Category Archives: Keyword Research

Two Keyword Research Tips for PPC Campaigns

In this post we’ll reveal two keyword research tips that will hopefully help drive higher click-through rates (CTRs) and actual sales of the products/services being advertised.

As highlighted in our previous post, keywords are absolutely critical for success in PPC marketing because, if nothing else, if no one ever searches for the keywords someone has chosen to “trigger” their ad, the advertiser is obviously not going to make very much money!  For PPC advertising campaigns the selected keywords should be frequently searched for by Google users and be highly relevant to the business and/or product being advertised (Petty, 2012).

As Rand Fishkin (n.d.) puts it: “Keyword research is one of the most important, valuable, and high return activities in the search marketing field.”

Keyword Research Tips Lesson #1: Know your Keyword Research Tools

No article about keyword research tips would be complete without some advice about the tools used to conduct this important analysis.

The web is full of free and paid-for keyword research tools such as SEMrush, Übersuggest, Keyword Eye, KeywordSpy, and Wordtracker (Raehsler, 2012; Dyer, 2014).  While each tool has unique features, they all do essentially the same thing and reveal information such as how many people have searched on a certain keyword in Google, and how much on average a marketer can expect to pay for a click on one of their ads.

For the purpose of this post we will take a closer look at Google’s own keyword research tool: Keyword Planner.  From the Google Adwords menu, a user selects Tools, then Keyword Planner, and on the following screen the Get search volume for a list of keywords or group them into ad groups.  Here one can specify the keywords to be researched – as shown in the example below for someone that might be thinking about creating Google ads for their Dublin-based painting and decorating business.

Keyword Research Tips - Keyword Planner image

Once the keyword analysis has completed, clicking on the blue hyperlink under the Ad group (by relevance) column shows the results for each individual keyword.

Keyword Research Tips - Ad Group and Keyword Details images

The results of the above search shows that the search term “painting and decorating dublin” has the highest average monthly search volume, and that based on what advertisers have been bidding on this keyword, Google estimates that €1.65 would give a marketer a chance of ranking highly on the SERP (Adwords, n.d.).

Learning Note: Keyword Planner only provides search volumes for searches that have been entered into Google exactly as they were specified (Burr, 2013).  So, in the example above, searches for “painting and decorating Dublin city” would not be reflected in the Avg. monthly searches total of 110.  This illustrates that Keyword Planner results give marketers an incomplete picture of a keyword’s full “potential”.

Keyword Research Tips Lesson #2: Use Long-Tail Keywords in your Ads

In Lesson #1 we learnt that the keyword “painting and decorating Dublin” is on average searched for 110 times in any given month.  Such a string of one or more (in this case, four) words is known as a “long-tail” keyword and is unsurprisingly searched for less frequently than more general, shorter keyword phrases such as “painting” – a keyword that has an average monthly search volume of about 135,000.

If that’s the case, would a craftsman adverting their painting and decorating services not be better off using much shorter keywords like “painter” or “decorator” to trigger their ads?


The fact is that a person typing “painter” into Google is just as likely to be doing research on the finest Renaissance artists for a college project as they are to be looking for someone to paint their kitchen.

Long-tail keywords are almost always better because while the search volume might be lower, the person searching using long-tail keywords is more likely to be looking for exactly what is being advertised – making them more likely to click on the ad and hopefully also purchase the product (Bell, 2013).  Furthermore, Larry Kim (n.d.) notes that “long-tail keywords can offer incredible ROI because they’re less competitive to rank for organically and less expensive to bid on for PPC.”

And to expand on what we touched on in our last post, long-tail keywords are likely to boost a marketer’s Quality Score over time because their ads’ CTRs are likely to be higher and their landing page “bounce” rates are likely to be lower, meaning that the marketer’s required Max Bid should reduce over time.

All in all, long-tail keywords can help preserve advertising budgets and increase profits at the same time!

Join us next time when we will cover how to create Google ads, but in the meantime you might consider watching this helpful video which recaps on some of what we have learnt about keywords.


Adwords (n.d.) ‘Understanding your Keyword Planner statistics and traffic estimates’. Available at: (Accessed: 17 March 2014).

Bell, E. (2013) ‘PPC Keyword Research Guide: How to Find the Words for Your Paid Search Campaigns’. Available at: (Accessed: 17 March 2014).

Burr, R. (2013) ‘Using Google Keyword Planner (and Other Tools Instead) for Keyword Volume’. Available at: (Accessed: 17 March 2014).

Dyer, P. (2014) ‘10 Great Alternatives to the Google Keyword Research Tool’. Available at: (Accessed: 17 March 2014).

Fishkin, R. (n.d.) ‘Chapter 5: Keyword Research’. Available at: (Accessed: 17 March 2014).

Petty, T. (2012) ‘Why Is Keyword Research So Important for SEO and your Business?. Available at: (Accessed: 17 March 2014).

Raehsler, L. (2012) ‘Paid & Subscription-Based Keyword Research Tools’. Available at: (Accessed: 17 March 2014).