As discussed in the previous blog, there are a number of critical parts to an Adwords account. You have to select the correct keywords and match types, group them appropriately, write brilliant adverts, choose the appropriate landing page, and set the optimal bids. This blog looks at the first three of these – keyword selection, match types and keyword grouping…
Generating Lists of Keywords
There’s a big contradiction in PPC at the moment. In general, the more specific a keyword is, the more likely the visitor is to convert (as the searcher has a better idea of what they want, and is likely to be further along the decision-making and buying process), and as a result, the more you should be able to pay per click.
This is sensible, because the cost per conversion can be expressed as:
Cost per Conversion = Cost Per Click / Conversion Rate.
So, the higher the conversion rate is, the more you can pay per click, and still get an acceptable cost per conversion.
As a result, you’d expect the bids on specific terms that convert well to be higher than for more generic terms. But in fact, the opposite is frequently true.
If, for example, you were to bid £0.25 per click for “Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-T100S”, your advert would almost certainly appear much higher than if you were to bid the same amount for “Digital Camera”.
There are a few possible reasons for this. The more generic the term, the more traffic it will generate. It’s possible that companies feel that it’s worth bidding more for these terms, hoping to make the extra spend back on volume of sales. I can’t advise you strongly enough not to go down this road…
Alternatively, it could simply be that fewer companies are bidding on the more detailed terms, as many companies do not feel inclined to put in the work involved for low volumes of traffic. But as these are the most profitable terms (high conversion rate, low cost), this is short-sighted on their part.
Whatever the reasons, this is the current situation, and you need to know how to make the most of it.
Clearly, attacking this ‘long-tail’ of keywords should be a priority, whatever your situation. And it applies to almost all areas of online retail – a search for “estate agents In Manchester” is more likely to convert than a simple search for “estate agents”, and a search for “14 inch blue widgets” will convert better than “portable widgets”.
So the first step should be to list your products or services in their entirety. Then consider words that should or could mean the same.
In the example above, your product was:
Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-T100S
But people may also search for
Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-T100S Digital Camera
Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-T100S Camera
DSC-T100S Digital Camera
Cyber-Shot DSC-T100S Camera
DSC-T100S Digital Camera
Cyber-Shot DSC-T100S Camera
Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-T100S Digital Cameras
Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-T100S Cameras
DSC-T100S Digital Cameras
Cyber-Shot DSC-T100S Cameras
DSC-T100S Digital Cameras
Cyber-Shot DSC-T100S Cameras
Once you’ve done this for all of your products, you need to consider the next level up, if there is one.
So for the above example, you might want
Cyber-Shot Digital Camera
Cyber-Shot Digital Cameras
Sony Cyber-Shot Digital Camera
Sony Cyber-Shot Camera
Sony Cyber-Shot Digital Cameras
Sony Cyber-Shot Cameras
Next, you repeat it for the next level up again (if there is one).
Sony Digital Camera
Sony Digital Cameras
Next, look for possible misspellings. For example, Cyber-Shot could be spelled Cybershot or Cyber Shot quite easily. And DSC-T100S could be written DSC T100S or DSCT100S, or even just DSC-T100.
You may not want to bid on the last few terms, unless you’ve got a very large budget to spend. The conversion rate is likely to be poor, since people searching for Digital Cameras don’t know which camera they want, how much it’ll cost or even what features they are looking for. These people are looking for information first and foremost, and will probably bounce around a few different websites deciding what they are looking for. If you’re going to make a success of these terms, you probably want to have a lot of comparison information and product reviews and the suchlike. If you can persuade people to make their decisions based on the information on your website, then you can still get a respectable conversion rate. Personally, I’d steer clear of them, at least until you’ve got a stable, profitable campaign…
On top of these keywords, you may want to add keywords with certain features, e.g.
8 megapixel digital cameras
7 megapixel digital cameras
Bear in mind that if you’re planning on bidding on these terms, you need a landing page that’s appropriate.
If you start out with all of these keywords, you can always trim them back once you can see which keywords are working and which ones aren’t.
One of the features of Adwords is the ability to bid on the same keywords using different types of matching – specifically, Exact Match, Phrase Match and Broad Match.
If you were to bid on “Sony Cyber-Shot” on Exact Match only, your advert would only appear if the searcher was to search for the exact term “Sony Cyber-Shot”. If they searched for “Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-T100S Camera’,’ your advert would not appear.
