One of the most important things to get right when running a Google Ads campaign is the list of keywords you target. Choose the right keywords, and you increase your chances of getting a healthy return on investment. Choose the wrong keywords, and you will spend money without much to show (here’s a quick way to lose money on Google Ads).

There are several steps you can take to help ensure you choose the right keywords for your Google Ads campaign. Let’s get started.

Understand User Intent

This is an area of keyword selection that many people get wrong. If you’re only looking for the keywords related to your products or services with the highest number of average monthly searches, you’re likely doing this wrong. You may be thinking that more people searching in Google will result in more visitors to your website however you are probably not running a Google Ads campaign to get visitors to your website. Most of the time, the objective of Google Ads campaigns is to get sales or leads. This is where user intent becomes important.

Instead of simply looking at the average number of monthly searches for a keyword, you should also assess the user intent, i.e. what the person is trying to do when they type that keyword into Google. The most important keywords for your Google Ads campaign are those that indicate buying intent. By targeting keywords with buying intent, you might get fewer people visiting your website from the ads you run, but those visitors are more likely to be in the frame of mind to buy.

Think Like a Customer

The next step is to put yourself in the shoes of your customer – what would you type into Google if you were looking for the products or services that your business provides? Would those search terms be different depending on the stage of the buying journey? Do you have different types of customers that might use different keywords (jandals for Kiwis v/s flip-flops for people outside New Zealand)?

Use the Keyword Planner

Once you have your initial list of keywords, use Google’s Keyword Planner to see the average monthly searches and level of competition. This will give you an indication of the return on investment you might achieve. It will also help you understand the keywords that are not worth targeting as the level of competition is too high.

You can also use the Keyword Planner tool to get suggestions of other keywords that might work in your Ads campaign. You should now be building a healthy list of keywords, which brings us to the next point.

Choose Keywords That Are Specific

You don’t want that list of keywords to be too long. The precise number you should target will vary depending on the campaign, but one good rule of thumb is to be specific.

As you go through the process, your list of keywords may start to include related phrases and words that might be beneficial. Remembering back to the first point on this list, don’t forget about user intent. Usually, this means keeping the keywords as closely related to your products or services as possible.

Search in Google

Another useful tool to find potential keywords is Google search. There are two main methods:

  1. Start typing a keyword into Google and check the suggestions it reveals with each letter you type.
  2. Complete the search and scroll to the bottom of the page to review the related searches section.

Constant Refinement

After following the above steps, you should have a good list of keywords to target with your Google Ads campaign. Don’t ever regard your keyword list as being complete, though. You should constantly review it, adding new keywords that show potential while removing others that are not performing.

Not sure how to go about it or would you rather that someone do this on your behalf? As one of New Zealand’s leading digital agencies, we have helped hundreds of clients run successful Google Ads campaigns and can do the same for you. Get in touch today.