5 Tips and Tools To Help You Create A Killer Keyword List For Your AdWords/PPC Campaigns

Posted on 12th December, 2006

I used to think that having twenty or thirty keywords in my AdWords campaign is enough to ensure my success in that campaign. After all, how hard is it to cover all the possible keyword variations simply by using AdWords’s phrase match or broad match feature for my main keywords?

If you do not know what “phrase match” and “broad match” matching options mean, check out AdWords FAQ for some explanation.

Anyway, let me give you an example, if I were selling tennis shoes from my website, I would use the phrase “tennis shoes” – including the quotation marks – in my keyword list so that my ad will be triggered when people’s searches include that keyword such as:

“tennis shoes”
“buy tennis shoes”
“cheap tennis shoes”

This looks easy enough but a problem arise when someone searches for “tennis shoes for kids”

If I do not sell tennis shoes for kids on my website, my ad will still appear and might attract clicks from those people. When this happens, I’ll still pay for those untargeted clicks which is harder to convert into purchase.

Don’t get me wrong, broad match or phrase match have their use in certain situation. However if you want to be in control of your campaigns, you need to know which specific keywords perform the best and which don’t. Then you can concentrate on those better performing keywords.

Simply using broad match or phrase match for all your important keywords is like shooting in the dark, you do not know whether you’ve hit the bull’s eye or how you hit it.

While having ten or twenty well-chosen keywords may bring most of the traffic, it does not cover all possible niches. Some experts recommend that you should have at least 200, probably more. When armed with more keywords, you have a better chance of identifying the specific keywords that work best for your niche and at the same time help you lower your advertising cost.

So how do you find these 200 keywords for your campaign? The following tips may be able to help you to do just that.


1. Think Like Your Customer.

Think of the keywords that might be used by potential customers to find your products or services. You may think that you know all the technical terms used to described your niches but remember that your potential clients may not. Ask your friends, employers or anybody for some ideas.


2. Spy Your Competitors

Go to Google and search for products or services similar to yours. Then check the source code of the page and note down the keywords and description tags. Do you see any keyword which you haven’t considered?


3. Do Your Own Search

Go to any search engine and do a search for the keywords in your niche. Pay close attention to any related keywords that appear in the search results. You can also use a dictionary or thesaurus to find related keywords.

If you are selling software as an example, visit a directory and find the category where your software is listed under. Then check out your competitors’ software title and description listed on that page. Use them to find new keywords to advertise under but be sure not to violate any copyright requirements.


4. Use Online Suggestion Tools

Once you’ve came up with your initial preliminary list of keywords, go to Yahoo Search Marketing Keyword Selector Tool to find related searches for the keywords and find out how many searches this keyword gets in a month.

Another excellent tool that you can use is AdWords’s own Keyword Tool. I find this tool indispensable in my ad campaigns. It’s an excellent tool to help you identify potential keywords, including competition and search volume.

Since both these tools are free, chances are, your competition is probably using them as well. If that’s the case, you might want to consider using paid tools such as WordTracker.


5. Refine Your Keyword List

Toss out crap keywords by adding them as negative keywords. Another strategy is you can use geographic location with your keywords.

If you are selling computer hardware in your town, you can use keywords such as “computer shop kota kinabalu”. If you are selling nationally, you can use a map or listing of cities and create a keyword for the cities or town where you products or services are available. You might also want to consider geo targeting.

Repeat steps 1 to 5 to expand your list.


  • sunda it says:

    Hmm.. very useful info to people who interested in Adwords campign. We may use the “broad match” to gain instant traffic to our site but we need to prepare a huge bucks for it. He he…isn’t it Gaman? 😉

  • Gaman says:

    Yes and it depends on the keyword popularity also.

  • Damon says:

    I’ve used all of these stratigies for my own campaigns, and I can testify that they will work!

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