Why Keyword Research? A Complete Guide To The Evolving Science of Keyword Research May 6, 2016 | Nina Skyrud

Nina Skyrud

Nina Skyrud

Managing clients and campaigns has been my forte since long. At Octos, I manage PPC campaigns for the clients and help them generate ROI and achieve their digital goals.


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There’s always a lot of chatter in SEM circles – the latest greatest trend or buzzword can change from one week to the next. But one ‘keyword’ that remains central to all debates in the world of search is just that: keyword.

Keywords are one of the most reliable, quantifiable factors that we take into account when mapping out SEM campaigns and strategies. At this advanced stage of the digital revolution, the process of Keyword Research has now been refined into something of a science.

What is Keyword Research?

Keyword research is a practice SEM Executives and Analysts use to find, research and analyse the most commonly used search engine keywords. Researchers determine the relevance of these keywords to decide whether they are likely to enhance or diminish the effectiveness of ad campaigns. By using targeted keywords, advertisers can gear their campaigns towards specific market segments and optimize campaign profitability.

In general practice, the keywords that best describe the advertiser’s product or service and also have high search volume are used to run successful campaigns. The keyword research process starts with gathering the ground information about the advertiser’s products and services, and ends with a list of strategic keywords to be added to or excluded from the campaign.

Why Research Keywords?

As the name implies, ‘keywords’ are the figurative key to unlocking digital business success. It is necessary to study keywords because not only do we need to identify the keywords that should be added to our ad groups or campaign, but we must also determine which keywords should NOT be a part of the campaign. Inappropriate keywords can be detrimental to the success of a campaign.

Also, any keyword considered relevant to our business must have a specific position (specific ad group) which is designed on the basis of how we theme our campaign, and our ad groups. Furthermore, keywords provide a unique opportunity to target customers because they are the only insight we have into our potential customers’ online behavior before they actually arrive on our Landing Page.

With all this said, it is clear that researching Keywords forms the important and the foremost task for running a successful digital Ad Campaign.

The keyword research process aims to achieve the following objectives:

1. Find the relevant keywords for a specific business

2. Target relevant customers

3. Weed out the irrelevant keywords for the business

4. Reach potential customers at the most appropriate time

5. Decide when we want to reach customers

How to Do Keyword Research?

As the process is really important, and serves many objectives, it can be carried out in many ways. To get started, we usually go through the Webmaster tools and find the searched terms. We also discover competitors’ keywords and review the searched keywords of existing campaign. Google’s keyword planner tool is another trusty keyword research device.

The Keyword Planner tool is crucial to the process because of the inherent power that keywords hold, and because we want very confined outcomes at the end of the process. The tools is very consistent and reliable for any product or service, especially for triggering ads on Google Ad Words.

So let’s explore the different functionalities of the Keyword Planner tool to help ensure the optimum use of the tool. First things first, it’s important to understand the premise of Keyword match types before starting with keyword research.

Keyword Match Types

There are 5 basic types of Keyword matches and each type will trigger the ads to show for a customer’s search in a different way.

  • Broad match

Broad match is the default match type that is assigned to all your keywords. Ads may show on searches that include misspellings, synonyms, related searches, and other relevant variations.

  • Broad match modifier

Ads may show on searches that contain the modified term (or close variations, but not synonyms), in any order.

Symbol+keyword

  • Phrase match

Ads may show on searches that are a phrase, and close variations of that phrase.

Symbol: keyword

  • Exact match

Ads may show on searches that are an exact term and close variations of that exact term.

Symbol[keyword]

  • Negative match

Ads may show on searches without the term.

Symbolkeyword

An Overview of Keyword Planner

Keyword Planner is a free tool by Google Ad Words, which helps advertisers to make profitable Search Network Campaigns by finding keywords and Ad group ideas relevant to the advertiser’s product or service offering. The tool provides an estimation of how the keywords are likely to perform. This estimate is based on historical data about the keywords’ performance in the past, and on the search volume of the keywords. It also helps when setting up the budget for the campaign or the particular keyword.

Getting Started With Keyword Planner

You can use the Keyword Planner Tool by signing up for a Google Ad Words account. ‘Tools’ is one of 5 tabs that you will see on the interface. Each sub-option listed under ‘Tools’ is designed to make the interface a little more efficient. From these options, we select ‘Keyword Planner Tool’.

The tool has 2 options: ‘Find new keywords and get search volume data’ and ‘Plan your budget and get forecasts’.

Both these options are helpful for either designing a new campaign or making the existing campaign more efficient, or both.

Find New Keywords and Get Search Volume

As the name suggests, this option assists the users to find new keywords, either for a new campaign or additional keywords for the existing campaigns. It also gives us an idea of the performance of the keyword by the historical data, which helps in planning budget.

Now, we should turn our attention to the three functionalities we have at this level and figure out how exactly we can use them.

1. Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category

This function can help you find keywords for a new campaign or expand the keyword list for an existing campaign. It can also help you to find more specific keywords, which may not have a high search volume but may work efficiently for you in terms of getting more conversions. After all, only the advertiser knows what works best for his business!

A window like the one below will open once you click on the option.

Keyword Research Planner2. Get search volume data and trends

This functionality comes in handy when the user already has a list of keywords and wants to get a sense of the popularity of those keywords. You can upload your existing list of keywords as a CSV file.

3. Multiply keyword lists to get new keywords

This function can be a savior in situations where you have multiple keywords lists and you want to combine them. You can combine keywords by multiplying two or more lists of keywords. You can also get historical statistics or traffic forecasts for the new list of combined keywords.

Plan Your Budget and Get Forecasts

With this tool we also have the handy option to: Get click and cost performance forecasts

If the user has a list of keywords and wants to find out the forecasts for clicks and cost, this tfunctionality can assist with the task. And this forecast is not of a general nature, rather they are specific to the user’s Ad Words Account and the particular bid that they have selected.

All in all, Keyword Research is an important process and the Keyword Planner Tool is a vital tool for performing that process in the most effective and efficient way for businesses. For any brand aiming to achieve campaign success and ongoing profitability, Keyword Research is one of the most essential tools in your digital marketing toolkit.

Have you figured out how to get good results with Keyword Research? Tell us about your personal experience and insights in the comments section below.