Building An Exceptional Keyword List

Building An Exceptional Keyword List

Building a keyword list is like building a foundation to your marketing.

It’s one thing to know your business inside and out, but it’s another thing to get inside the mind of your customer. That’s our job as marketers. We’ve been asked by numerous companies, “What are people searching? And what will get my website in front of our customers?” The answer is both simple and complex.

What are they searching? They’re searching for terms they know, but probably not your industry-preferred terms unless they are in the same industry themselves, e.g., “lawyer” (more popular) vs. “attorney” (preferred by the industry).

How do you get your website in front of your customers? Engaging content, well-executed SEO, and a paid search campaign that can leapfrog over your competition on Google search results pages. That all starts with building an exceptional keyword list. Follow the tips below to do that. We will focus on the paid search side of keywords.


Know Your Audience

We discover who your target audience is and what will appeal to them. The goal for paid search ads is to be at the top of the search engine results page/SERPs for the most relevant keywords and not every keyword on your list. Knowing your audience is a key component of building a keyword list for paid search ads. Your audience’s vernacular, demographics, and lifestyle will heavily influence their word choice.

Choose Both General and Specific Keywords

It’s essential to start any keyword list with a combination of general and specific keywords, which allows you to gather enough data to know your audience’s search habits.

Add Negative Keywords

It’s common to want your ads to populate for all keywords relevant to your industry. However, this will cause you to run out of budget for the day very fast. You’ll also miss those relevant users that generate the most conversions. Adding negative keywords to your campaign tells Google not to show your ad when that specific keyword is searched. An example would be a service your company does not provide. When people think your company offers a specific service, but discover that is not the case, they leave your website unsatisfied without taking the desired action which causes Google to see that key term as irrelevant to your ads.


Change Your Match Type

Next, you would set the keyword as an exact match or phrase match, which is a more strategic way to spend your budget. If your goals are to get impressions and brand awareness, then a long list of keywords will be the way to go but know that you will need to have a larger daily budget. Be careful that you don’t use broad match as that will show your ad for irrelevant keywords and drain your daily budget as previously mentioned.

Study Your Competitors

It’s helpful to know who your top competitors are because they will most likely be bidding on the same keywords. You probably know who your brick and mortar competitors are, but do you know who your online competitors are? It’s likely not who you think. For example, on the internet, Apple, the company competes with apple, the fruit. In reality, Apple competes with Samsung and Android. What are those keywords and where do they currently rank? Knowing the answers to these questions will help to get your ads and website ahead of theirs.

Build Your Keyword List

Keep your keyword list to 20–40 relevant terms. Keeping it small and manageable also allows you control to your budget better and swiftly refine the campaign.You can find keywords just by going to a competitor’s site and reading the content and reviews. You’ll get an idea of their consumer’s voice and what they might be “Googling”. You’ll also know which keywords to add when you are searching for your industry yourself. Anything that will put you in the mind of a consumer who doesn’t know your brand is going to be helpful. Don’t add your competitors as key terms. This wastes your advertising budget. If a consumer is typing in the brand name, chances are they’ve already made a decision. It is harder to change their mind after it’s been made up than it is to influence them with industry terms.

Refine Your Keyword List

After about a month, you can refine and narrow your keyword list to the most relevant terms then reallocate most of your paid search budget towards those.


Key Takeaways:

  1. Get inside the mind of your audience
  2. Add generic and specific keywords
  3. Add negative keywords
  4. Change the keyword match type
  5. Study competitors
  6. Keep your keyword list to 20-40 relevant terms
  7. Refine your list and keep it current

Knowing which keywords will drive the most conversions help your website’s SEO and content optimization. Tying together your ads and web content will increase your quality score and help you be more relevant than competitors. Gathering this data can do more than increase the quality score for your ads. It can also help to lower your ad spend and improve your organic search results.

Everything falls into place when you have a refined keyword list. Want more information? We’re here to help. Give us a call or send us an email.


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