Keyword research is an essential step in online advertising. When building online advertising campaigns, you’ll need to perform keyword research whether you’re promoting your website with SEO or advertising with paid search.


This process will help you define what your potential customers are looking for. However this process is not limited to knowing the words and phrases that your potential customers use when they use a search engine. You will also find out how much competition there is for those words and phrases, so you can estimate your chances of attracting traffic to your website. Keyword research is simply finding the right way to draw potential customers to your site. You already know some of the keywords people are searching for.


As far as keyword research goes, everyone has their own strategy and best practices. These are tips I’ve collected when doing my own research.


1. Do Keyword Research:


You might think you know exactly which keywords you want and you might think your keyword list is pretty basic. Regardless – DO KEYWORD RESEARCH. Go through the process and you’ll uncover whole lists you didn’t even think of.


When attracting traffic to your website, you’ll want to make sure its high quality traffic, that the traffic is targeted and that there is a high likelihood that this traffic will convert into a sale, lead or sign-up.


Short search terms (with 1 or 2 keywords) get more traffic, but are generally of lower quality. ‘Watch’ and ‘mouse’ are good examples of short keywords. Long tail keywords (with 3+ keywords) get less traffic, but is generally higher quality. These search terms are more specific, so the likelihood is those who type them in search engines know what they’re after and are ready to make a purchase. For example, ‘Casio W-96H-1AVES mens resin digital prices’ or ‘Logitec wireless mouse M510 5 button’ are much more specific and will generate more high quality traffic than ‘watch’ and ‘mouse.’


The good news: Super specific keywords are less competitive. If you bid on them, they tend to be cheaper.


The bad news: On their own, specific keywords don’t bring a huge amount of traffic. You should focus on long tail keyword research, aimed at ranking many different, specific (long) keywords, rather than on one, general (short) keyword.


2. Figure out how many keywords you are trying to optimize for:


This will depend on your business and the size of your website. If you’re selling just one product and/or have a very small website, perhaps 5-10 keywords is enough. Larger websites with more products/services can try to go after a larger amount of keywords. This number does not have to be set in stone, but it’s a good idea to get a ballpark estimate before you start.


If you are advertising many products or services – don’t try and write all the keywords yourself because it’s a waste of time and effort. If you are selling thousands of products your keyword list might be (hundreds of?) thousands of words long. Use a PPC automating software such as adCore to generate a huge list of keywords in minutes. Then, refine that list and work with it.


3. Use keyword tools:


Now that you have a pretty large list of potential keywords, it’s time to expand the list even further. Check out the previous post about the best free keywords tools out there.


By using the keyword suggestion tools, you can quickly expand the list of your potential keywords.


4. Assign search volume to each keyword:


Most keyword tools provide the search volume number next to each keyword, but they all use different scales. So you may use different keyword suggestion tools for the keywords, but you should stick to one scale when assigning search volume.


I personally like to use adCore’s Keyword Tool. If you use the Google tool, make sure you use either the Global Monthly Search Volume estimator (if your business is global) or Local Search Volume estimator (if your business is local).


By assigning search volume to each keyword, and then sorting the keywords by this measurement, you will quickly see which keywords are most searched for.


5. Don’t stop optimizing:


After you start optimizing and have run the campaign for a few months, you may want to revise a few of the keywords on the list depending on the results you’re getting. You don’t want to make drastic changes (especially if it’s too early). But, if you’re seeing that some keywords are not converting well into sales, you may want to substitute them with related keywords or experiment with some brand new terms.