Keyword Research For PPC Success: Strategies And Tools

by | Oct 11, 2023 | digital marketing | 0 comments

Keyword research is the bedrock of a successful pay-per-Click (PPC) campaign. It’s the process of meticulously selecting the right keywords to bid on, ensuring your ads appear in front of the most relevant audience. Effective keyword research blends science and art, utilising various tools while delving into your customers’ minds to predict their search queries accurately.

In this guide, we’ll unveil a set of methodologies to empower you to acquire, refine, and organise your PPC keywords, leading to more targeted and impactful ad campaigns.

Getting Started: Brainstorming A PPC Keyword List

The first step in keyword research begins by exploring your website’s landing pages and the destinations your ads will direct users to. By examining each page’s content, you can unearth a treasure trove of relevant keywords associated with your products or services. 

These keywords can be broadly classified into four categories:

  1. Brand terms: These encompass keywords containing your brand name and trademarked terms.
  2. Generic terms: These pertain to keywords related to your products or services.
  3. Related terms: Keywords indirectly associated with your offerings that users might search for.
  4. Competitor terms: The brand names of competitors offering similar products or services.

For instance, if you’re advertising Nike running shoes, your keyword list might include brand terms like “Nike running shoes,” generic terms such as “running shoes,” related terms like “athletic footwear,” and competitor terms such as “Adidas sneakers.”

While brainstorming keywords, consider the following tips:

  • Empathise with your customers: Think from their perspective and envision the words and queries they’d type into search engines.
  • Start broad and get specific: Begin with general keywords and gradually narrow down to specifics for better relevance.
  • Include variations and synonyms: Cover all bases to capture potential search queries effectively.
  • Embrace specificity: Long-tail keywords, while having lower search volume, often lead to higher conversion rates and lower competition.

Expanding your list further can be expedited through the technique of “concatenation,” which combines words into permutations using online tools or spreadsheet functions. Additionally, don’t forget to account for common misspellings and alternate spellings while optimising your keyword list.

Expand and refine your list with keyword research tools

With a preliminary list in hand, it’s time to employ keyword research tools to identify the most potent keywords. These tools provide insights into search volume, helping you gauge the popularity of specific keywords. Notable tools include Google’s Keyword Planner and WordStream’s Keyword Suggestion Tool. Look for keywords with high search volume and low competition — a sweet spot for cost-effective PPC campaigns.

Remember that some tools, like the Google Ads Keyword Planner, can suggest additional keywords you might have missed initially. Free online tools like Ubersuggest and Soovle can also assist in uncovering variations.

If keywords exhibit minimal search volume or unmanageable competition, it’s advisable to remove them from your list. Keyword research tools empower you to refine your list while uncovering hidden gems.

Sorting and organising your PPC keywords

With a substantial keyword list at your disposal, it’s time to organise them into focused groups. Each group should align closely with your ad groups on PPC platforms like Google Ads or Bing Ads. This organisation mirrors your website’s structure and enhances the ability to:

  • Measure keyword performance effectively.
  • Adjust and expand your lists as needed.
  • Create highly-relevant ad copies.

Tightly-organised ad groups yield multiple benefits, including improved quality scores, which, in turn, boost ad rankings and reduce costs per click and conversion.

Don’t forget to add negative keywords

While building your keyword list, don’t overlook negative keywords — terms you want to exclude to prevent your ads from appearing in irrelevant or offensive contexts. Negative keywords are essential to control costs and maintain ad relevance.

To identify negative keywords:

  • Monitor search query reports to identify undesirable search terms.
  • Utilise different negative match types (broad, phrase, and exact) to effectively disqualify unwanted queries.
  • Explore negative keyword options before launching campaigns to save costs from the outset.
  • Apply multi-level negatives across ad groups or campaigns for efficiency.

However, exercise caution to avoid excessive use of negative keywords, which can hurt impression volume and campaign performance.


Keyword research is a dynamic and ongoing process. Continually iterate on your keyword research strategy by adding new keywords, setting new negatives, and experimenting with match types. 

By dedicating around 15% of your PPC management time to keyword research, you’ll strengthen your account’s relevance and performance over time. Mastering keyword research is pivotal to PPC success, making it a cornerstone for every digital marketer and marketing agency. Contact Zeal Digital for all your queries.

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