Choosing Keywords for Adwords

If you are new to Adwords, it is very important that you learn which keywords to target. Keywords or key phrases are what your potential customers enter into the search box to find what they need. These are also what trigger your ads to be displayed. In short, if you target the correct keywords, it is easier to reach your target market with your ads. On the other hand, the wrong keywords would mean that the wrong people might see your ad, increasing your costs while also lowering your clickthrough rates and return on investment.

It is very important that you know which terms are going to be used by your target market. With your business, you are trying to give people a solution to their problems. Online, you would need to have that kind of thinking as well, by giving people what they are searching for.

So how do you come up with a keyword list that works? Here’s how:

1. Write down all the keywords that come to mind

The first step to discover your keyword list is to sit down and list down all the keywords and phrases that are relevant to your business. Do not judge each keyword yet and eliminate them, just list down all the keywords you could think of.

Remember to include all combinations and permutations of your keywords. For example, you can use the following techniques to expand your list:

  • Using both the singular form and plural form of the word, i.e., charity vs. charities or back vs. backs
  • Using synonyms, i.e. producer vs. maker
  • Using abbreviations, i.e., television vs. TV
  • Word stemming, i.e. cling vs. clinging
  • Find out the common misspellings, i.e. google vs. goggle
  • Specific solutions that are related to your business or service, i.e. photocopiers vs. photocopier repair

Keep writing down all the keywords and phrases that you can think of. An initial list of a hundred or more is a good start, although you will use only around a fraction of these keywords for your campaign.

2. Use keyword research tools

A good shortcut to this process is to make use of keyword research tools. These tools can help you know just how many sites are competing for a particular keyword and also how many people are using that keyword to search. You can also get more keywords that are being used by a lot of people to search for your products and services.

There are a lot of keyword research tools out there but here is a list of some free ones:

  • Wordtracker
  • Google Insights for Search – You can see how popular a keyword is, categorized by regions, time frames, and other categories.
  • Adwords Keyword Tool

3. Group your keywords

Once you have your list of keywords and phrases on hand, you will need to categorize it and group similar keywords together. This will help you come up with the appropriate ad groups, as well as the best and most relevant ad for that group of keywords.

First, find out how you would want to segment your keywords. Check out your list and see what patterns emerge. You might also want to eliminate the keywords that you think would not be very useful at this stage.

Determine your top-level keyword groups. These keyword groups should be very broad. For example if you run a bookstore, you might want to use “biographies,” “horror,” “sci-fi” as your top level keywords.

Create subgroups for your top-level groups. Break down your top-level groups into smaller and more specific subgroups. Keep going until you have successfully grouped all your keywords into subgroups that are small in number and very closely related.

Take a tip: If you need help with grouping your keywords, you may check out Keyword Niche Finder at, which basically helps you discover keywords and group them together. This is a paid service, but you can do 10 searches for free.

Check out your own Web statistics data. Another way to find out what your target market is using as search terms is to take a look at your Web site’s visitor logs. What keywords did your visitors use to find your site? This could be a great source of keyword that you have not thought about.

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