If you were to bid on “Sony Cyber-Shot” on Phrase Match, your advert would appear if the search contained those words, even if there were other words before or afterwards. So, your advert would appear for “Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-T100S Camera”.
Broad Matching has two forms. Firstly, it’ll return your advert if people search for terms containing your words, even if there are other words in the middle, or the words were in a different order. So, if the search term was “Cyber-man Episode Of Doctor Who Shot On Sony Film”, your advert would appear (maybe). Secondly, Adwords will think of similar words (in its opinion), and bid on those on your behalf. You can limit this by using Modified Broad Matching – by putting a + sign in front of certain critical words in the keyword, you can ensure that that exact word, or a close variant such as a plural, must appear in the search query.
One of the components of the Quality Score (Google’s measure of the relevancy of your advert - this will be discussed in detail later) is the similarity between the search term and the keyword that you’re bidding on.
Suppose that you are bidding on [blue widgets] (square brackets mean ‘Exact Match’ and somebody else is bidding on “widgets” (double quotes means ‘Phrase Match’). If somebody searches for blue widgets, the keyword relevancy aspect of the Quality Score would be higher for you than for the other advertiser.
However, if you were bidding on [blue widgets] and somebody else was bidding on “blue widgets,” then you wouldn’t get any advantage, as Google considers that the two are equally relevant.
So, how should you use the different match types? I’d suggest that you should start with Phrase Match on everything, and use the Search Query report to look for keywords that perform particularly well or badly. Also put all of your keywords on Exact Match – it may be that the exact term performs very differently from variants, and you need to be able to see this variation.
If some searches perform badly, use negative match to stop your adverts from appearing for them. If they perform very well, add them on exact match and phrase match, and crank up the bid on exact match (since you can afford to pay more per click on a better-converting keyword).
Broad match is a bit of a gamble, as it can throw up some very different keywords. Once you’ve got your keyword list in place, run broad match for a few days, and see if you can get some new ideas for keywords.
Here’s an example: You start out with a keyword list as follows:
After a few days, you look at the search query report, and find that a lot of your searches are for cheap widgets. Your widgets are very reasonably priced, and so these convert quite well (about the same as the rest of the campaign). So you should add these in on phrase match. On the other hand, you’re also getting searches for rechargeable widgets and waterproof widgets, which you don’t sell. So you change your keyword list to:
“cheap blue widget”
“cheap blue widgets”
“cheap red widget”
“cheap red widgets”
Your campaign runs for a few more days, and you realise that “designer widgets” has had significant traffic, and it’s converting much better than everything else. So you decide to bid more on this keyword. However, you don’t want to bid more on “cheap designer widgets” as your designer widgets are very exclusive, and it doesn’t convert as well. So you add in [designer widgets] as an exact match, and pump up your bid on that keyword alone. You also add in “designer widgets” on phrase match, but with the same bid.
And so on. Eventually, your keyword list will stop expanding, and you’ll have a lot of keywords on phrase match, and a handful on exact match with higher bids.
At this point, try broad match. You may find some interesting alternative keywords that mean the same thing. It’s unlikely, and you should monitor it closely, as Google includes something called expanded matching. The idea is that if you bid on a term, Google comes up with other terms that it thinks are similar, and that you’ve probably just forgotten to include.
The results of this can be variable – sometimes broad matching returns keywords that convert at a better price than your existing keywords, but other times it can be completely pants. If you sell wooden chairs, and use broad match, it’s more than possible that your advert will appear with a search for metal chairs. This can drag down your clickthrough rate, and hence your Quality Score.
Grouping Keywords Into Adgroups
As I’ve already said, since keywords in the same Adgroup will all get the same advert, it’s important to group them carefully. If you are a retailer, you should probably put each individual product within its own Adgroup, and then write an advert that specifically mentions this product. This is also important as Adwords considers an advert more relevant if the keyword appears in the advert (particularly in the title) and so will position your advert more highly for your bid.
There’s a useful tool called Dynamic Keyword Insertion which is worth a mention here – you can insert what was searched for into your advert (sort of, more about that in a minute), and so make an advert that relates to a number of products. For example, you could write an advert that says “Buy a 7 Megapixel Camera Here” if they search for a 7 Megapixel camera, and says “Buy an 8 Megapixel Camera Here” if they search for an 8 Megapixel camera. Generally speaking, this is more trouble than it’s worth, though, so I’d avoid using it, at least at first.