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Using Paid Search Keywords Correctly to Build Your Online Business

In my last post, I shared using a fishing metaphor to talk about stepping your PPC game up to the point where you know how to use it to build your online business for the long haul.  So, let’s start looking at some of the “tricks of the trade” to do just that.

Trick #1 – Use Keywords Correctly

A great misnomer among PPC advertisers is the belief that the foundation to success for an account is found in picking the right keywords.  While picking good keywords is important, it’s not the foundation.  The foundation is knowing how to use keywords to find search queries that you can use to attract customers to your website.  That’s right, keywords are different than search queries.  Search queries are the phrases that real users actually type into the search engines.  Remember, keywords are like nets that you throw into Search Engine Sea to find the fish (search queries) that you will then use to prepare dinner.

How do you build your account around search queries?  Well, an easy way is to make sure to separate your winning search query catches from your nets.  Once you catch a fish, you don’t leave it in the net, right?  That will just get in the way of catching other fish when you throw the net back in.  Therefore, we’ve got to use the organizational features that the paid search interfaces give us to put the fish in a bucket so that we can skin and fillet (optimize) it.

This is easily accomplished by separating your nets and your fish into separate campaigns.  Your “net” campaign will contain keywords that use match types effectively (we’ll get to this soon) to go out and catch the fish.  Your “bucket” campaign will contain the search queries you have found to be winners.  You will set these search queries on “exact match” so that they will only be matched to the exact query that you found works for your business.  Yes, I know that once you add the query to your account that it (technically-speaking) becomes a “keyword,” but since it will only be matched to the exact query, we can view it as such.

The bucket campaigns is where you will build your account from what you caught in the net campaign.  This separation allows you to separately control budgeting, bidding and other targeting options to focus your efforts on dominating the locations that really put food on the table.

For example, if we create a “fishing” campaign that uses the keyword “red shoes” on broad match, it will be matched to thousands of real search queries like “red nike tennis shoes” or even “purple slippers” (broad match can be very broad).  Yes, you may find that the exact query “red shoes” works for you and meets your advertising goals.  But, long-term business growth against your competition requires that you go fishing for as many queries as you can make work for your business.

So, let’s say your main keyword theme is “red shoes.”  Through keyword research, you add many relevant keyword phrases to your “net” campaign.  As ads run on these keywords, they will be collected and you are able to view them in your account. Here’s an illustration of what it’s like.  The keywords you add to your campaigns are in the middle.  The actual search queries that users are performing are in the small bubbles…

Now, what do you do with these?  You take a look at their relevance and statistics to decide whether to continue advertising on those terms or not, and whether or not they’ve performed well enough to be implemented into your net campaign for different treatment.  There will be a lot of terms to add as negatives, some to throw into the bucket, some will need more time, and some may need special attention to figure out why they are not performing as well as you might think.

Next time, we’ll take a look at how you may treat these groups differently.


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Mike Fleming

Mike Fleming stays on top of the latest strategies in Paid Search and Web Analytics to make sure every campaign he manages for Pole Position clients brings measurable, profit-maximizing value to their company and their website visitors. Mike enjoys playing, writing and recording music along with playing basketball to get his workout in. He resides in Canton, Ohio with a beautiful, sweet, caring and admirable girl who threw a snowball at him one day…then married him. Read Mike's full bio.

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