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One of the most important aspects of any new pay per click account setup is, after you have determined what products and services are going to be targeted (and thus segmented into their own distinct ad groups targeting each product or service page on your website) is to build out a keyword batch for each individual product or service-targeted ad group that will deliver the maximum amount of targeted traffic to that particular landing page, and at that set budget level, if applicable, while also blocking the maximum amount of unwanted traffic from seeing and clicking on these ads.
This entire keyword batch is derived from a single round of keyword research. But that’s just the beginning of the process. Once your account is running live, this keyword batch will be continually updated and “optimized” based on ongoing analysis of first and foremost the data associated with your keywords and also by running search term reports, which show the exact search term your visitors typed into google.com, for an Adwords account for example. This is a key element of successful pay per click management. But keyword content and bid management is a topic for another post, or in reality another hundred or so posts, so lets stay on topic with keyword research as it pertains to new account setups only.
The following is a guideline for how to properly build out a keyword batch for a new account:
Step One: Using PPC Management Software and Keyword Research Tools:
If you havent done this already, download and install pay per click management software: Google Adwords Editor for adwords accounts and Bing Ads Editor for Bing.com and Yahoo.com-focused PPC accounts. You will also need Microsoft Office, specifically Excel or any similar spreadsheet software for building out and managing your keyword batch in the most efficient manner possible. Once you’ve gotten these pay per click management tools installed, you can start working on your new account(s), or for the purposes of this post, building out your keyword batch.
More advanced tools that we have found to be useful include Long Tail PRO and Traffic Travis. These keyword research tools are not necessary for the beginner or do-it-yourselfer, and this post is of course geared more towards educating newcomers about how to properly build out your keyword batches.
Step Two: Properly Segmenting Your PPC Account:
Adding the right keywords to your account wont accomplish much in terms of bottom line performance if they are sending your visitors to off-topic landing pages. You also wont be able to manage them effectively if you are mixing up different types of user behavior in not segmenting your campaign network targeting properly. The best way to address this is to first segment your users into 2 different groups:
1. Search network-targeted campaigns: are campaigns whose users are directly looking for something by typing it into a search engine. Keywords here need to have broad, phrase, exact and broad match modifier matching types in a new setup or when you are adding new keywords to these campaigns in the ongoing management process. Doing this will allow you to reach users typing in long-tail searches more cheaply by triggering that search term at a lower bid level than if it wasnt in your account, in which case a more general, higher bid/cost search term would show the ad instead.
2. Content network-targeted campaigns: are campaigns whose users are seeing your ads not by actively searching for them but by indirectly finding them on web pages that include keywords found in your account, which trigger those ads to be shown there. Keywords here are broad match and broad match modifier only, and should include a much smaller and more general sampling of search terms than your search-targeted keyword batches include. This is because these ads are served based on relevancy from one of the search terms in these batches and not on a search term by search term basis as is the case in the Search network.
3. Ad Groups: Once youre campaigns are set up, the next step in this phase of the PPC account segmentation process involves segmenting your keyword content at the ad group level. Ad groups should be set up to target each of the different products or services you are seeking to drive leads to or sell online. For example, a personal injury attorney’s PPC account would have an ad group targeting, personal injury law/attorneys/lawyers/law firms etc., and other distinct and separate ad groups focusing on different subsets of injury law such as dog bites, slip and fall, motorcycle accidents, car/motor vehicle accidents and so on for each of the different services they provide. These ad groups can then easily be copied over to different campaigns and also between PPC advertising platforms by copying and pasting (within an individual platform’s management software like Adwords Editor or Bing Ads editor) or across different platforms by exporting the data to an excel spreadsheet and then importing it into the new platform’s account.
Step Three: Doing Keyword Research:
Building out your keyword batch efficiently will include utilizing keyword research tools (software) and your own intuition, past experience and stock templates, if applicable. The best and most important keyword research tool, and there is very little disagreement among PPC management professionals here, is the Google keyword tool, found in any Google Adwords account in the Tools and Analysis tab dropdown menu. To use this tool, open this page and then type in several on-topic, relevant search terms that you feel best target the specific product or service being targeted by that particular ad group.
