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PPC Back to Basics – How to Find the Right Keywords for your Business

If you’re just starting out managing a search campaign or if you’re new to our platform you may wonder where to get started. How do you move on from signing in to having a beautiful search advertising campaign at your fingertips which drives leads, sign-ups or sales? Especially for you we started the PPC Back to Basics series. Today I’d like to help you find the right keywords for your business.

What is a keyword?

Really simply put a keyword is a word your potential customer is searching on when looking for a product or service. You must bid on this word in order for any ads you connect to it, to display and you have to bid competitively (auction style!) to ensure your ads show when someone is looking for these keywords.

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What keywords help you to get the right customers through your door?

Kinds of Keywords: Head terms and tail terms

Keywords can be roughly divided in two groups:

1. Head terms- usually more generic words. Examples of a head terms are ‘wardrobe’ and ‘furniture’. These words generally create more traffic but are also more expensive as more people (including large competitors) bid on them. Searchers may be still doing research when using these terms however using these terms may ensure you are a contender later on in their decision making process.

2. Tail terms– usually more specific words. Examples of tail terms are ‘vintage painted wardrobe’ and ‘white painted furniture’. These words usually generate a bit less traffic but are also cheaper. Users are likely to know reasonably well what they are after when using specific search terms making the chance of a conversion more likely.

As a small business owner look at your business and try to judge what the right mix of words is for you. Someone may be only selling vintage furniture – would that person want to bid on expensive head terms which include searchers looking for a brand new wardrobe in the hope they’ll fall in love with your vintage pieces or does it make more sense to stick with words related to your niche in the market – targeting searchers already keen to find a pre-loved piece of furniture?

On the other hand if you sell cars in your local area it may be worth it to bid on a few car head terms and target your ads to a certain area to save costs and achieve a higher return on investment. You would not want to miss out to make your business known to suitable new prospects that just start to look around.

Finally there are also brand terms. Some benefits of bidding on your own brand are that you are certain to show your ad to searchers when they look for you and you can make sure any attractive offers are shown to them in your ad copy. Rules around on what brand other terms than your own you are allowed to bid on vary by country so check your local editorial guidelines to get bidding on brand terms right.

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Vintage painted wardrobes - capturing niche keywords can be a profitable strategy for small business owners

Six smart ways to find keywords

There is more than one way to find good keywords:

  1. Search your own website for keywords – have a look as well at a competitor’s site and see how they describe the products or services they sell.
  2. If you have a Bing Ads account you can use the keywords research functionality in the UI to find keywords. In the ‘choose’ section of your keywords section of the page, you’ll find the tools to begin building your list.  You can type them manually with “enter keywords” selected, or you can let Bing Ads suggest keywords by way of the “research” link. This link helps improve the effectiveness of your keyword choices. If you don’t have a Bing Ads account you can create one here.
  3. Use Bing Ads Intelligence it’s a free to download tool which (among other things!) helps you to quickly and easily build out lists of suggested keywords and develop informed keyword strategies based on actual Bing and Yahoo network data, including: relevance, volume, cost history, demographic and geographic.
  4. Use search query reports. It’s all too easy to presume you know what terms people use to find your business but you would not be the first to fall into the trap of using industry terminology your customers have never even heard off. A search query report shows you what keywords people are actually using which cause your ads to display. These words can inspire your keyword library or may inform your negative keyword list. More about the latter can be read our next blog post in this series.
  5. If you already have a PPC account running on another search engine you can also choose to easily import these keywords into Bing Ads.
  6. Add words like ‘buy’, ‘book’, ‘cheap’ etc. to relevant top keywords (but do check if these combinations receive searches before adding them to your list).

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Duplicates – not a great idea

Two do’s and two don’ts to keep in mind when making keyword lists

  • Do use common variations. If your keyword has common variations (travel agent, travel agency) or spelling (web site, website), add all of those variations to your keyword list.
  • Don't use duplicate keywords. Variations of keywords formed simply by adding punctuation (For example: quotation marks (" ") and exclamation points (!) ) simply count as duplicates in your list. Bing Ads does not allow duplicate keywords in your keyword list and automatically removes them. So in other words, don't waste your time putting all these duplicates in. Don't worry, your ads will still be served for each variation.
  • Don't duplicate keywords across ad groups. If you use the same keyword in more than one ad group, you will simply be competing against yourself for getting ads shown on search results pages for that keyword.
  • Do group highly related keywords in ad groups. If you organize your keywords into groups of highly related keywords, you will be able to better optimize your campaigns for a higher ROI.

Once you’ve found your keywords you can read here how to add, edit or delete keywords in Bing Ads.

Once you’ve chosen and added your keywords don’t forget about them! When your products or service change make sure your keywords reflect this. Keep an eye on the competition and keep track on how your keywords perform. More on that in another post soon!

A few related articles that may be helpful to you: