Keyword research is the lifeblood of the Google Ads Search Network.
To have your ads show up, you have to target and bid on specific keywords in your industry. For instance, if you sell handbags, you’d want to target common searches that real people conduct when looking to buy handbags.
But frequently, finding the right keywords that you can afford to bid on without sinking your budget feels next to impossible.
Especially when competitors are dominating the top ad spots with higher bids than you.
In this section, you’ll learn the ins and outs of keyword research
to start your campaign off on the right foot.
Start With The Google Keyword PlannerThe best place to start keyword research for your first campaign is right on Google Ads itself, utilizing Google’s own keyword tool.
Why? Because you can get clear suggestions on basic topics without knowing much about keyword research in the first place.
For instance, if you haven’t ever done keyword research before, it’s hard to know where to start.
When you fire up the keyword planner, you can enter topics and phrases or even URLs from your own site (or others). Google will then create ideas for you:
To start, simply enter a summary about your business in 1-3 words:
Hit “Get Started,” and you will find an entire list of curated keyword ideas:
Wonderful, but confusing, right?
This new list contains tons of potential keywords for your next campaign.
But it’s also complex when it comes to bidding information.
On the right-hand side of your columns, focus your attention and effort on the following metrics:
Top of the page bid low and high. These are the amounts of money you need to bid (per click) on each keyword to be at the top of the first page or the bottom of the first page.
This gives you an idea of what you can expect to spend on keywords.
Want to rank first? You will be paying something close to
“Top of the page bid (high).”
Next, look at the average monthly searches and competition levels for keywords that interest you.
You want a mix of high and low volume keywords.
Generally speaking, most keywords with higher average monthly searches will have more competition. But they will also be more general in nature, leading to fewer sales.
Having a mix of both will give you specificity and tons of traffic that you can remarket.
The key with keywords (pun intended) is to analyze intent behind the search.
When keywords are closer to the bottom of your funnel, you can expect more direct conversions without the need for remarketing.
More generic terms, like “tv reviews,” are clearly not looking to buy from you yet.
When selecting new keywords for your campaign, you need to match them to your goals.
Ask yourself the following before selecting a keyword:
❓ Is this campaign meant to drive new sales?
❓ Is it meant to bring in new traffic and turn them into brand-aware leads that can be converted into sales later?
Always analyze the intent behind a keyword before you run with it.
Match keywords directly to your campaign goals.
If you want to sell more shoes in this campaign, focus on keywords that are lower in the funnel. If you want to educate people about your shoe brand, target top of the funnel review searches.
After compiling a big list of potential keywords using the keyword tool, you can move on to using a few more tools that can help you dig deeper into potential ideas by investigating your competition.
How to Use Third-Party Tools To Spy on The Competition’s KeywordsThe keyword planner is a great start to generate basic ideas and get a feel for keyword research.
But nothing beats spying on competitors and seeing what keywords they target and find success with.
If you aren’t sure who your competition is, conduct a basic search on Google for a keyword that you found using the keyword planner:
You should be able to find multiple companies bidding on the terms you searched for. These are your competitors, and they likely have tons of experience that you can steal with a few nifty tools.
SEMRush, a Goldmine of Informations
To start, open up SEMRush and create a free account.
In the search bar, type in your competitor’s website and hit “Search.”
On the left-hand side, click “Advertising Research” to pull up all of your competitors’ Google PPC history:
Here you can analyze their current keywords, positions for those keywords, costs per click that they pay and even their landing pages.
It’s a goldmine of information. Your competitors have already done the research on the most effective keywords.
And using the “Traffic %” column, you can see which keywords generate the most traffic for their site, giving you ideas of how much you need to spend to outrank them and steal their traffic.
Use this tool to analyze a few of your top competitors and piggyback off their existing work to dominate Google Ads.
SpyFu, to Know Your Competitors’ Whole Google Ads History
Next, you can utilize SpyFu to find more keywords and even real ads that your competitors have written along with performance metrics to see which value propositions work with those specific keywords.
After typing in your competitor’s website, navigate to the “Google Ads History” tool on your menu:
This will display the most current and even historical versions of their ads, including metrics like ad position to show you which are working best.
Analyze metrics like coverage to see what percentage of searches return that specific ad.
Use these as jumping off points in your next campaign for both keyword and call to action ideas that can help you improve performance without the need to experiment on your own.
Branded Search Terms: What Are They And Why Should You Bid on Them?Branded search terms are a confusing aspect of Google Ads that will likely generate multiple answers depending on whom you ask.
Branded terms, to put it simply, are search terms/keywords with your brand name in them.
For instance, targeting the keyword “AdEspresso” would be a branded term for AdEspresso since it’s based on the brand name itself.
The common dilemma that arises when discussing branded terms is usually about paying for terms that are going to click on your organic listings anyway.
Who wants to pay money for clicks that most likely are going to click on your organic listing?
Nobody. But more often than not, that’s not the case.
Not when competitors are almost always bidding on your own branded terms:
Conduct a search for nearly any brand, and you will find competitors leeching off their branded terms hoping to steal clicks from their business.
If you aren’t bidding on your own branded terms, you open the door for your competition to potentially take your leads and sales with ease.
The plus side of branded terms is that they are dirt cheap:
They are often even cheaper than what keyword tools will tell you due to increased quality scores naturally.
Since your website has everything to do with the branded term, your quality score will be 8-10 without any extra work, driving your costs down while your competitors pay more.
Still not convinced? Check out this search when looking for the branded term of Budget rental car service:
Budget ranks first, which is excellent. But their competitor is offering an insane deal: 80% off compared to Budget’s offer of 35%.
Imagine if Budget wasn’t running ads. It’s likely that this other competitor would be stealing tons of sales due to a better offer and no competition.
The fact of the matter is: branded terms are cheap, and they help you ward off competitors. Most of your branded clicks will go to organic listings anyway, meaning you barely will be paying for them.
But it’s better to pay a few dollars for clicks than lose potential customers.
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