There are online marketing forums out there filled with baffled businessmen and women who are unable to explain why their PPC spending has not resulted in the promised returns.
Because they do not really understand how to choose keywords, their results were not what they could have been if they had researched them more thoroughly or used an agency.
So, here are our recommended top tips for choosing the best keywords for your paid search campaign. As always, please feel free to add to the list.
Make sure the keywords you bid on are relevant to your product and not hugely general. If your company sells ergonomic keyboards, then buying advertising on the keyword “computer” is not going to do you much good.
In fact, it will be costly and any traffic it does push to your page will most likely quickly leave.
It may be worth bidding on some relevant and competitive keywords but you should also spend some of your budget on highly specific terms.
These are likely to be cheaper and, while fewer people will be searching for them, those that do are more likely to be interested in your offering and result in a sale.
For example, if you sell ethical jewellery then bidding on the competitive term “engagement ring” will drive relevant traffic to your site.
However, while those visitors may buy a ring, they have not expressed an interest in your specific offering. Searchers looking for “ethical engagement ring” have already expressed a particular interest in your product angle. The same would apply for users searching for tailor made holidays, as opposed to the far more general term “holidays”.
It can be a great idea to bid on localised searches – often people like to look for a nearby service provider, meaning that could be one more edge you possess over your competitors.
So while it may still make commercial sense to bid on the all-encompassing competitive term – for example, SEO – it is likely to be a good idea to also bid on a more localised alternative – for example, Oxford Search Engine Optimisation.
The great thing about the web is that it is measurable. There is no need for guess work because many analytical tools exist to show you which keyword terms are the most successful.
Such programs will also reveal the bounce rate of a given keyword, allowing marketers to make timely decisions and to quickly move their budget to maximise potential returns.
For example, if you sell fancy dress outfits and bid on “Peter Pan”, then that could drive thousands of visitors to your pages.
However, if your analytics tools show 87% of those visitors leave straight away, then you can clearly see that this is not an appropriate term. Try adjusting it, maybe “Peter Pan costume” would result in fewer hits but more conversions.
What terms are your competitors bidding on? Positioning yourself above your peers is an important goal, both for raising your returns and simply gaining a strong and authoritative market presence.
It can be tricky to assess competitors’ search marketing efforts but it is not wasted time. As well as flagging up keywords it may be profitable to bid on, their pay-per-click advertising may also give you an insight into the focus of their organic efforts.
That can help you reassess the focus of your own, to ensure you remain in the strongest possible position.
The importance of each individual rule depends on your product. It is essential you keep track of your campaign’s returns and be prepared to change tack at short notice to keep ahead of the curve.
By Kevin Gibbons