8 Keyword Optimization Tips for More Perfect PPC Campaigns

5 min read · 7 years ago


8 Keyword Optimization Tips for More Perfect PPC Campaigns

Congratulations! You’ve signed up for a PPC account. Either at one of the big three, or maybe an alternative search engine. For some, the first step is the hardest.

For others, it’s the set-up after the fact, things like campaign optimization. A big part of that optimization has to do with keywords and making sure they align. Both with your actual website, and with what people are searching for.

By choosing the right mix of keywords and phrases, the payoff is huge! Here are 8 tips to make your keywords just a little more perfect for your campaign!

1. Check Your Phrase Matches

In Google AdWords, phrase match means that your ad will only show up with searches that include the exact keyword. Google defines phrase match as:

“A keyword setting that allows your ad to show only when someone’s search includes the exact phrase of your keyword, or close variations of the exact phrase of your keyword, with additional words before or after.”

So if you bid on the keyword ‘rain boots’ and turned on phrase match, your ad could show up for:

  • Purple Rain Boots
  • Tall Rain Boots
  • Rain Boots That Keep You Warm
  • The Best Rain Boots

But it still wouldn’t show up for:

  • Rain Boot
  • Boots for Rain
  • Rain Slicker Boots
  • Boots for the Rain

When to use phrase match: When supported with other tactics, like long-tail and negative keywords, to prevent showing up for unwanted queries.

When not to use phrase match: When adding to your keyword may change the meaning. For example, say you sell high-end rain boots. If you were bidding on the keyword, ‘rain boots,’ phrase match would allow your ad to show for queries like ‘cheap rain boots.’ Wouldn’t want that.

2. Explore the Benefits of Broad Match

Broad match takes your keywords and matches them against related words and terms. Google defines broad match as:

“A keyword setting that allows your ad to show when someone searches for that keyword or a variation of it.”

So, again using the example ‘rain boots,’ an ad may populate in some of these searches:

  • Rain boot for wide feet
  • Buying boots for the rain
  • Boots that are good for the rain

When to use broad match: It’s the most natural and normal way of searching on a search engine. Plus, it can help determine new keywords to consider bidding on. Broad match can be helpful at the beginning of a campaign, when you’re still building your keyword list. You can look at what keywords are converting well, and begin bidding on them.

When not to use broad match: When broad terms could match you with queries that might work against you. With designer rain boots, ‘cheap rain boots’ would turn off customers. ‘fleece-lined rain boots’ would be a lie, if you didn’t sell them.

3. Narrow It Down with Exact Match

Exact match only shows your ad when the keyword and search query exactly match. Just like it sounds.

Exact match is “a keyword setting that allows your ad to show only when someone searches for the exact phrase of your keyword or close variations of the exact phrase of your keyword,” according to Google, who discontinued exact match in 2014.

So your ad for “rain boots” only appears when someone searches for “rain boots.” No more, no less. The only exceptions are common variations, such as spelling it “rian boots.”

When to use exact match: When you need to show up for a specific term, and that term only. This eliminates any possibilities of your ad being queried for unfavorable or unrelated searches.

When not to use exact match: When you think you may benefit from undiscovered long-tail keywords or related terms.

4. Stay Positive with Negative Keywords

Using negative keywords can be awesome if your product gets confused with something else often. Google says negative keywords can:

  • Prevent spending money on clicks from people looking for something you don’t offer.
  • Show your ads to people who are more likely to click them.
  • Exclude keywords where you might be spending money but not getting a return.

You might recall Burgermeister Meisterburger from our negative keyword example last year. Can’t remember? I’ll help you out.

Say you’re craving a burger and go to search for the closest burger joint. In the results is an ad for Burgermeister Meisterburger and you click. Two things happen here:

  1. You’re confused. You’re looking for food, not the villain from a Christmas claymation movie.
  2. Whoever is advertising said villain just paid for your click, wasting their PPC budget.

When to use negative keywords: When you need a sort of “filter” to prevent ads from showing up where they shouldn’t.

5. Get Wordy with Long-Tail Keywords

Not only are long-tail keywords uber specific, but they tend to cost less. Less competition means less bids to beat. Sure, less people are seeing the ads, but that’s a good thing. Those people know what they want and are ready to convert.

When to use long-tail keywords: When you’re targeting “bottom of the funnel” searchers. People usually use long-tails when they’re close to making a decision.

When not to use long-tail keywords: When your landing page isn’t targeting that kind of searcher. For example, if it provides general information, it won’t satisfy someone looking for something specific.

6. Always Be Testing (Ad Copy, That Is)

This should go without saying, but sometimes we all need that kick in the pants. Always be testing!

Yes, your keywords are optimized and performing well, but are you missing something? Slight tweaks and adjustments might be all that you need to boost conversions.

When to A/B test: Try testing keywords, headlines, body text, and links. See what happens. A/B testing is how you pinpoint the weak spots in your campaign.

7. Optimize Your Landing Pages

It’s not just about the keywords you use to drive customers to your site. Your landing page plays a big part in conversions, too.

The landing page should have a clear and visible call to action. Great design, multimedia, and copy are important, too. And don’t ask too much of someone and keep the form fill-out short and sweet. Finally, message match to make sure you’re meeting your customer’s expectations.

Your landing page is an extension of your ad. The work doesn’t end when a customer clicks your ad.

When to optimize your landing page: After your campaign has been live for a while. You need to have decent traffic to analyze, and A/B test results to know what you need to change.

8. Extend Your Real Estate with Ad Extensions

Ad extensions can enhance the visibility of your PPC campaign and increase your conversion rate.

Usually, these only show when you’re placed in one of the top three ad slots. So bids generally need to be higher to “unlock” them.

With the flexibility of targeting customers through location, sitelinks, product, social extension, mobile, and more, they can help target customers who are more hesitant.

Toddler Rain Boot Ad Extensions

For example, Zappos not only targets my search term, ‘Toddler Rain Boots,’ but also gives me sitelinks by gender – Girls and Boys – helping me refine my search before I’ve even clicked the ad.


Optimizing your keywords is a labor of love. It’s no small feat to retain strong ad groups. But with these tips, you should be on your way. Tell us your favorite keyword optimization tip by tweeting us at @eZangaInc.

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This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: 8 Keyword Optimization Tips for More Perfect PPC Campaigns

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