Am I Using the Right Keywords?

“Am I using the right keywords?” As you create your AdWords campaign, this is the single most important question that you need to ask yourself again and again. You can put in countless hours writing creative ad copy, but if you do not get those ads in front of the right audiences, your campaign does not stand a chance.

Unfortunately choosing AdWords keywords can be a very subjective process. Ultimately it comes down to a variety of factors, including industry, your business operations plus budget and growth goals.

To ensure your AdWords campaigns have the right keywords, we’re highlighting a few important keyword research tips to help get started.


What words or phrases would your customers use to find the information they are looking for? How would you find your business if you were not the one running it? Assign your terms and phrases a keyword grade based on how relevant they are to this goal.


Don’t Just Be Specific - Be Targeted

Leave out overly general terms.  Just because a keyword generates a lot of traffic does not mean it will give you the results you need if it isn’t actually related to your ad. The bottom line is single keywords can be too generic to support effective campaigns.  Instead, two or three-word phrases may work better because they are more targeted. Using the phrase “ride-sharing service is a great way to target specific people who need transportation. Breaking up those individual terms  and using them will not generate the same results.

Really Understand WHY a Keyword or Phrase is Good

Above all else, keywords and key phrases need to clearly relate to  your product, service or business.  Google is inherently based on relevance – it always has been and always will be.

Use the Google Keyword Planner and other keyword research tools to help identify those keywords that are pertinent to your business. A keyword grader will also be helpful in this regard. Use the keyword planner to keep track of all the high-quality keywords you find to use them in the future.

Google's Keyword Planner

Don’t Go Too Broad or Too Specific

Remember that AdWords advertising is NOT a billboard.  Don’t use overly broad terms to rank higher on the search engine results page (SERP). Google AdWords is about getting RELEVANT clicks from QUALIFIED customers – period.

However, the reverse of this is also true. If you go overly specific, you also run the risk of not connecting with your target audience. Try not to use more than four words per keyword phrase.

Match Types and Modifiers

Once you’ve chosen the right keyword, you also need to make sure that you are focusing on the right match type. A failure to do so can ruin campaigns.  Along those same lines, keyword modifiers (or adjectives) are also a great way to take a good keyword and make it even stronger. Keyword modifiers would be any relevant “secondary” keyword that you can then put together with a primary keyword.

Bid on Your Own Brand Name

Finally, above all else, one of the things you should always make an effort to do involves bidding on your own brand name. While it is definitely a debated practice among advertisers, the advantages of bidding on brand terms outweigh additional costs.

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Getting Started

Not Sure How to Begin Keyword Research? Check out our Basic Keyword Research Tips.