Hopefully part one of this guide helped you to set up your account and gain an idea of the basics of PPC marketing through search engines. This section will look in more detail at researching your keywords and setting your budget.

Part 1 of the guide can be found here http://www.123-reg.co.uk/blog/archives/pay-per-click-guide-1/

What are keywords?
Keywords are the terms people have typed in to a search engine to look for some information. For example, if you are looking for a birthday card you may type in “Birthday cards”. When the search engine brings back the results, it also displays adverts related to that subject. Advertisers have told the search engine that they want their advert to be shown when ever their chosen keywords are searched for, in this case for Birthday cards.

Depending on what you want to advertise, your list of keywords may be anything from a dozen up to literally thousands (as is the case with the major retailers such as Amazon).

Keyword research
There are numerous keyword research tools to help you decide which terms to bid on. Some of these are free and others ask for payment. Google provide a free keyword estimator tool as part of their AdWords account, which will show predicted spend and traffic for a keyword. However, it will not create a list of keywords for you.

One of the most popular tools is Yahoo!’s free keyword selector tool, This will tell you how many times a certain term has been searched for in the past month, along with associated searches using that term. This can be found here http://inventory.overture.com/d/searchinventory/suggestion

In order to build a keyword list, start by using these tools to type in the keywords you think people will use when searching for your product or service. The keyword tools will then show you know all the combinations of alternative keywords that people use to look for your product and service. Choose the keywords that you think are most relevant to you. The more keywords that you choose, the greater the potential traffic and sales that your PPC campaign will generate.

Generally, common keywords are popular amongst many advertisers, so the cost per click you pay for these keywords are likely to be higher than longer, less frequently used keywords. It’s a good idea to include as many as possible within your account.

Organising Your Keywords
When you have decided on which keywords you want to use, you need to organise them into themes or ‘Ad groups’. Each ad group should have a similar list of keywords, promoting a similar product. For example, if you sell greeting cards you could groups your keywords according to the different type of cards you sell. You might have one ad group that contains keywords all about ‘mothers day’, another ad group containing keywords all about ‘fathers day’, another for ‘birthdays’, and so on.

The reason for this is that when you are setting up your campaign, you need to associate a particular advert to a particular keyword. If you have a single list with all your keywords, and three different adverts (promoting ‘fathers day’, ‘mothers day’ and ‘birthdays’), then someone searching for ‘fathers day card’ may be shown your advert that promotes ‘mothers day cards’. This advert will not be relevant to that person, so they will not click on it, even though they are searching for a product that you sell.

Keyword matching
When setting up your keyword list, there are four different types of keyword ‘matching options’:

EXACT – customers must enter the exact keywords chosen for your ad to be shown, eg ‘greeting cards’. Your ad would only be shown for a search with those exact words, and in that order. To do this use this format: [greeting cards]
BROAD – any permutation of these words in any sentence will bring your ad up, eg ‘cards to give a greeting’ will still produce your ad when your chosen phrase was ‘greeting card’
PHRASE – the user can enter a longer sentence, but the words must still be in the same order, eg ‘I like greeting cards’. To do this use speech marks: “greeting cards”
NEGATIVE – the ad won’t be shown if a certain specified word is used, eg ‘hate” as in ‘I hate greeting cards’. To do this put a minus in front of the phrase: -greeting cards

The Matching Option you place your keyword in will affect how much traffic your campaign receives, how much your campaign costs, and how many leads you generate. For example, ‘broad match’ will bring the most traffic, and cost the most, as your advert will be shown for a wide variety of searches that include your keywords. However, it is likely that your conversion rate from traffic as a result of keywords in broad match will be lower, since there is a greater likelihood that some of that traffic will be irrelevant to your product or service.

For example, if you sell greeting cards and have the keywords ‘greeting cards’ on broad match within your campaign, your advert will be shown for people searching for ‘free greeting cards’ or ‘Yahoo greeting cards’, since those searches both use the phrase ‘greeting cards’. If these people click on your advert they will leave your website in just a few seconds, since you do not sell the product they are looking for.

Misspelled keywords
Many users will misspell keywords, mistakenly conjoin them, or use alternative forms of the words. In order to catch them, you should consider adding variations of your keywords to your account. These include:

  • Plural and singular forms (greeting cards, greetings card, etc)
  • Different verb conjugations (party, partying, parties)
  • Spelling mistakes or variants (adress, center)
  • Hyphenated words (e-mail, re-send)
  • Numbers (one, 1)
  • One word or two (seatbelt, seat belt)

Bidding on keywords
The amount you should bid depends on several factors, including your budget and how high in the ad list you want to be ranked.

The maximum bid level you set is not necessarily the amount you will have to pay. The search engines will automatically optimise your bids so that you are paying the minimum amount per click. For example, if you have set your maximum bid to 10p per click, and the next bid down is 7p, your bid will be set to 8p to ensure you are higher, but not paying the extra 2p. As with eBay, if another bid comes in at 8p, you will be moved up to 9p. This will continue until your maximum bid is reached.

The best method is to experiment with bid values over time. You are unlikely to get it right straight away so it is important to keep an eye on your campaigns.

In Google and MSN, your ad ranking is not based solely on how much you have bid. The search engines use a quality score based on your bid AND your CTR to establish how attractive your advert is to people who are searching using your keywords. Google / MSN presume that adverts with high CTR are the most relevant ads for a search, and so these ads do not need to bid as much to be ranked as highly as an ad with a poor CTR. There are two reasons for this:
1. The search engine ensures that the most relevant ads are shown increasing the quality of their search results
2. They earn more money! An advert worth 50p clicked on 100 times will generate more revenue than an advert worth 70p clicked on 60 times.

This is why you need to make sure your adverts are compelling, interesting, attention grabbing and accurate advert.

We can help. Read more about our PPC search engine marketing solution to see how we can help you create highly converting ads for your campaign.

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2 Responses

  • Kleeneze

    An interesting blog, although Yahoo now have a different model, based on how Google work – it’s no longer just the amount you bid, as to where you are ranked .. CTR (click through ratio) also comes into play, so too does Quality Index.

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    January 29, 2008 at 2:28 pm
  • Matt

    Thanks for the comment.

    Yahoo launced ‘Panama’ late last year which totally overhauled their PPC scheme from the back end through to the dislay of the adverts.

    One of the new features they introduced was their version of Google’s quality score, which rewards successful adverts with cheaper bid prices.

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    January 29, 2008 at 2:51 pm