How to Select the Right Keywords for Your PPC Campaign

One of the most important elements for a successful PPC campaign is selecting the right keywords. It might seem like a pretty seamless task since Google offers tools that can provide search marketers with sample keywords based on a scan of their website, but to really achieve success you must formulate a strategy and select keywords that will have high click through rates and quality scores to generate more conversions.

Finding the right PPC keywords

An example that I love to provide is from the rental property industry. Even though an apartment is located in Charlotte, North Carolina, this does not mean that the business owner should target “Charlotte Apartments” as Google would suggest from scanning their website. From market research, this property owner had discovered that the suburban keywords, like “Uptown Charlotte Apartments” yielded a much better return on investment for his advertising campaigns.

Why do the suburban keywords have a better return on investment? Turns out that people are a lot more serious about purchasing when they search at the suburb keyword level. Additionally, the cost per click is less expensive which results in higher quality clicks and more conversions.

It is crucial that you talk to an expert within the industry before adding keywords to a PPC campaign.  

With the proper research conducted, each apartment community typically had 3-4 suburban related keywords that people would search for within a small radius of the apartment complexes. These were the keywords used for the PPC campaigns. After analyzing the data for 2-3 weeks, the top performers and the low level performers were analyzed and the campaigns were adjusted accordingly.

PPC Keyword Mistakes

A common mistake that our digital marketing agency will see is that too many businesses just throw generic keywords into their PPC campaigns without formulating a strategy. This can result in an outstanding click through rate, but based off of the content on your website or the services you offer, this can result in a limited amount of conversions.

Keyword Strategy

Here’s a strategy on how you can select the PERFECT keywords for a PPC campaign:

  • Conduct an internal meeting with your company to determine what you believe will be the most beneficial keywords for your ad campaign, depending on target audience, company strong points and current offerings.
  • After conducting the research, throw all of these keywords into Google’s Keyword Planner
  • Make sure to select the proper radius targeting when looking for the search volume associated with a list of keywords
  • Keep track of which keywords get the most searches and the corresponding cost per click associated with each keyword

After you have conducted this analysis, it is time to go back to the drawing board. If there is a keyword that you feel will convert well and has a low cost per click, it might make sense to invest more heavily into that keyword.

If you are a lawyer in Tampa Bay, Florida and the keyword “Divorce Attorney in Tampa” is cheaper than “Divorce Lawyer”, it might make sense to make the longer tailed keyword a higher priority for your PPC campaign.  Especially if there is a decent amount of search traffic on the longer tailed keyword.

Keyword Match Types

Don’t forget to adjust your keyword match types to determine whether broad match, phrase match or broad match modifier are the best option for your campaign. And ALWAYS incorporate your keywords within your ad copy, even if this means splitting out your campaigns.

Starting a PPC campaign from scratch can be an overwhelming experience, especially to new advertisers using Google’s PPC platform. Remember that selecting the proper keyword will lay a solid foundation for your online advertisements on search, which can result in more business for your company, so it’s worth the time and effort.

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Jason Parks

Jason Parks

Jason Parks is the President and Founder of The Media Captain and Cleveland Marketing King, two digital marketing and development agencies based in Ohio. He's a VIP Contributor for and has been featured in the New York Times, Yahoo News and Search Engine Watch on digital-marketing topics. Jason's agencies have helped hundreds of businesses increase their online exposure.

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