You can also paste the URL of the landing page you are targeting or any similar competitor landing page to see what keyword ideas Google suggests based on the content of those pages. An equally important tool for building out keyword batches, not to mention the entire PPC setup and management process, is your own experience and intuition. Similar variations of search terms and negative search terms showing up in these reports should be manually added based on your own intuition of what is going to work for your business in targeting your market and preventing unwanted clicks.
Step Four: Building out your Search Term and Negative Keyword Lists
Search Terms: Using the personal injury example, if we were building out the keyword batch for the slip and fall ad group we would type in search terms such as slip and fall attorney, slip fall lawyers and slip and fall accidents (dont worry about singular or plural here or for content network (ie: ads that show on Gmail, websites only)-focused ads and campaigns, but DO worry about that when building out your keyword batch for your search-focused campaigns). Then, click on the blue Search button to run this report. Then, export that report to an Excel spreadsheet and start parsing through it in building out your positive batch of keywords by copying and pasting all relevant search terms into that ad group’s keywords tab in your PPC management software.
Negative Keywords: You should also be concurrently building out a list of negative keywords using this same search term report, which will be added in the negative keywords tab in this PPC management software, or though the account’s web interface itself. Negative keywords for the purposes of our slip and fall accidents example would include off-topic (and thus likely to cost you money and unlikely lead to new sales or clients) search terms that would include words such as job, jobs (always use plurals in negative keyword batches, except in some rare cases), stories, videos, youtube, what, who, why, does, news, stories, articles, research, data and so on. We create stock templates of negative keywords by industry, geographical location (a Denver injury attorney’s account should have negative keywords that include out of state city and state names if they are only focusing their services on Denver, for example) and general groupings such as questions, job seekers etc. that we can quickly bulk add to each applicable campaign or ad group. On this topic, there are 2 ways to utilize negative keywords:
1. Campaign-level negative keywords: These are going to block unwanted traffic for all ad groups found in that particular campaign. Some examples of utilizing campaign level keywords in this personal injury example would be blocking bankruptcy, divorce, free, advice, insurance, real estate, schools, jobs, degrees, salaries etc type of searches that effectively filter out searches for services that this law firm doesn’t offer and also people looking to get into law as a career.
2. Ad group-level negative keywords: These are going to block unwanted traffic for all traffic pertaining to that ad group’s keyword batch only. Some examples of utilizing ad group keywords in this personal injury example would be blocking car and truck accident, slip and fall, construction and workers compensation types of searches from seeing ads for the motorcycle accident ad group.
Step Four: Keyword Matching Types:
Once you have finished adding all of the search terms and negative keywords to your Search network-targeted campaign(s), They will appear in your account, by default as broad match only. This is fine for content network campaigns, but for search network campaigns you need to also add phrase, exact match and broad match modifier variations for each of these search terms. This is because these different matching types are essentially a separate version of that same search term whose bids, cost and overall performance will be managed separately once the content is running live and the data starts coming in. For more information on keyword matching types, check out Google Adwords Help or Bing Ads Help documentation, or the help files for the specific platform you are building a new PPC account for.
Often times, a broad or phrase match variation of a search term will perform poorly but the exact or broad match modifier variation of that same search term will show favorable lead generation or ROI figures in the data. For this reason, the setup needs to include all of these variations at the start of the process so that you have as much data as possible to work with in the forthcoming bid management phase of the process.
In sum, the performance of your pay per click account will continue to improve over time if the setup and ongoing management is done properly as any pay per click account is a long term, ongoing process that involves careful planning, testing and assessment and optimization of the whole process on both a micro and macro level based on the data your account is showing. The keyword batches are but one element in the big picture of any setup, with ad copy and landing pages being the other main factors, but if done properly, will give your account the best opportunity for optimal lead and sales generation for the lifetime of the account and company’s existence.
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