Supporting Your PPC Campaign with Keyword Analysis

The foundation of all search-engine work is a keyword analysis. Doing a keyword analysis is really not that complicated and can mean the difference between success and failure to your PPC campaign.

Begin by typing the obvious keywords into a text editor or word processor — the ones you've already thought of, or, if you haven't started yet, the ones that immediately come to mind. Then study the list for a few minutes. What else can you add? What similar terms come to mind? Add them, too. Later in your analysis, you'll find that some of these initial terms aren't searched for very often. But that's okay; this list is just a starting point.

Your company name

Include your company name on the list, in whatever permutations you can think of (Microsoft, MS, MSFT, and so on).

Trademarks and product names and terms

Think about all the product names and terms that people may be searching on, even your own trademarked terms if you have any. Don't assume that people will find you anyway, even without PPC; in many cases, the trademark owner does not rank well for the trademarked term. Even if your company does rank near the top, consider whether you want to advertise in the sponsored results, too. Other companies may come above you in the sponsored results, perhaps your partners — agents, retailers, and so on — but also perhaps competitors.

Other companies' names and product names

If people will likely be searching for companies and products similar to yours, add those companies and products to your list for now.

Synonyms

Sometimes similar words are easily missed. If your business is a home-related business, for instance, have you thought about the term house? Americans may easily overlook this word, using home instead, but other English-speaking countries use the word house more frequently than home. Add it to the list because you may find quite a few searches related to it. There are even differences between terms within the United States — in some areas of the country people say soda; in other areas they say pop, for instance — so try to be aware of any differences pertinent to your business.

Split or merged words

You may find that although your product name is one word — RodentRacing, for instance — most people search for you using two words, rodent and racing. Remember to consider your customer's point of view.

Also, some words are employed in two ways. Some people, for instance, use the term knowledgebase, while others use knowledge base. Which is more important? Both should be on your list, but knowledge base is used four to five times more often than knowledgebase.

Singulars and plurals

Go through your list and add singulars and plurals. Search engines treat singulars and plurals differently. For example, searching on rodent and rodents provides different results in both natural and paid search results.

Common combinations

Consider common word combinations. For instance, many people combine the words discount and coupon with product and brand names, and perhaps other terms such as low cost, cheap, and so on.

Hyphenated words

Do you see any hyphenated words on your list that could be used without the hyphen, or vice versa? Some terms are commonly used both ways, so find out what your customers are using. Here are two examples:

  • The terms ecommerce and e-commerce are fairly evenly split, with a little over 50 percent of searches using the latter term.
  • The dash in e-mail is far less frequently used, with email being the more common term.

Find hyphenated words and add both forms to your list.

Geo-specific terms

Is geography important to your business? Are you selling shoes in Seattle or rodents in Rochester (or rodent shoes in Red Springs)? Don't forget to include terms that include your city, state, other nearby cities, and so on.

Obvious spelling mistakes

Scan through your list and see if you can think of any obvious spelling mistakes. Some spelling mistakes are incredibly important, with 10, 15, or 20 percent of all searches containing the misspelled word, sometimes even more! The word calendar is frequently misspelled. Look at the following list, an estimate of how often the single word calendar is searched for each day in its various permutations:

calendar: 10,605 times calender: 2,721 calander: 1,549 calandar: 256

Thirty percent of all searches on the word calendar are misspelled! One nice thing about misspellings is that competitors often miss them, so you can grab the traffic without much trouble. A keyword that costs several dollars when spelled correctly might cost only a few cents when misspelled.

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