Selecting keywords for your PPC or search advertising can be overwhelming for any local business running their own advertising. How long should your search keywords be? Should they be broad or specific? Here are a few basic tips on creating an optimal PPC keyword list if you’re running your own Google AdWords or other search advertising to promote your local business.
Think Like a Consumer
When selecting keywords for your search advertising campaign, it’s important to think about how your potential customers are searching for your products and services. In addition to selecting search keywords related to your business category, you may also want to select keywords for your most popular products or services. You should also consider the reasons someone might be searching for your business type. For instance, if your business sells kitchen countertops, you probably want to reach consumers who are considering remodeling their kitchens. So in addition to “kitchen countertops,” you may also want your ad to show up for consumers searching for terms like “kitchen remodeling” or “redo my kitchen.” It’s also a good idea to choose keywords that are present on your business website. These keywords have the most relevance to your search ads because they are the terms a consumer expects to find on your website when they conduct a search.
Do Basic Keyword Research
Use Google’s Keyword Tool to come up with a list of related keywords you want to use in your search ads. When you type a core keyword or phrase into the tool, it provides related keywords as well as the search volume and competitiveness of the keywords. In general, you’ll want to select keywords that have a higher search volume but lower competition. However, for very specific keywords related to your business, the search volume may be low, but consumers searching for those phrases are also more likely to click on your ads and contact you.
Use Long-Tail Keywords
Long-tail keywords are phrases that contain three or more words and target a specific part of your business. Long-tail keywords typically have low search volume but also have a lower cost-per-click than more generic keywords because they are less competitive. These keywords usually result in higher quality leads from your search advertising because the searcher has specified exactly what they are looking for. This means if your ad matches their search query, the searcher is more likely to click your ad and convert into a customer.
Localize Your Keywords
Bidding on local keywords and using them in your search ads is a must for any local business. Because your goal is to reach consumers in your local area, using local keywords is an effective way to show your ads only to searchers in your target market. Modify your keywords with your neighborhood, city, or metro area, depending on the area you serve as well as the areas you think your customers are most likely to search for.
Include Qualifying Terms
Another way to create relevant keywords is to add descriptive words to your core keyword. For instance, if you install kitchen countertops, you can use keywords related to different materials to qualify the keyword “countertops,” such as “marble countertop installation,” “granite countertop installation,” or “stone countertop installation,” so your ad is more likely to be shown to consumers who search for those specific keywords.
Search queries are often framed in the form of a question, so you can use that phrasing to come up with relevant keywords. For example, a consumer may search for a phrase like “How do I install kitchen countertops?” or “How do I choose a kitchen countertop?” So choosing keywords like “install kitchen countertops” or “choose a kitchen countertop” is an effective way for you to reach consumers searching for those specific terms.
Identify Negative Keywords
You can also opt to identify negative keywords for your search advertising set up, which mean your ad will not be displayed when a consumer searches for that keyword. For example, if your countertops are high end, you may want to add words like “budget,” “discount,” or “cheap” to your negative keyword list. This tactic can help you make sure your ads are reaching only the most interested consumers, but beware. Using too many negative keywords can mean your ads are reaching fewer customers, which can potentially have a negative impact on your quality score. So use this tactic carefully.
Following these tips to selecting keyword is a great way to jump-start your PPC advertising. Once your ads are showing on the search engines, make sure to monitor their performance and refine your keyword list based on the results. If you’re looking for a more robust approach to your search engine advertising and keyword selection, contact a search engine advertising company that can provide keyword expertise as well as ongoing monitoring and optimization of your ads’ performance.
Tamara Weintraub helps equip small business owners with information about local online advertising, social media, and content marketing as a writer for the ReachLocal blog.
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