Everything You Need to Know About Google Ad Keywords

There is a lot more to Google Ad keywords than just typing some key words and phrases into a box when creating your campaign. This article will tell you everything you need to know about Google Ad keywords and more to help you be successful with Google Ads.

Everything You Need to Know About Google Ad Keywords

  1. How to research your keywords and competitively use them within your ad group
    • Learn how to research your competitors’ keywords and use Google’s Keyword Planner tool to select the best keywords for your campaign.
  2. The three different types of keywords and how to utilize them within your campaign
    • Understand how different types of keywords perform differently and will show your ad on varying searches.
  3. Utilizing negative keywords so that only the most relevant searches will see your ad
    • Understanding what searches you don’t want your ad to show on is important and using the proper negative keywords can help remove irrelevant searches and allow your ads to only be shown to the people most interested in your products or services.
  4. Weeding out weaker keywords so that only your top performing keywords are being used
    • Not all of your keywords will be successful, even if you follow all of the steps outlined above. It’s important to periodically check which of your keywords are pulling in clicks and which ones aren’t.
  5. Adding keywords if needed based on search results
    • Checking your search results often will tell you which searches your ad is showing for. This will also tell you which searches are giving you clicks and which searches your ad is showing on that are irrelevant to your product.

1.  How to Research Keywords

There are a couple of different ways to research the keywords you would like to use or to do research to find good keywords for your ad group. For this article we will be focusing on three different strategies that you can use to find the best possible keywords for your campaign.

A: Google Keyword Planner – Within Google Ads there is a tab called Keyword Planner which allows you to type in possible keywords and get real time data on how many people are searching that keyword, the approximate cost for that keyword, and Google will also give you suggestions for other keywords based on the ones you enter into the keyword planner. This is a wonderful tool to utilize because of the accurate information it can provide you with. This tool can also be used when creating ad groups. Typing in keywords from a couple different categories or products will tell you which products are higher in demand and which products aren’t searched for very often.

B: Using Competitor’s Keywords – A great way to determine which keywords are successful is to use Google to search up keywords and see if your competitors are using them. Especially when it comes to larger companies, the keywords they use for their ads are typically successful ones. This allows you to use the same keywords as your competitors to reach the most people and directly compete with other companies. This strategy can take longer if you are blindly typing in keywords but can give you a really good insight to what your competitors are using within their ads and which keywords are proving to be successful for other businesses.

C: Google’s Search Suggestions – If you enter a keyword into Google and then scroll all the way down to the bottom of the first page it will give you similar keyword suggestions that other people are also searching for. This can give you additional ideas for strong keywords that you may not have initially thought of for your ad group. You can then take these suggestions and put them into the keyword planner to see how they perform compared to your other keywords and add them to your ad group to reach a broader audience with your ads.

2.  The Three Different Kinds of Keywords

Broad Match Keywords – Broad match keywords are the default type of keyword unless otherwise specified when creating your ad groups. They allow you to reach broader audiences by showing your ad on user searches that are related to your keyword. Google’s system automatically runs your ad on searches that are related variations of your keyword such as synonyms, misspellings, and other similar searches that may not contain the exact keyword terms. To help show the most relevant matches Google may also look into the user’s recent searches, the content of your landing page, and other keywords within the ad group to greater understand the content of the keyword.

Phrase Match Keywords – Phrase match keywords show to people searching for your exact keywords and for very close variations of your keyword. Phrase match is a great choice for keywords because it is more targeted that broad match and more flexible than exact match. This gives you more control over your ads and who sees your ad based on their search. Close variants of your keyword with phrase match can include misspellings, singular and plural forms, acronyms, abbreviations, synonyms, accents, implied terms, and paraphrases. If additional unrelated terms are entered in between two words within your keyword phrase your ad will not be shown on that search. With phrase match words can be rearranged but the meaning of the phrase must remain the same for your ad to be shown on that search.

