Choose the right Google Ads keywords for effective targeting

Align keywords with business goals


Follow this Google Ads keyword strategy guide to think holistically about all the different ways that potential customers could reach you.

Introduction

Consumers are constantly connected — a computer at work, a smartphone on the go and a tablet when lounging at home. Throughout the day, users search for what they want, whether that takes the form of shopping, research or staying entertained.

As people search for things on Google, advertisers target those searches, or queries, using keywords. The relationship between queries and keywords is at the heart of search advertising with Google Ads.

We hope that the keyword best practices outlined here will take your account’s performance to the next level.

Think holistically about how customers could reach you

For most advertisers, their Google Ads accounts are powered by keywords. There are a host of different sources available to you to find the right ones. Regardless of the sources that you use to generate your keywords, you should think holistically about all the different ways that potential customers could reach you.

Here are the biggest sources you should consider when determining how to find new keywords:

 
  • Your Website
    Stay on top of your site’s offerings. Find any gaps between your site’s content and your keyword list.
  • Your Products
    Be sure that you’re bidding on core product keywords. When your audience is at the end of the buying cycle they’ll be searching for a specific product or service. If you’re a retailer, things like product names and models can make for high-performing keywords.
  • Your Brand
    Remember the value of your branded terms as well. If you deal with multiple products, add keywords that are combinations of your brand name and high-volume products that people often search for in the same query.

Tip

Don’t forget to include brand URLs as keywords. Some people search for URLs on Google if they only recall the brand and not your exact website.

 

The Research Process of Your Customers

What are all of the different ways that they could potentially search for what you’re offering? Map out their research process and be sure that you’re present at every step.

Pay particular attention to keywords that are rich with commercial intent (a common example is terms with “buy” in them). Think of words in your industry that can reveal a similar act-now mindset.

Tip

Beware of bidding on terms that include qualifiers like “free” or “discounted.” If you do, make sure that you have free trials or discounts that actually meet the user’s expectations.

 

Other Advertisers in the Market

Research other sites in your vertical and see if there are any concepts or themes that you aren’t currently taking advantage of in your own keyword list.

Did you know...

When looking for new keywords, remember that long tail can sometimes be too long. Compared to shorter keywords (those with two to four words), keywords that contain five words or more drive less than half the volume of clicks and impressions on average. It’s a similar story for keyword character length — keywords with 30 or more characters (including spaces) also drive fewer than half the clicks and impressions on average than shorter keywords. Longer keywords take more effort to define and deliver less than half the volume, so spending time on them may not be in your best interest.


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

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 g.co/GoogleBP.

Align your keywords and their management with your overall business goals

Organizing your keywords into well defined groupings often makes it easier for you to manage and maintain your account. This may correspond to the customer’s journey, for example grouping upper funnel vs lower funnel keywords. You may group keywords by performance targets, such as cost-per-acquisition, margin or profitability. Alternatively you may want to group keywords by business structure, such as product line, brand or geography.

Keywords are often grouped at the campaign level for greater budgetary control. For the budget constrained, your account structure should allow you to maximize the number of clicks and conversions for your most important keyword groups.

Do it now: Add, edit, or remove your keywords

 

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

Google Best Practices - Classify Your Brand and Generic Keywords

People can use either generic or brand keywords to find you. Review the differences between these types of keywords so that you can manage them more effectively in AdWords. Find out more at g.co/GoogleBP.

Analyze your keyword list and delete low search volume keywords

Watch out for low search volume keywords. These terms often haven’t driven a single impression in months or even years because people aren’t performing searches on them (not because your bid isn’t winning any auctions). Delete them if you have other keywords that could potentially cover that traffic should search volume ever pick up. It’ll make your account more streamlined and easier to manage.

 

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