Creating a Keyword List
Great keywords require analysis, strategy, and cleverness
If you're going to find your buyers in a sea of six billion daily Google searchers (99.999+% of whom are not buyers), you're going to have to put some time into understanding how to choose keywords that can limit who gets to see your ad to the real potential buyers.
However. Google, and most "experts, and most of your "advisors", are going to tell you to focus on keywords that get a lot of "traffic". They are going to suggest using lists of terms with big "search volumes" attached. Feel free to try this "statistical" method (once should do it). It will probably generate some clicks. You might find it daunting, however, to go from such "volume" keyword lists to getting conversions from real buyers. You might even find it hard to get clicks at all.
There are 6,000,000,000+ searches on Google each day, and you're trying to get a few hundred of those to see your ad. That means: using keywords that indicate "buying intent".
A few hundred (at most) who really want what you have. Generic terms won't get that done. Even if you did a great job of writing an ad that only gets clicks from real buyers, showing it (impressions) to a large population of non-buyers will give it a very low click through rate. And that will make it require a huge bid to overcome that low CTR. We have some suggestions for a better way to think about keywords.
Fear of "Low Search Volume"
Much of this "high volume" keyword logic comes from an irrational fear of Google deciding that your keyword is: Low Search Volume. So, many PPC'ers simply try to use sets of terms that have large search volumes and never fall prey to this problem. But worrying about this is counterproductive. In fact, if you aren't getting such "rulings" in your keyword lists, your keywords are far too generic.
Let's take a look at what Google actually says about: Low Search Volume. As you can see, nothing negative happens. Your keyword is simply not going to run until you change it or Google reconsiders. Google often "reconsiders" and lets the keyword run. Fearing and overreacting to this is not going to help you to get the high converting keywords you are looking for. There are many steps you can take to correct this and still use the very specific keyword terms you are tying to use.
"Low Search Volume" is not a policy violation or anything to be avoided. Specific keywords that indicate real buying intent are what you are trying to create. Tripping "low search volume" should be happening each day. React accordingly and scientifically.
This can be kind of tricky to understand and frustrating. You have a search string "fix manual transmission denver". When you type that string into Google, it returns the exact SERP that you'd like your ad to appear on. But when you go to make that string into keywords, Google declares it: "low search volume". And it doesn't run. But it seems to be running for all your competitors. What are you supposed to do now? Take out "denver" and run it ONLY in denver. See if that works. Try "fix manual denver". See if that works. Keep trying. You'll find the set of terms that show your ad to your potential buyers.
Think like your (potential) customers
Your campaign should be designed around one customer need. (See "Setting Campaign Scope"). Since your whole campaign is now going to be designed around this one customer need, it should be easier to identify the sets of words (search terms) that your potential customers use when they are searching for what you are providing in this campaign.
You might provide brake service for japanese cars. But your customer searches for "2015 Corolla Brake Job". To be successful with keywords, you will need a very good understanding of all the ways real buyers go about searching for the things they really want to buy.
People search for what they want to buy - NOT what you are selling. This is probably the biggest mistake people make in keywords: not thinking like their customers do.
Real buyers make more specific searches than non-buyers
Real buyers tend to make more specific searches than people who are just looking for information. The winner in search marketing is the campaign that takes advantage of the type of searches that real buyers do.
That means that if you create a campaign that is targeted at the search terms real buyers use, you will be rewarded with more conversions for a lot fewer clicks
Consider the example of someone who is searching on Google to find a shop in their area that can fix their manual transmission. So now imagine that you are that shop in Denver advertising on Google search to fix manual transmissions. If your keyword said: “manual transmissions”, you’re going to get a lot of clicks. But those clicks are going to be expensive (because so many compete for those terms), and few of them would be customers because they have shown no “buying intent”. These clicks are unlikely to generate profitable conversions.
But. if your keyword said: “fix manual transmission in denver” – you’re going to get a lot fewer clicks – and those clicks are going to be much cheaper because the terms are so specific. And a much higher percentage are going to be customers! That is far more likely to generate profitable conversions.
Try to isolate the "special terms" used by Real Buyers
There are hundreds of Google searches done by non-buyers for every search from somebody looking to buy. For hundreds of reasons. Research. Comparison shopping. School papers. Information gathering.
The key to successful keywords is to get a solid understanding of how your real potential buyers go about searching for what they want. We're going to suggest how you go about doing that, but before you do, we recommend creating an inventory of all the terms that might represent a search from someone who is more knowledgeable about your marketplace and offerings. This can often be a clear sign of a potential buyer. Here are some examples of how serious potential buyers might go about searching differently than non-buyers:
- Their search is stated in terms of a problem to be solved: what solution they are seeking
- Their search includes a time frame: 24 hr, immediate, fast, today, quick ship ...
- Their search includes some geography: Zip code, City, Suburbs, Near me .
- Their search focuses on a transaction: Buy, Purchase, Lease, Order, For Sale, In Stock...
- Their search includes more technical terminology: Hydration, Coccyx, Adrenal, Ornithologist ...
Perform keyword research based on analyzing Google SERPs
There are phrases that your potential buyers use that indicate they are interested in becoming a customer. Phrases between two and six words. The fact that one or two of those words taken individually will trip a lot of Google searches is a fantastic reason to keep your keywords at phrases of three or more words - each. Unless a particular two word phrase (in an exact match) is very indicative of someone who wants to buy from you.
The idea of using more generalized one and two word (broad or phrase match) keywords to trip a much wider class of search terms is a very good idea. If you want to pay a lot to Google for clicks and have very little chance of getting customers.
You can't get SEM customers without a very clear understanding of the search terms (three to six word combinations) that your real buyers will use when they are ready to buy.
You have to understand how your real buyers search when they're really buying or you can't make profit when they do. Buy. Focus on those search terms (three to four word phrases, ideally) that display the SERP upon which you would most like to appear.