Over the past few weeks we’ve laid a good foundation for an effective Internet marketing strategy. We’ve discussed the basic elements for search engine marketing including page optimization, best practices for metadata and how to quickly get traffic to your site through paid search marketing (pay per click, or PPC). Today we’re going to talk about how to go about forming that perfect list of keywords for both your website and your PPC campaigns to make sure you’re getting the type of traffic you need and not wasting advertising dollars on traffic that will never convert to dollars.
After you’ve built your PPC ads it’s time to select the search terms you want your ads to be displayed next to. Effective keyword research is essential to ensure your PPC campaigns will be a success. There are a few key points to keep in mind when conducting your research and several ways to determine what your best keywords.
Target – Have a clear idea of what your goals are and what you want to achieve. Do you want to generate leads for kitchen and bath remodeling work for homeowners in a given area or are you targeting rooter work and unstops for commercial locations?
Relevancy – Whatever goals you’ve set for your campaign make sure your keywords (and ad copy) reflect those goals. Keep keyword choices on topic for each ad groups’ goal. Resist the temptation to try to be found for every type of service you offer with a single ad and a huge list of keywords. If the overarching goal for your PPC campaign is to increase leads for all types of service jobs then create ads targeted for each individual type of service and use keywords only relevant to that specific service ad group.
Think Like a Lead – This step goes hand in hand with targeting goals for your PPC campaign as well as their relevancy. Here, it’s important that you use keywords and phrases that your ideal prospect would most likely use to search for the service their needing. Avoid technical jargon or industry lingo used to describe what you do unless that would be the most popular way a potential client might search for the service. If the goal of your ad campaign is to attract leads more in tune with the industry-speak associated with what you’re offering you may consider running a separate ad campaign using those specific search phrases as your keywords
Get Specific – Make sure keywords are worth the effort. Too little volume for your chosen keywords will make a campaign seem ineffective, when it’s actually the keyword choices that have limited the campaign’s success. You want to narrow your keyword focus enough to make sure you’re only attracting the right type of visitor to your site, but an ad that has a keyword list full of search terms that absolutely no one is searching for will bring you absolutely no traffic or sales!
Get Negative – All PPC services I’ve dealt with have allow you to supply a list of negative keywords to help filter out traffic that you don’t want coming to your site. For example, at ShuBee we sell a lot of shoe covers and have several ad campaigns targeting different variations of that keyword. Unfortunately shoe covers are not specific just to the industries we cater too. There are several different types shoe covers available for cyclists too! I have nothing against cyclists at all, but the odds of a person searching for “Giordana Wintex shoe covers” will find any interest in our ads promoting shoe covers for plumbers. Also, I don’t want to run the risk of depleting my ad budget on clicks from Googlers searching for “women’s high heel shoe covers.” Neither of these search terms match my campaign’s goals nor match up with any of my target audiences, so they’re in my negative keyword list. This is a great way to further refine the focus of the keywords you do want to target.
Check Competitors – Constantly seeing your competition’s ads show but not yours? Use a tool like SEM Rush (http://www.semrush.com) or SpyFu (http://www.spyfu.com) to get a better understanding of what keywords they’re using and possibly uncover some gold nuggets you hadn’t considered!
Still need some help picking out keywords? Luckily there are some great tools available to help make suggestions for you. Google has their own keyword suggestion tool in AdWords to help jumpstart your brainstorming process: (http://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal). Keep in mind though when using this or any other keyword research tool – no one knows your prospects, advertising goals or market like you do and it’s going to take your expertise to put together the most effective keyword list to ensure your PPC campaigns are a success!