Blastoff’s Keyword 10-Step PPC Keyword Research Methodology: Foundation for a high quality AdWords search campaign

Blastoff’s Keyword 10-Step PPC Keyword Research Methodology: Foundation for a high quality AdWords search campaign

High quality PPC keyword research is a major foundational element required of a strong Google AdWords search advertising, or for that matter any PPC ad campaign.  Without a high quality, thorough research process, campaign results will be sporadic, unreliable, or unable to reach it’s full potential.  Many campaigns never achieve success because this process is given short shrift or skimped upon.  That is why Blastoff has developed a systematic keyword research process for all new campaigns that it develops, and existing campaigns that it re-engineers.

Blastoff’s 10-Step PPC Keyword Research Process

Keyword research is an important foundational element behind creating a successful Google AdWords pay per click (PPC) ad campaign.

We start PPC keyword research process with existing campaigns, importing the keywords into a database to build upon.  For many campaigns, this could be from 250 to thousands of keywords, across one to dozens, or sometimes hundreds campaigns.

PPC keyword research is an important foundational element behind creating a successful Google AdWords pay per click (PPC) ad campaign.

Step 1: Import, De-Duping, Match Type Normalizing, and Data CleaningOnce the initial keyword base is imported, we clean it up by removing duplicates, plurals, and keywords that have other types of issues – e.g. overly broad keywords which are unlikely to match. We remove any match types which may have been applied in order to distill the list down into a core set of “keywords” — usually two to five word phrases which are descriptive of a product, service, or information resource.

Step 2: Perform Google and Bing searches for each keyword to expand core keyword base.  This is done to familiarize with the market for the initial base of keywords, to see how they are used “in the wild” on the internet to generate both organic and paid search results.  During this process we enter a list of direct competitors into a project database, and we usually discover a lot of new, closely related keywords.

Step 3: We fully utilize Google’s Keyword Planner tool. It often identifies entire classes of keywords that may have previously been unknown.  Since Q4 2016, you have to have an AdWords campaigns running, and meeting certain spending levels, in order to make full advantage of Google’s excellent keyword planner.  It is not the only keyword planning tool that we use; but it is one of them.

Step 4: We utilize paid, 3rd-party research tools to expand the keyword base.  Companies like SpyFu and Keywords Spy have made a business out of scraping the web and harvesting both paid ad and organic search results.  So we can use them to pull up the keywords and ad history for keywords.

Step 5: Spider competitive websites and landing pages to collect profitable keywords. This is an important step, almost always overlooked in keyword research; we place an emphasis on it. After identifying important competitors by inquiring with our client, and online research (per Step 2), we use paid tools to “spider” competitor websites to extract the most prominent keywords.  Often this will double the size of our keyword base at this point in the process; and this step frequently produces some of the best keywords in the resulting campaign.

Step 6: Keyword factoring. Blastoff has developed proprietary software to assist us with this highly labor intensive, tedious step of the keyword research process; however it can be done in a spreadsheet.  We factor the keywords phonetically in order to break them down into closely related “keyword clusters” which make for terrific ad groups, which leads to higher quality scores and better campaign performance.  More on this in pending blog posts.

If you look at a campaign which has been factored properly, the organization of the ad groups may often not make sense at first inspection.  Clients typically like to organize their ad groups around natural structures like brands, product lines, and maybe a word or two.  But when campaigns are organized phonetically by factoring the keyword, the organization is not always as neat and tidy.  This is paid back several times over in higher campaign performance, through having highly structured and tightly relevant ad groups.

Step 7: In this step which is a natural outflow of keyword factoring, go into the database and develop the Ad Group structure for the campaign, working around keyword base. The ad group structure is then implemented in Google AdWords Editor (GAE) running on OSX.

Step 8: Keywords are uploaded from the database into respective ad groups within Google AdWords Editor.

Step 9: We now dramatically expand the keyword base by applying four match types: exact match, phrase match, modified broad match, and in some limited special-case situations (usually very tight geo-targeting, or low search volume) broad match.  We use broad match very selectively.

Step 10: The final step is to write compelling ad copy for each ad group which is highly relevant to the keywords in that ad group, containing those keywords directly when practicable.  We also attempt to utilize the keyword(s) in the /path1 and path2 fields in “Google’s new extended text format ads also provide us an opportunity to utilize keywords. This has the potential to raise Quality Scores.  During this step we also write the copy for all relevant “Ad Extensions” including site link extensions, callout extensions, etc.

The Result: PPC Campaigns built on top of a solid foundation

The result of Blastoff’s 10-step PPC keyword research process is a fundamental building block in the creation of high quality Google AdWords campaigns.  It is only one component of what goes into making a campaign a real winner, but it is a very important one that should not be overlooked.

If you have questions or comments about keyword research, feel free to ask us in the comments below.

©2017 Blastoff Labs Search Marketing, Inc.

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