Exact Match Keywords – Exact match keywords will only show your ad to the searches that are most like your keyword. Close variants such as spelling and grammars differences will also be shown. Exact match keywords give you the most control over your search results and can often result in a much higher click through rate. However, it severely limits your reach with customers so it is best used when you are confident that you know your audience and the exact terms they are searching for.

When to Use the Different Keyword Types – To get the best result out of your keywords it is recommended you use a combination of all three types of keywords. You will find that some keywords will perform better as a certain type than other keywords. The best way to determine this is typically through trial and error and keeping a close eye on which of your keywords are performing well and which of them are falling behind as your campaign grows.

3.  Utilizing Negative Keywords

Negative keywords work to exclude certain terms from your ad group so that you can focus on only the keywords that matter to you and your customers. This allows you to target your ads better and increase your campaign’s ROAS. Negative keywords can also be broad match, phrase match, or exact match when entered into the ad group. However, unlike regular keywords, negative keywords do not apply to close variants so you could still get some unwanted searches with your negative keywords in place. You can always add negative keywords when creating your campaign, but it is often best to go off of search terms. Especially as your campaign is growing it is important to check what search terms are triggering your ads and then decide if you want to include or exclude those search terms within your campaign.

It is important to note that using too many keywords or using unnecessary negative keywords can make it harder for you to reach your target audience. It is important to exclude what is irrelevant but be careful not to exclude too much so as to not hinder the reach your ad group has. Finding a balance between weeding out what is irrelevant to your ads without restricting your ad’s reach to potential customers can be difficult to achieve but will give your ads the most potential for success.

4.  Removing Lower Performing Keywords from Your Ad Group

A white sketch on a black background of a person throwing a piece of trash into a waste basket
Throwing away unnecessary items

Sometimes the keywords that you put into an ad group, no matter how relevant they are, will not perform to the same level as your other keywords. When removing poor performing keywords it is important to look over an extended period of time and not just for the last 7 days or another shorter time frame. Any keyword that has been consistently performing with a CTR (click-through-rate) of less than 1% should be removed from your ad group. The exact period of time that you should look for can vary per ad group depending on the type of market you are advertising to, but it is always safest to wait 2 months or more to be sure that your keyword is actually not working and not just experiencing lower traffic due to the time of year or market changes.

Taking out poor performing keywords helps focus your ad group’s budget to only the keywords that are bringing in the most traffic to your web page. This will optimize your ad group so that your best keywords will show the most ads and therefore bring in the most amount of web traffic for your product or service. This is not something that should be done regularly, but can be an important factor to note and keep track of if your campaign is not performing as well as you would like it to.

5.  Adding Keywords Based on Search Terms

Just as you can utilize your search terms for creating negative keywords, you can also use it to add keywords to your ad group. It can be difficult to think of every possible search your prospective customers may type in when searching for your product or service. Search terms shows you what search queries your ad is showing on. Most of the time these search terms will be very closely related to what you already have in place for keywords, but your broad match keywords can bring in other search results that you may want to add as official keywords to your ad group to broaden your reach with prospective customers.

Commonly Asked Questions:

What should my budget be?

While it greatly varies between different business and different campaigns, I tend to set most of my campaigns at a starting budget of $5. I watch my new campaigns closely and if they perform well, I might raise the budget. However, if they do not perform well, I make sure to quickly fix the problem or lower the budget if the campaign is hurting the overall account.

How do I know if my campaign is performing well?

While what is considered “good performance” greatly varies from business to business, there are a few things to look for when you’re first getting started. A CTR (click-through-rate) of 2% or higher is considered a good interaction rate with your website, and anything below a 1% is very bad. When looking at conversions, the best tool to use is the Conversion Value/Cost. This calculates your ROAS (return on ad investment) and a ROAS higher than 4 is generally considered good.


Related Articles:

How to Set up a Search Campaign in Google Ads

How to Set up a Display Campaign in Google Ads

How to Set up a Shopping Campaign in Google Ads

How to Set up a Smart Campaign in Google Ads

The Different Google Ad Extensions and How to Use Each One

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