If you are conducting any sort of pay per click (PPC) campaign, one of the most important things you can do is create an effective keyword list. With a good keyword list, you will be able to attract more clicks, appeal to a wider audience, and, ultimately, achieve your organization’s marketing goals.
What makes running a PPC campaign difficult, however, is that you aren’t always certain which keywords are going to perform the best or what is the best way to employ them. In the competitive world of online marketing, there are certainly a lot of other people trying to accomplish the exact same goals you are.
If you hope to succeed, you are going to have to find a way to distinguish yourself from the competition.
Brainstorm as many synonyms and related words as you possibly can.
There are a lot of different computer programs that will you help you generate a list automatically, but, before you decide to use a computer, brainstorming some ideas on your own (or with a team) can be incredibly helpful.
No matter what the product or service you are trying to market may be, there are likely a wide variety of words that are going to be associated with it. By thinking about things that are similar or related, or which are direct synonyms, you can begin building a comprehensive list that will enable more opportunities for a successful click.
In the early stages of the keyword list generation process, you want your list to be as long as it possibly can be. Even if you decide to remove some words from the list later on because they aren’t relevant, your brainstorming session should be free-flowing and unrestricted.
Use a keyword list that directly addresses your target audience.
When it comes to both digital and non-digital forms of marketing, you are going to want to begin by determining your target audience. Different audiences use different sorts of lingo, slang, and types of phraseology—knowing these differences can directly affect your probability gaining a click.
One common problem that people have when marketing is that they try to appeal to everybody at once. While this strategy may seem good in theory, it is highly unrealistic in practice. There are very few things in this world that can truly be applied to all people, and, if your target audience is too broad, your content may end up attracting the attention of nobody.
A good target audience is one that is very specific. A target audience should be focused on a specific demographic, and the more things this demographic has in common, the easier it will be to create content that is specifically catered to getting its attention.
If you are targeting a younger audience, you may want to create a keyword list that includes recently developed slang or words that are currently trending on social media. These sorts of keywords are uniquely popular for a very limited window of time—if you can latch onto these trends while they are peaking, then you will be able to gain a distinct advantage over your competition.
Put yourself in the shoes of your target audience and think to yourself, “If I were a member of this group, what would motivate me to click on this link?” When your content is surrounded by a lot of other similar, generic content, anything you can do to make yourself stand out will ultimately be worth it in the long run.
Use a keyword list generator—there are certainly lots to choose from.
As computing technology has improved over the years, naturally computers have been learning how to create search engine optimized content on their own. Though you will certainly still have to do a lot of manual work yourself, using a keyword list generator can be incredibly useful for getting you pointed in the right direction.
The Google Adwords Keyword Tool is just one of many useful tools that can help you create content that is both relevant and likely to land on the first few pages of a search engine. This tool helps identify both positive keywords that will improve your content and negative keywords that you ought to be avoiding.
Pictured above: Google Adword Keyword Tool being used to help create content for the car insurance industry. This tool can help you focus your content for your target content in a way that is useful, relevant, and—best of all—free. Photo Credit:Digital Clarity
Though the Google function is certainly useful, there is no need to limit yourself to just one keyword generator. Most keyword generators are free to use, and, by taking the time to run multiple tests, you can have a more extensive—and, consequently, more useful—final master list.
Dictionary.com and Thesarus.com are two sites that also have keyword lists that are comparable to Google’s. Additionally, the highly interactive websiteAnswer the Public can also help you generate questions that will be useful for creating relevant outlines. There is also a wide variety of premium keyword generators, but, usually, the free ones ought to suffice.
Ask questions to come up with related keywords.
Another great strategy for creating a successful PPC campaign is to include a lot of questions in your content. A lot of people communicate with their search engines as if they were talking to an actual person, and, with good anticipation, you can boost the likelihood of gaining a click by including their questions verbatim.
Suppose you are creating ads for a company that sells widgets. Assuming your potential target market is one that is going to want to be learning about such widgets, it is usually worthwhile to brainstorm as many questions about widgets as you possibly can:
What are some different kinds of widgets?
What kind of widget is best?
How much are widgets worth?
Where can I find some widgets near me?
Why should I buy a widget?
What are widgets used for?
What are the pros and cons of owning a widget?
These questions are just a few examples of the kind of keywords (or phrases) that your target audience might be looking for. If their specific question appears anywhere in your content, then this will inevitably make the audience more likely to click on your link.
As is the case with keywords, there are a lot of different (free and premium) tools you can use to help you generate as many questions as you can in advance. Even if you do not plan on using every keyword and every question you think of, having a larger list to choose from will certainly make things easier.
Another benefit of brainstorming questions is that a comprehensive list can easily be converted into a keyword-driven outline. Most people don’t like reading long articles all the way through—they require headings, subheadings, and lists in order to help break the content up. Using questions in order to form an outline will not only make your content more clickable, it will also make it easier for your future readers to find the information they are looking for.
Compare yourself to your competition.
If you are trying to create a successful keyword list, you are going to want to actively consider the kinds of lists that have worked in the past. By comparing your keyword list to your competitors and other top-rated sites, you will be able to reap the benefits of their experience while still being able to include some original keywords of your own.
Discovering the keywords that have been the most successful is a relatively easy process.
Begin by taking the most relevant keywords you have already come up with and enter them into Google (or your search engine of choice).
Click on the first few articles that come up and take a look at the meta tags that are connected to each one.
Now you will know the words and phrases you are currently competing with—this will be incredibly helpful when creating a keyword list of your own.
These helpful tips are just a few ways you can begin to get your PPC campaign pointed in the right direction. Between brainstorming, thinking about your target audience, using keyword generators, asking questions, and looking at the competition, you should be able to generate a fairly comprehensive list.
Without a quality keyword list, your PPC campaign will have a very difficult time succeeding— but with a quality keyword list, even small- and mid-sized companies will be able to compete with the industry giants.
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Ronald Dod is the Chief Marketing Officer and Co-founder of Visiture, an end-to-end eCommerce marketing agency focused on helping online merchants acquire more customers through the use of search engines, social media platforms, marketplaces, and their online storefronts. His passion is helping leading brands use data to make more effective decisions in order to drive new traffic and conversions.
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