A Brief Guide to Choosing PPC Keywords

by | Aug 20, 2022 | PPC

Every strong PPC campaign is built on the back of PPC keywords. How keywords and phrases are selected will enhance the relevance of which ads the search engine provider serves to match searches. But, what’s the best method of choosing PPC keywords?

Keywords are one part strategy, one part research, and one part thematic emphasis. The language used must resonate with searchers if the aim is to get viewers to click. It’s all about leveraging the right keywords, at the right time, in the right way.

Let’s dig into how to choose PPC keywords!

PPC Campaign Goals

First, determine the goal behind the campaign and what results you want. Set both a general goal and the projected metrics. This will inform both PPC keyword strategies as well as the budget.

For example, if the goal is to get more conversions, how many conversions do you need? If the goal is traffic, how much traffic and to what landing page? A clear objective will inform keyword selection and lead to the highest chance of success.

Deep Dive Keyword Research

Keywords have to be relevant to both the brand and the searcher. What content can the brand realistically talk about? What are users looking for? Use the ad’s landing page to develop a starting point for dedicated keyword research.

With the rapidly growing intelligence capabilities of Google’s algorithm, natural language and relevant themes are increasingly important. Also, remember to consider variables such as seasons, competition, and geography.

Keyword Tools

Keyword tools such as Ahrefs, SEMrush, KWFinder, and Moz are helpful when creating a strategic PPC keyword list. These all help inform keyword selection and work in conjunction with Google’s Keyword Planner.

The Keyword Planner will reveal not only keyword volume (how many searches that keyword gets) but also the level of competition (how many others are bidding to use that keyword too). The perfect zone to be is high-volume and low competition.

High-volume keywords indicate high levels of traffic, whereas low competition means low costs. The higher the competition, the more desirable the keyword, and the more expensive it will be to get top visibility.

These tools are helpful, but they’re only one small part of the PPC keyword equation. They only work effectively when paired with comprehensive strategy and tactics. A PPC agency can easily structure a PPC campaign to leverage multiple tools and methods to get the best results.

Keyword Types

An exact match allows more control over what the consumer engages with when searching for something specific. There’s very little guesswork in this tactic, and it’s an easy tactic for a PPC campaign. But don’t ignore other match types or variations that weren’t immediately on the radar.

Exact brand terms are any keywords that contain the brand name or trademarked terms and phrases. Competitor terms use the names of other brands to present a competing ad when consumers search directly for a competitor.

Related terms are thematic and topical keywords that are adjacent to the intended product or service. For example, if the PPC ad is for exercise apparel, related terms would include yoga, running, jogging, or fitness.

Broad terms are more specific to the target topic or brand than related keywords. If the athleticwear is LuLuLemon, broad or generic keywords would be yoga pants, leggings, workout clothes, or sportswear.

Negative Keywords

Negative keywords can be a powerful supplement to PPC campaigns if used correctly. Negative keywords tell the algorithm what searches the ads should not appear in. Start this research and implementation as early in the campaign as possible to avoid unnecessary ad spend.

Negative keywords are a strategic filter that prevents the ad from being served and costing you money when it isn’t a good match. For example, if the product is a high-ticket, luxury item, it would not be associated with words such as “free,” “low-cost,” or “affordable.”

Read search query reports frequently and stay on top of what the searches are that led to the PPC ad being served. Any results that are not a good match should be marked as negative keywords to prevent poor serving in the future.

Make sure the negative keywords are categorized with the correct match type as there could be a drastic amount of traffic blocked. The use of negative phrases and exact matches should be used to disqualify long-tail keywords.

Keep in mind that too many negatives can harm overall traffic and campaign results. Be strategic, and don’t overdo it.

Misspelled Keywords

Not everyone is a spelling bee champion. Even with all the spell-check tools embedded in mobile devices, search engines, and writing software, people are searching, not bots.

There is a high likelihood of some misspelled words, but you can leverage them positively. Intentionally choosing PPC keywords spelled incorrectly can give any campaign a high-volume, low-cost option.

Voice To Text Keywords

Mobile devices abound; there’s no way around it. With Siri, Google, and Alexa conducting searches on behalf of humans, this creates a new category of search terms that are more focused on speech patterns than written language.

For a local fitness studio, voice-to-text keywords may include:

  • Fitness studio near me
  • Best fitness studio in Fort Lauderdale
  • Fitness studio in Fort Lauderdale open now
  • Where is the best fitness studio in Fort Lauderdale?

Plan for variations such as “how can I,” “where do I,” and “what is” and develop a keyword list to match voice phrases.

Optimize and Adjust Regularly

The nature of digital and PPC advertising is that it’s an ever-changing and dynamic channel for ads. Deciding on what keywords to use is only one part of the strategy. There’s so much that can be done to enhance their overall effectiveness.

Someone needs to monitor, manage and continually adjust a strong PPC campaign to ensure it’s operating optimally. Keep track of performance metrics and reporting data. Check for rising keyword costs and new negative keywords to prevent unnecessary spending.

Choosing PPC Keywords Is The Beginning

PPC advertising is never truly done. It just changes. Stick to these proven and successful tactics and watch the clicks come in. Or, better yet, hire the experts at Full Circle SEM today for the best results in choosing PPC keywords and then managing your PPC campaigns.


Justin Ober

Justin built his first website and eBay store while in high school (circa 1999) and has had a hand in internet marketing ever since. After graduating from Penn State University he headed for warmer weather in sunny South Florida, where he worked on both the client and agency side of digital marketing. Yada, yada, yada, he's since managed over $30 million in digital ad spend and is an expert in all things PPC.

If you’re ready to take your brand to the next level, call 888-757-2714 or contact us here today.