PPC managers make unnecessarily hard work out of keyword research. Yes, that’s a bold statement to make. But it’s one we’re making nevertheless.
Don’t get us wrong, this isn’t meant to start a fight. Nor are we implying that PPC managers are no longer needed, because that’s simply not true. In fact, it’s something we’ve covered before explaining why PPC agencies are not dying out.
As long as there are PPC campaigns, there will be PPC managers. They play an essential role in creating, running and optimising campaigns to ensure businesses get the best results for their budget.
That doesn’t mean every PPC manager is perfect. The truth is that most of you are caught out by overcomplicating many areas of your disipline, including the keyword research stage.
Keyword research is always worth your time
Without research, it’s impossible to build a viable list of keywords that will bring in the clicks and conversions – at a price that fits your budget.
We don’t need to tell you how important keywords or research are. You’ve heard this all before.
Here’s the short version: having the right keywords helps get your adverts seen by the right audience, for better prices.
Keywords also impact your quality score and ad rank, helping you get those higher ad positions on the SERPs. And when the top 3 ads get 46% of clicks, anything you can do to push yourself higher into these positions is a must-have. However, there is such a thing as trying too hard.
Imagine you’re at school and have a 1-page assignment to hand in. But you want to impress, so you hand in 24 glorious pages and wait to be basked in glory. It’s not worth the extra time and effort that you put in though. You would have got the A with the 1-page paper like everyone else.
You don’t need to strive for extra-credit with PPC. Your keywords either work or they don’t. This is something you’ll find out by testing. Research can only take you so far.
All the gear with no idea
Controversially, it may be the rise of technology that’s contributing to overcomplication.
The core function of PPC tools and software is to save you time and simplify your jobs. It’s the sole reason why we built our own platform, Adzooma.
When it comes to keyword research, there are a whole host of fantastic tools that can instantly generate keyword ideas. But the sheer amount of data and results you get from them is ripe for overcomplicating.
Enter your core topic and they can instantly spit out a thousand keywords or more to target. In fact, SEMrush’s Keyword Magic tool promises ‘10.5 billion semantically related & long-tail keywords’. Wow.
In what campaign would you ever use that many keywords? I dread to think of the ad groups that would be created to accommodate anything near to a thousand keywords. And so should you.
Google recommends that you use no more than 20 keywords per ad group. 20 is a maximum here. You don’t have to hit this.
Smaller, targeted ad groups will win over blindly hitting every single keyword variation under the sun. Every time.
Now, these tools are great for finding keywords. But if you start researching every single variation that comes up… well, you’re just making life harder for yourself. Don’t get caught up in the minor details. Keep things simple and stick to smaller, smartly curated keyword lists for precise ad groups.
What happened to common sense?
Life would be far better if more people used their common sense. But don’t worry, we’re not going to launch into a full complaint against the current state of the world. This isn’t the time or the place.
Relating it back to PPC, common sense is needed to group keywords into simple, close-knit ad groups.
This is something we should excel at. It’s a physiological human impulse to categorise everything into simple, clear and neat boxes. It’s how we make sense of the world around us.
Let’s say you’re setting a campaign up for a bakery. It doesn’t take a lot to recognise that you can group your keywords by:
- Product (cakes, pastries, or desserts)
- Flavour (chocolate, vanilla, strawberry)
- Dietary requirements (gluten-free, vegan, nut-free)
- Location (if they own more than one branch)
And yet this is often overlooked. It’s something that you all know, but you spend so much time focusing on details that don’t matter.
Which brings us nicely onto our next point.
Don’t get caught up in the technical details
There are thousands of blogs and resources that will bang on about keyword match types: about what they are, how to use them and why you need to add negative keywords to your repertoire. This is all well and good, but there’s one thing that seems to be missing: keyword intent.
Here’s the low-down. Without looking at keyword intent, your campaigns are almost guaranteed to include the wrong keywords. Sorry, but it’s true.
If someone is searching, they have a particular goal in mind. No one really Googles things for the sake of it. These goals are split into 4 main categories:
- Informational. For example: “how to remove coffee stains from a white rug”.
- Navigational. This could include searches like “rug store near me” or “RugMaster contact information”.
- Commercial. This could include searches like “The best rug for pets” or “wool vs cotton rugs”.
- Transactional. This could include keywords like “rugs for sale”.
If you’re building a campaign to purely sell some beautiful white wool rugs, you wouldn’t bid on informational keywords. After all, if they’re using the “how to remove coffee stains from a white rug” search, it’s safe to assume they’ve already got a rug.
It would have to be one mighty coffee stain to require a new one.
That’s not to say if you’re selling something you should only stick to transactional keywords. If you have a physical store, bidding on navigational keywords is a great shout. Paired with the knowledge that 57% of traffic comes from mobile and tablet devices, these keywords are primed to capture audiences when they’re already out and about near your store.
Intent is something that Google is also pushing through its own micro-moments. This is described as “an intent-rich moment when a person turns to a device to act on a need – to know, go, do, or buy”.
An intent-rich moment, that’s the heart of the matter. It’s all about intent.
Stop making your keyword research complicated by getting hyper-focused on details that don’t matter as much in this stage. Keep it simple by focusing on intent.
The research never stops
Approximately 15% of daily searches have never been made before. It’s a growing and adapting beast. Research helps you tame it.
No one can predict the future. Research is all about using the current facts and data at your disposal to make a pretty good guess, but it’s not set in stone. You’re never going to have keyword metrics you discover exactly line up with your results.
The beautiful thing about PPC is that you can change it at anytime. When something doesn’t work, you can get back to the research and try the next thing. And the next…
The moral of the story?
If you want to stop overcomplicating your research, test your results. This will give you more insights and data into what works. This is your ammunition for success.
This stage will never stop as there will always be room for you to achieve better results.
The right tools to test your campaigns
The good news is that there’s plenty of PPC tools around to help make sure you don’t overcomplicate this stage. And, if you’ll excuse us for blowing our own trumpet, we’ve got something you might be interested in.
Our own platform, Adzooma is pretty special.
Firstly, we need to clarify that Adzooma is not a keyword research tool. It’s much more than that. Adzooma is an all-in-one platform that will help you optimise and manage every part of your campaign.
Analysing your account, it crunches the data and gives you accurate performance insights you can use to influence your strategy and improve your results.
If something isn’t working, Adzooma will let you know. For example, if you’re using keywords with the wrong intent, we’ll flag up when they’re not performing. You use this information to streamline your entire campaign.
Adzooma also automatically generates Opportunities specific to your account that can be actioned immediately. Like say if you have duplicate keywords, you’ll get the chance to remove them without having to run your keyword list through a keyword deduplication tool first. Most of these can be applied with a single click.