You’ve heard of the three little PPC pigs right? The first PPCpig started building his account without conducting anykeyword search because it was the easiest thing to do. Thesecond PPC pig created a list of generic keywords whichmade his account a little stronger than the first. But thethird PPC pig spent time looking at his website, expandingupon relevant keyword variations, understanding hiscustomer, and utilizing keyword research tools which madehis PPC account was the strongest of all…I am sure that every PPC manager has their owntechnique/process for keyword research. So, this is just oneapproach to building your list. We’ll break the process downinto 6 steps. Keep in mind, you should complete all 6 stepsbefore you load your first keyword into your PPC campaign.
1. Identify your target audienceFirst, you need to determine who your PPC ads are targeting.From offline to online, your core customer probably isn’tgoing to change dramatically. But how you gain theirattention and capture it long enough for their interest to bepeaked is going to be different. You need to get into themindset of your audience/customers. Here are somequestions to ask:How would you describe your company/product/service tosomeone in 100 words or less? This description is filled withkeywords! Write them down.What are the attributes and/or benefits of yourproduct/service? People often don’t know exactly whatthey’re looking for, so they’ll use descriptors to search.What would you type in to the search engines to find your sitewithout using your name? That’s how people may besearching for you.If you follow these steps you should have a handful ofkeywords.
2. Review your existing materialsYou might be surprised that you already have keyword-richmaterials just lying around your office. Review yourprinted/collateral materials and your existing website. Simplyread through your sales letters, brochures, presentations,catalogs, trade show displays, press kits and just underlinethe keywords. 3. Review your website analyticsYour website analytics will provide a wealth of keywords thatpeople are using to find your site organically. Why re-inventthe wheel when you can already get some great insight as tohow your audience is thinking and how they are finding you.
4. Review your competitionMake a list of your top competitors and review their websites.You can get an idea of what they are targeting, and you canalso brainstorm on how you can set yourself apart and makeyour company/product/service unique. 3. Review your website analytics With the previous 4 steps you should have a pretty healthy start on your keyword list. Now, you need to find the variations for all of these keywords. Here are some free keyword research tools that we recommend: • Word tracker • Google AdWords Keyword Tool • Keyword Discovery • MSN Ad Intelligence
6. Sort your keywordsNow, you should have a very robust keyword list. Before youeven put one keyword in your PPC campaign you need tobreak your keywords down into groups that should rangefrom 5-20 keywords per group. This way your keywordgroups are tightly themed and you can write relevant,targeted ad texts.Following these steps to build you initial keyword list is agreat way to build a killer keyword list. Remember, thesuccess of every PPC campaign hinges on its keywords – somake them good!
When search engine marketing enters the conversation in PRcircles and vice versa, it’s usually search engine optimization,not pay per click that gets attention. However, there arenumerous opportunities to use the on-demand visibility ofPay Per Click as a method to attract visitors to news relatedcontent. Publishers of online news and media use Pay PerClick to create instant search visibility for hot and trendingnews stories. Here’s an example of the NY Times usingAdWords to promote a story about Twitter. You can also seefrom this screenshot via Spy Fu, some of the topical and timesensitive keyword phrases they’ve bid on to drive traffic tonews stories.PR professionals can do the same with brand names,company names or executive names that often get searchedon. PPC can be used to attract attention to specific newsitems, stories and content that is likely to be passed alongonce people get a chance to see it.
Start small. Once you start researching keywords it’s very easy tocreate a list of thousands upon thousands of keywords. It’simportant to focus on the quality of keywords rather than thequantity. The best keywords are the ones that are relevant to yourproducts or services and accurately reflect the content of yourwebsite. I recommend starting your PPC account with an initial listof a couple hundred keywords. Let these keywords run and thensee where your PPC account has opportunities for growth.Don’t be too general. General keywords are going to have a lot ofcompetition, which means a higher cost-per-click. For example,even though PPC is a form of advertising I wouldn’t bid on thekeyword “advertising”. Unless you have a large PPC budget, stayaway from very general keywords and focus on more specifickeywords that better describe what you offer.Don’t be too specific. Although specific keywords tend to performbetter than general keywords, being too specific can limit your adexposure if very few people are searching for it. For example, Iwouldn’t include “companies that can improve my ppcperformance” but instead just include “improve ppc performance”which will pick up traffic from those longer-tail search queries.
Keyword research is an on-going process, but starting off with astrong list of initial keywords will start you on the path to PPCsuccess.