumes and the most competition among advertisers will carry the highest price tags. But less-expensive keywords can also be highly effective, especially for any more niche products and services your brand may offer.

Keyword-research tools are available, such as those available from Semrush, which can provide valuable data on search volume, typical cost per click (CPC), the competition levels for the keywords you’re considering, etc., along with alternative keyword options that may deliver a better value. Such tools can help you more quickly find the right balance of keyword effectiveness and cost to meet your campaign goals and achieve an attractive ROI.

3. Decide whether to target evergreen and/or timely keywords

Evergreen keywords, as the name implies, tend to remain relevant and popular over time. Timely keywords, on the other hand, are those that are seeing temporary popularity that — because the terms are trending, are seasonal, are related to current events or otherwise have a limited shelf life — is likely to fade over time. Both can be highly effective in attracting clicks and visitors. And while most of your campaigns are likely to include evergreen keywords related to your brand’s offerings, you should decide whether or not to include timely keywords based on your campaign’s duration, context and goals. For example, if you’re running a holiday (or seasonal) promotion or providing a product or service with ties to a current news item, strategically incorporating timely keywords would make sense.

4. Consider targeting long-tail keywords

Long-tail keywords tend to include some of the same product- or service-related terms you’ll use in most of your PPC campaigns, but they also include additional words to create longer and more specific search phrases. For example, while a common keyword a carpet-cleaning company may employ might be “carpet cleaning,” the company may also want to target the long-tail keyword phrase “carpet cleaning to remove pet stains and odors.”
Because long-tail keywords are by and large less competitive than generic keywords, they tend to be much less expensive to bid on — and they can attract consumers seeking out exactly what your brand offers, which can make them a good investment.
A couple words of advice to note here:

  • Try to “think like a customer” when selecting your long-tail keywords, choosing phrases that you feel consumers might actually enter into a search bar when looking for your brand’s products and/or services.
  • Consider choosing long-tail keywords indicative of a high buying intent. Examples of terms that often signify a high level of purchase intent include “purchase,” “buy,” “best,” “top,” “compare,” “vs.” and “review.”

Especially for smaller brands (or any brand seeking high-value PPC terms, really), targeting keywords that indicate a high buying intent is likely to produce more conversions than targeting high-volume searches that are more toward the top of the marketing funnel in nature.

5. Shoot for high-volume/low-competition options

To get the most bang for your buck with PPC advertising, aim for the sweet spot among keywords — those that offer a high search volume and a low level of competition (i.e., lots of people are searching for them, but few businesses are bidding on them), all while attracting consumers who are seeking what you’re offering.
To help you hit this sweet spot, the Google Ads Keyword Planner can give you a good idea of search volume by month for potential keywords, plus an index of the competitiveness of each term, along with some potential upper and lower CPC bounds. It can also help broaden your keyword set if you give the system a few baseline terms to work with.

6. Don’t overlook negative keywords

Negative keywords can help you weed out — and avoid paying for — traffic that your brand has no interest in attracting. As a result, by filtering out searches that employ the terms on your negative keyword list, your PPC campaigns can deliver a higher ROI, improve your click-through rates and boost your conversions. For example, a travel agency that offers luxury vacations might be well served by employing negative keywords such as “bargain,” “cheap,” “budget” and “last-minute” that indicate a search by a consumer who is unlikely to use its services. Or an optometrist in the business of selling eyewear will likely want to weed out consumers searching for “drinking glasses.”

7. Optimize for added success

Using your chosen PPC platform (such as Google Ads) and an on-site tracking tool like Google Analytics, keeps a close eye on your ad spend and the performance of the keywords you’ve been bidding on. With this data, you can determine which keywords are producing the most goal conversions and measure your ROI on each of your chosen search terms. From there, you can choose to scale up spending on the keywords that are producing a positive ROI, and stop bidding on or tweak the ones that are underperforming. And with continual optimization, you should be able to maximize your positive results and ramp up the success of your PPC campaigns over time.

Looking for help powering your brand’s PPC campaigns? The data-driven search-marketing experts at Brandon are always eager to offer their assistance. The marketing pros on the team have the experience and know-how needed to launch a successful first PPC campaign for your brand, or to elevate the results of your existing ones. To get started with help that can boost the effectiveness of all your marketing campaigns, contact us today.