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Choosing the Right Keywords: Google Best Practices

Official Guide to Effective Keyword Targeting and Management in AdWords.

Directly from Google, read these AdWords keywords best practices, designed to help you reach the right customers and grow your business.

1. Align keywords with business goals

  • Think holistically about how customers could reach you. 

Why: Your keywords should reflect all of the different types of user queries that could help someone find you when they’re looking for something you offer.

  • Align your keywords and their management with your overall business goals. 

Why: Different keywords have different purposes, and they should be held accountable to the goal that most aligns with their purpose.

  • Analyze your keyword list and delete low search volume keywords.

Why: Reduce clutter. If keywords aren’t going to drive any traffic for you, there’s no need to keep them around.

Read more about aligning keywords with business goals.

2. Manage match types for growth and control

  • Use broad match to capture long tail queries, reserve exact match for your primary volume and value drivers. 

Why: Maximize coverage on queries relevant to your business while keeping account management reasonable.

  • Don’t create minute variations of phrase/exact match keywords. 

Why: Phrase and exact match types expand to cover close keyword variations, so you don’t need to worry about creating additional keyword clutter in your AdWords account.

Read more about managing match types for growth and control.

3. Find new targeting opportunities in AdWords

  • Use Dynamic Search Ads to streamline account management. 

Why: Avoid the need for continual updates to your keyword lists every time you make a change to your site.

Read more about finding new targeting opportunities.

4. Expand the reach of existing keywords

  • Maximize the presence of your keywords by improving their Ad Rank. 

Why: Adding new targeting options isn’t the only way to grow volume. A more aggressive bid coupled with higher quality ads can drive volume on existing keywords.

  • Extend your reach to users that aren’t on by targeting search partners. 

Why: Get more volume from the same set of keywords in your account.

Read more about how to expand the reach of existing keywords.

5. Refine your traffic with negative keywords

  • Make negative keyword additions a regular part of AdWords account maintenance. 

Why: Save money by avoiding clicks from people that aren’t going to become customers.

  • Just like your main keywords, focus negative keyword management on the places that will do the most good. 

Why: Your account’s health depends on adding impactful, not exhaustive, negative keywords.

Read more about refining your traffic with negative keywords


Download a printable version of the guide and checklist.

This video references the previous version of AdWords. Learn how to check which version you're using.

View the summary video below:

Google Best Practices - Choose the Right Keywords

Keywords are what connect your ads to what people are searching for. Learn three quick ways to discover more keywords for your AdWords account. Find out more at


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