One of the most fundamental steps if you plan to run search ads (aka PPC ads or Paid Search) on Google is the Keyword Research Process. Without the right set of keywords in place from the beginning you risk wasting budget on irrelevant terms and getting frustrated with the lack of results from your Google Ads search campaign. But what do you need to do to select the right keywords, and how can you get started? This guide shows you how.
Step 1: Common Sense
You have the knowledge, even if you don’t know it. First use what you know about your product or service to shortlist words and phrases that you think you would want to show up for in the Google search results.
Step 2: Your Website
It’s likely that your website already has a scattering of relevant keywords on it. Why would you spend time and money creating a great looking website for your customers and make it completely irrelevant to what you do? Assuming that your website is on message, scour the pages to identify common words and phrases that represent what your business is about.
Step 3: Your Competitors
What if your common sense and your website have blinkers? It can happen – after all, we don’t know what we don’t know. This is where competitor research comes in. Identify five competitors and visit their websites and social media profiles to see which words and phrases they use to describe their product/service. The chances are that you will discover a couple of keywords that you hadn’t previously thought of.
Step 4: Keyword Planners
Now you have a basic idea of the keywords you will use in your campaign it’s time to bring out the big guns. With their gargantuan databases of real-time data on what people are searching for services like SEMrush, Moz, aHrefs and Google Keyword Planner will allow you to get a sense of what other keywords might be out there that you hadn’t thought of. They also provide volumes (see next point).
Step 5: Run the Numbers
By this stage you probably have an extensive list of potential keywords to use in your campaign. But all keywords are not created equal, and you need to figure out which ones to weed out. The same keyword planning tools that are mentioned above will help you do this by providing two important metrics: Keyword Volume and Keyword Competition. The former will help you understand how many people are searching for each keyword (there’s little point creating ads for a keyword that gets <10 searches a month), and the latter will help you understand how difficult/expensive it is to bid on that keyword.
Step 6: Rinse and Repeat
By running the numbers you may have discarded a bunch of keywords on the basis of them having too few searches or being too competitive. At this point you might want to go through steps 1 to 5 again until you find your ideal set of keywords that provide you the relevant traffic you deserve at a cost that is acceptable.
Keyword research is never complete, but at least by following this process you can get a head start and bring structure and data to your keyword set and give your search campaign the best chance of achieving great results.