While quick and easy is what we all wish the initial setup of a new Google Adwords account to be, an effective account should take you some time. So, why should the initial keyword research should take the longest? Because it is the most important piece to your PPC account and for very good reason. Not only do the keywords you pay for come from your initial keyword research, but the negative keyword research is just as important.
When it comes to keyword research, there are many options to gather your initial set of keywords. Many PPC account managers like to use 3rd party tools such as SpyFu, or SEMRush. These sites and tools are a great way to explore what people are already running Google Adwords accounts and what they are using, as far as keywords, ads, and even landing pages. Discovering what your immediate competition is currently bidding on regarding cost per click, approximate monthly paid advertising budget, and ad positions, can help the possibilities for your PPC account when you start running ads in the same ad space.
One of the main reasons these sites and tools are great for keyword research, is that it gives you immediate keywords based on what others are already using within their accounts. Not only does it give you a list of keywords and how much traffic is being generated from each keyword, but it also gives you a list of websites that are currently bidding on those types of keywords. By knowing some of this important information, you now have the ability to browse through and get an inside look at what others are using with their campaigns. Some information that is very useful is the Ad Copy which people use for a particular keyword set, and the Landing Page, that they send to searchers per each particular keyword.
While many of these sites and tools are very helpful and do generate some fairly accurate data that can be useful, they do come with a price to be able to use the full version of each. Many of these types of sites allow you to use a free version to see some of what it can do. They do keep you limited in how much data can be viewed until you upgrade to a paid version of the tool. These types of sites and tools can be anywhere from $49 – $249+ per month to be able to use them to their full capability. Many marketing agencies, companies, and firms will often pay these fees and get their money back quickly by using the data these sites generate for them.
Negative Keyword Research Needs to be Just as In Depth as the Keyword Research
Although the above mentioned tools and sites are great for keyword research on finding which keywords may be beneficial to your Google Adwords campaigns, they do not give much feedback into finding Negative Keywords to exclude from your campaigns. Doing negative keyword research initially with your keyword research, can save you loads of time and most importantly “money.”
There are no quick and easy ways to find all of the negative keywords you need to be able to block irrelevant traffic. Finding the negative keywords is absolutely necessary if you want to maximize your budget and minimize the cost for bad traffic. A great tool to start with that may just likely be the only tool you need is Google itself. Google doesn’t give you your negative keywords flat out, but they do show you which terms often show up along with your main keywords that you plan on using in your campaigns.
One of the easiest ways to use Google as your source for negative keyword research is to simply do a Google search for one of your main keywords. When you type in your main keyword that you plan to use, Google will give you many other keywords in the “Google Suggestions” which can be found just below the search bar, or at the very bottom of the organic listings on the first page. Google will typically give you the top searched terms in this list of 5 – 10 phrases, but you may then start seeing what possible negative keywords can start to be added to your negative keyword list.
This can be a slow and tedious process, and may take several keyword searches to start find possible negative keywords but trust me; it will absolutely be worth it in the long run. Negative keywords can save not only your budget, but it can also save your campaign performance such as click-through rate (CTR), and cost per action (CPA).
Negative keywords will be a normal part of your optimization routine, or at least should be, but taking care of as many as you can without spending any money on them upfront is the smartest way to go. When you start generating traffic via your Google Adwords account, you may then start going to your search term reports to begin discovering and adding more negative keywords based on the traffic you are currently generating. Often you would have already spent money on the negative keyword being clicked on, but with the search term report you can quickly gather them and add them to your negative keywords list.
In closing, your initial keyword research will and should be the longest process, but as mentioned several times above, it is the most critical piece of your campaign that could make or break your campaigns in the short-term and long-term. So my advice is to spend the time now and not the money, so that your budget goes to the most positive and relevant traffic by the time you launch your brand new Google Adwords campaigns.
– Bobby Pena, PPC Manager