By Reinaldo R. Reyes on Sep 9, 2021
PPC (pay-per-click) keyword research has become an essential part of any online marketing campaign. If you know the best keywords to target, it won’t really matter how much traffic your website is getting; you’ll be able to make valuable conversions by attracting the right customers.
Keyword research is vital because it helps you figure out what your target audience is searching for online. Then, you can use these words and phrases to create specific ad campaigns, find content ideas, monitor the competition more effectively, conduct social media marketing, build links on other sites and much more.
After reading this article, you’ll better understand how to get started with PPC keyword research. And if you can’t do it all yourself, Umbrella Local offers Google advertising services.
If you’re not familiar with PPC, here’s a brief introduction. Pay-per-click (PPC) is an abbreviation that refers to online advertising where you pay for each click on your ad. The most common types of PPC advertising are Google AdWords and Facebook Ads. Each company has its own processes, but the general idea is that you create an ad, set a daily budget, decide on a geographical location, and then you’re off and running.
The main benefit of PPC advertising is the ability to hyper-focus on your target audience by their interests, demographics, geographical locations and prior search history. This is a huge advantage over older, “legacy” forms of advertising like television or radio ads, which are broadcast to a much less targeted audience.
PPC keyword research aims to find the right words and phrases that your audience is searching for online. You can then place low-cost, highly relevant ads on top search engines and niche websites that are closely related to your business.
However, finding these keywords and phrases isn’t always easy. So, let’s get started with an overview of the most essential PPC keyword research tips and techniques.
Keyword research is a process where you identify all of the words and phrases related to your business, website, products and services. By keeping track of these words and phrases, you can use them to advertise online in the Google network and other places.
Keywords fall into two broad categories: intent-based and informational. Let’s start with the first one.
An intent-based keyword is a search term people use that indicates they are ready to make a purchase or take some sort of action.
Here is an example of an intent-based keyword: “Buy Nikon digital camera online.” Notice that the word or phrase is not in a question form. This means that person has already decided to buy something (a camera), decided on the brand (Nikon), and is simply looking for the best place to buy it.
Here’s another intent-based keyword example: “Best places to eat in Manhattan.” This person has already decided to go out for dinner tonight in Manhattan and is looking for suggestions on where to go.
In the above examples, the user is past the research portion of their search and simply looking to fulfill the action they have already decided on. They’re looking for things like price comparisons (in the camera example) or reviews of restaurants (in the best places to eat example), but they already know what they intend to do.
Let’s contrast that with informational keywords.
An informational keyword is used when someone is looking for information or assistance on a subject but has not yet decided what action to take. This is an example of an informational keyword: “Should I buy a digital camera.”
This person doesn’t know much about digital cameras and is looking for information to help them decide if they should get one and probably what type of camera to buy. They haven’t yet decided on a brand or model, so they’re still in the research phase of their buying cycle.
Here are two more examples of informational keywords: “Best film for portrait photography” and “What’s the best camera brand.” These phrases indicate that people want to know what the best brands or models are, and they’re looking for information to help them decide.
KEYWORD RESEARCH TIP: Most people begin their search for something they want to buy at the informational phase of the buying cycle. They’re looking for information and reviews and may not know precisely what product or service they wish to purchase. This means that your top keywords should be informational in nature with intent-based keywords added toward the end of the process when you already have some specific ideas of what your ad should say.
Now that we know the two types of keywords, let’s talk about how to find them. That’s where keyword research comes in. It helps you to identify a large number of search terms and phrases that match your business, so you can focus on those when placing ads online.
As any Google advertising services expert will tell you, keyword research is crucial because it allows you to focus your online advertising on precisely the terms and phrases that are most relevant to your business. By doing keyword research, you can find all of the different ways people search for products like yours so that you can tailor your ads to those terms.
The more specific or niche the word or phrase is, the more likely it’s a high-value keyword. For example, let’s say you own an online health supplement store and want to advertise your energy boost pill.
“Energy boost pill” could potentially be a great keyword for your business if people are actually searching for it online. But what if they’re not? For example, you could run an ad for this keyword, and it may not perform very well because there simply aren’t enough people searching for “energy boost pill” to make it worthwhile.
Keyword research helps you identify keywords that have a large search volume but are more specific so that you can use those terms in your ads yet get good results.
Here’s another example: Let’s say you own a restaurant called “Joe’s Burgers.”
You could look for keywords that are really broad such as “burgers” or even just “food.” But there are thousands of other businesses competing for those terms. You’ll get lost in the noise and won’t be able to attract a lot of customers. Instead, you could choose keywords that are more specific to your restaurant, like “best burgers in San Diego” or “Joe’s Burgers menu.”
When starting out, the easiest way to find informational keywords is with Google Suggest, because it gives you keyword ideas for any popular search engine. Google Suggest is also known as Google Autocomplete, the suggestions that appear in the dropdown menu when you start typing a search term into Google.
You’ll want to start by entering what we refer to as a “starter term,” which is a short question based on your product or service. Let’s use the example of sneakers. By starting to type the term “best sneakers” into Google, the autosuggest tool begins to return searches users have already entered in the past such as:
These suggested search terms are based on actual terms entered into the search engine by other users over time, and they represent the best real-time indicator of what people are actively searching for. This can give you really valuable insight and save you time by narrowing down your keyword list.
Informational keywords are a treasure trove, because they tell you the problems people want to solve regarding your product. And remember, marketing is all about offering a solution to problems.
Think about the result “best sneakers for standing all day.” These are people who work on their feet…nurses, waiters, people who work in retail. They’re searching because their current sneakers aren’t providing the comfort and protection that they need to do their job. That’s a huge opportunity for you to offer your product as the solution to this problem.
After you’ve done your initial research, you’ll already have a good idea of what keywords to target. If your product or service is unique enough, there should be quite a few high-value informational terms and phrases that you can use in your ads.
From there, you’ll want to take the information keywords you developed and make intent-based versions of them. To do this, we simply take the informational keywords we developed and apply intent to them. And remember, intent generally means the user wants to know two things: price and location.
In other words, “Where can I get the lowest price and the closest location for this product?”
So, in the above results, we had the best sneakers for nurses. Let’s apply some location-based terms to make this an intent keyword. Things like:
See what those all have in common? First, we know what product they’re looking for, which is great, but more importantly, we know what they intend to do when they find it. This is why intent-based keywords are so important. We already know they’re going to convert into a sale!
This is the power of converting information keywords into intent-based ones. We’ve developed a list of eager buyers ready to purchase as soon as they find you by making a slight change in the phrasing. And because intent-based keywords are longer than informational keywords, there is less competition for them, meaning their price-per-click is lower. So, you’re literally paying less for people who buy more consistently.
PPC advertising has changed the game in the world of advertising. Gone are the days of ads being displayed to consumers who had zero interest in what you were selling. Instead, by doing proper keyword research, you can make sure your ads are shown to people “in the know” and eager to buy from you.
By following the tips in this article, you’ll be able to develop highly targeted keywords that reach people ready to buy from you ASAP. Of if you need help strategizing and launching your PPC campaigns, contact your local marketing agency, Umbrella Local to discuss Google advertising services.
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