Keyword Research Strategies for Cost-Effective Paid Search Campaigns

Mar 8, 2017 | Industry Updates

There’s a lot that goes into the success of a PPC campaign, but the critical ingredient in any healthy campaign is solid keyword research.

The next two important factors: the competitiveness of your bid and the effectiveness of your ad copy. The factors below combine to decide your PPC campaign’s fate—will it sink or swim?


Here’s Why Keywords Matter to PPC Campaigns

Putting together your PPC ads is not the time to get dreamy and hope for the best. There are a few smart assumptions you can make going into your ad set up that will provide some initial guidance.

For example, about one-third of searchers will be drawn to ads; the others will wander over to natural search results. It’s easy to see why; paid ads are usually right smack at the top of the results page, with additional color and call-outs—just begging for a click!


Now, remember that there is going to be a slice of your competition that you just can’t control. There are some companies out there with deep pockets that will bid like crazy to stay on top. As frustrating as that is—if you try to outbid them, you’re likely not going to profitable.

Introducing the beauty of good keyword research.

Performing good research on the front end can save you oodles of money and can help ensure that your PPC campaigns are performing for your business. This is the real secret to good ROI for your PPC efforts.


The Basics of Keyword Research

You can talk to 10 people and discover 10 tips and favorite tricks for performing keyword research.

There are endless advisors and opinions floating around the Web on keyword research best practices; there’s also a lot of freebie—and paid—tools to help you perform fast and effective research. However, despite the cacophony from the peanut gallery, there are some bona fide best practices you can follow.

Here’s a summary of our favorite keyword research tips.

  • Don’t obsess over the traffic numbers. Obsess over the visitors (as in, who are they? Are they the right fit for your business?). Through this, you can generate a ton of traffic and bid your heart out on keywords—but if you’re not attracting the right people to your website, it’s all a moot point.
  • Common sense comes in handy. We’re not being sarcastic—we mean it. You need to give every keyword a good, objective look to see if it truly is valuable for your business. If you’re an ice cream shop, is “strawberry sundae” the right search words for you? If customers come to your website and look for that strawberry sundae, are they going to be able to find it? Thinking logically through each keyword will help you filter out the ones that won’t be helpful to you—or your prospective customers.
  • Check out the competition. Go ahead, perform a search and see what pops up. What websites are ranking right now for the words you put into the search box? If the results are overrun with ads, you may have a high-value search term on your hands.
  • There’s no shame in testing. Are you on the fence about a search term? Just buy a modest ad and see if the traffic does anything for you. If it’s not converting after, say, 300 clicks, then it’s probably time to move on.
  • Don’t underestimate the long tails. 70% of search terms are long tail. Meaning, they aren’t just looking for a blanket term like “ice cream,” searchers may be after “rainbow ice cream sprinkle sundae in Los Angeles.” See the difference? One is…well, vague. The other is nitty gritty. What this does for you is filter out the folks who are simply browsing; it helps you target the “Just tell me where to put my credit card number” searchers.


Alternative Strategy: Exact Match Domain Names

Here’s a secret that is not so secret: Google loves exact match domain names!

Exact match domain names have been considered a golden ticket because they match the exact keyword in the URL and match the exact search query.

Sites could be packed with impressive content or….hardly anything at all, yet Google gives these exact match domain names the red carpet when it comes to ranking. Whether it’s branded search or an assumption that the site delivers high relevancy, Google basically gives these types of sites a free pass.

You’ll have to do the math, but it may be worth considering to purchase an exact match domain (dot org, dot com, whatever) for your keywords and a fast-pass to ranking.


MatchCraft AdVisor to the Rescue!

Your ad copy matters—a lot. Your ad taxonomy is a key driver to packaging up your keyword choice and your ad format—to result in an enticing, click-worthy ad.

MatchCraft’s AdVisor is a solution that helps our clients operate lightning fast. It automatically generates keywords, phrases and full blown ad copy—so you can execute quickly and efficiently for your clients.