Tuning AdWords, Part 2: Keywords

17 Jun, 2008  |  Written by  |  under AdWords

Today, we’re going to talk about AdWords keywords, and how to set them up so you get more value than the vanilla Google setup would give you.  From Part 1, let me reiterate that you need each Ad Group to focus on one phrase, and that phrase needs to have its own custom ads and a specific page on your site.

So, once you’ve got the above, what can you do with keywords?  Google lets you target phrases 4 ways:

  1. Exact match.  So if a user searches on exactly happy widgets, with no other words, it’s an exact match.  You indicate this in Google with brackets:  [happy widgets]
  2. Phrase match. This kind of match occurs if the words are adjacent, but extra words before or after are allowed. “happy widgets” is how you specify this kind of match, and it would match a search on shiny happy widgets or one on happy widgets farming, but not happy farming widgets.
  3. Broad match.  This just requires the words in the phrase to be in the search somewhere.  So if in AdWords, you specify happy widgets as your phrase, happy widgets farming would match, as would widgets farming happy.
  4. Negative match.  This lets you specify that the words must NOT appear in the search.  If you can identify related searches that should not see your ads, you can avoid showing ads to folks unlikely to click (and very unlikely to convert).  Classics are -free, -jobs, and -class which are common searches, but aren’t buyers.

So once you’ve created a new Ad Group for your important keyword, set up a couple of ad variations for it, and linked it to a page about that phrase, I suggest the following keywords for that group as a starting point:

[happy widgets]
“happy widgets”
happy widgets

Naturally, augmenting this with additional close matches from Google’s keyword tool is usually useful, but consider using exact and phrase matches for those as well, if they get many impressions.

The great thing about this is that then you can see how many searchers are using your exact phrase, your phrase with other words, or your words in a different order.  This can be very informative, especially in combination with Google Analytics.

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