Fairness reigns in pay per click (PPC) advertising: you never pay Google to run your ads unless someone actually clicks on one and visits your website (or clicks on a phone number in the ad and calls your business directly from the ad). We no longer live in the Stone Age of advertising where you have to pay up front for your print, television, or radio ads, regardless of how many people respond. They click, you pay – then and only then. Pretty sweet deal, right?
The secret most people don’t know, is that in AdWords, it gets ever better. You can actually see what people typed into Google when they saw and clicked on your ads. That’s right. AdWords grants you the power to access the exact terms people searched when they saw and clicked on your ad.
LET ME REPEAT AGAIN – GOOGLE SHOWS YOU WHAT PEOPLE ACTUALLY TYPED INTO GOOGLE WHEN THEY SAW AND CLICKED ON YOUR ADWORDS AD!!!
This data and the insights that come from it are huge assets to you. Why?
One word: Relevance. And in the world of PPC advertising, relevance is key.
Consumers click on ads that are highly relevant to their search results – because that means they get the product or service they want. Which means you get what you want – prospective customers. And Google gets what they want – happy customers and advertisers. Another bonus: Google rewards the most relevant ads by boosting them closer to the top of search results, with no extra cost to you.
Conversely, consumers who click on irrelevant ads don’t find the product or service they want, and you waste budget on frustrated consumers. They’ve wasted time, you’ve wasted money, and no one wins.
Relevance creates a win-win-win.
Maximizing your ad relevance creates a win-win-win situation where your business can ONLY benefit.
Here is where search terms and keywords come in. These simple words are the key (forgive the pun!) to connecting your most relevant ads possible to the the most relevant searches possible.
Failing to understand the power of keywords and search terms means wasting a lot of budget on irrelevant searches. You don’t want that. You want to optimize your advertising budget by spending it on the highest quality words – these translate directly into more prospective customers.
Fortunately, keywords, search terms and the differences between them are relatively simple to understand.
What are search terms and what do they do?
Search terms are the most basic element of Google: the words, phrases, or expressions that users enter into Google to find a product or service. Search terms can be simple or intricate, sloppy or precise. Naturally, some searches are more relevant to your business than others.
Your goal is to show up on the best (read: relevant) searches for your business. You only want users to see and click on your ad (and spend your advertising budget) when they searched for a product or service that your company actually offers. In other words, you want to attract the right customers to your business.
This is where keywords come in.
Keywords comprise the backbone of any successful AdWords campaign. Without them, your campaign fails. Essentially, keywords are the search terms that describe your business the best. Read that again: keywords are the search terms – the words, phrases and expressions – that describe your business the best. These terms are the most relevant to your business.
And the keywords are the search terms that you instruct Google AdWords to show your ads on.
This is key: Your AdWords account allows you to view the exact search terms that triggered your ads. Not only that, but you also possess the power to tailor the keywords, i.e. search terms, connected with your business, thereby improving the relevance of the searches that trigger your ad.
Conversely, you also have the power to block keywords, i.e. search terms, that you do not want your business to show up on. In AdWords speak, these blocked keywords are called “negative keywords”.
By leveraging this power, you optimize your chances of connecting with the best customers possible.
Let’s look at a hypothetical example.
Jenna owns a local flower shop in Seattle called Jenna’s Flower Boutique. When she initially set up her AdWords campaign she chose three keywords: florist, flower, and jenna’s flower boutique and adds them as broad match keywords (click here for more information on keyword match types).
Next week, she opens up her account to see how the campaign is doing. From her Campaigns tab, she clicks into her search campaign. From there, she clicks on the Keywords tab along the top of the page. Under the tab are three buttons: “Keywords”, “Negative Keywords” and “Search Terms”. She goes straight to the Search Terms button to look at what kind of searches are bringing traffic to her ads.
Five search terms with clicks are listed – which means these five searches triggered her ad to be shown, and then the consumers clicked on the ads and visited her website.
- local florist near me
- jenna’s flower boutique location
- how to grow flowers
- do roses grow in washington
- are florists members of the illuminati conspiracy
With a quick glance, Jenna sees a massive problem. She definitely wants her ad to show up on 1 and 2, but 3 and 4 have nothing to do with her business – and what the heck is going on with 5? She can’t believe she wasted budget on 60% of her searches.
Part of the problem here is that the keywords on her account were set to the loosest match type, broad match. This means that any search that includes her keyword, or is synonymous or related, are fair game.
Thus, any search that includes the keyword “flower”, regardless of the words before or after, could potentially prompt her ad show, like “how to grow flowers”. Not only that, but “flowers” and “roses” are synonymous, so the search term “do roses grow in Washington” also triggered her ad to show.
The same thing goes for “florist” – that search term is included in “are florists part of the illuminati conspiracy”, so her ad showed up on that search.
Obviously, potential gardeners and conspiracy theorists are not the type of potential customers Jenna wants.
Good news: It’s an easy fix.
Fortunately, Jenna is not at the mercy of internet wackos.
First, the purge: she examines the search term list and makes a list of the specific terms she no longer wants her ads to show up on. Here, those would be “how to”, “grow”, “members”, “illuminati”, and “conspiracy”.
Second, she goes to her Negative Keywords subtab and adds the irrelevant search terms as negative keywords. This just means she is telling Google, “I never want my ads to show up on another search including these words.” Problem solved. She will never spend another dime on a click from a search that includes any of these new negative keywords.
Finally, she goes back into her keywords subtab and changes the match type of her keywords to exact match, phrase match, and broad match modified (again, here’s more information on match types). She also adds some more good keywords (like florist seattle wa and flower shops in seattle) to her campaign so that she can better reach the most relevant customers on the searches they do.
Boom. Problem Solved.
As Jenna continues the process of reviewing and refining her keywords and negative keywords, the search terms she shows up on will continually improve. She adds “keyword and search term maintenance” into her weekly AdWords management checklist. Thus, she continually strengthens her campaign and increases her business’s potential for growth.
Better quality keywords & negative keywords =
Better quality search terms =
Higher quality traffic =
more customers =
Get in touch!
Success in PPC advertising depends on developing a network of strong keywords in your campaign, and I hope this article helps you to do that.
Got questions? We would love to hear from you! With proven expertise in the art of PPC advertising, our team would love to partner with you in maximizing your business to its absolute highest potential. Contact us and let us know how we can help you.