How To Expand Your PPC Keyword List

So you've developed a core list of keywords to bid on, now what?  

  1. Filter what you currently have.  After I develop my core list of keywords, I like to go through my list to double check that I do not have any keywords that are irrelevant to my site's objectives.  This helps ensure that you will be spending your money driving relevant traffic and it also helps your Google quality score (we will touch upon this in an upcoming article).

  • Develop popular misspellings and variations of popular terms.  This is another strategy to capture the "long tail".  I take the top terms important to my campaign and try to figure out whether or not there are popular misspellings.  Often times, you can come up with your own misspellings of a term by trying to type that term as fast as you can, ten times.  Usually, you capture the most common keystroke errors and misspellings that way.  I also try to find familiar variations of popular terms.  An example would be "online" and "on line".
  • Append and concatenate.  Whether it be with geographical terms (digital camera San Francisco, digital camera San Diego or buy digital camera San Jose, buy digital camera Oakland) or product specific terms (Canon 2 mega pixel camera, Canon 3 mega pixel camera or Sony digital camera, Kodak digital camera) concatenating is a great way to expand your keyword list to capture important keywords.  More and more search results are containing three or more words, so as advertisers we need to come up with more keywords and longer, more detailed search phrases to be bidding on.
  • Create a list of negative matches.  Yahoo allows you to negative match at the keyword level whereas Google allows you to negative match at the campaign and Ad Group levels.  Regardless of where you're advertising, it is absolutely essential to have a good, targeted list of negative match keywords which will help you weed out untargeted traffic.  Continuing with our digital camera example, a few obvious negative match keywords that I would add to my campaign would be, repair, class, and history, all of which are irrelevant to my business.
  • Learn about and use the different match options.  Yahoo allows standard match and advanced match options.  Google allows broad match, phrase match, and exact match options.  What's the way to go?  Obviously advanced match and broad match will drive the most traffic to your site, but is that what you're after?  The answer here is that you should play around and try the different match types and test.  It all depends on what your goals as an advertiser are.
  • Track and test.  Now that you have a hefty, targeted list of keywords, throw them up and see how they do.  Ideally, you would be able to track the performance of each keyword that you're bidding on to see how they're doing for your business.  Both Yahoo and Google offer conversion tools for their advertisers.  Try different keyword phrases, try different match options, and test!  Definitely fiddle around with your campaigns, try new things and always keep trying to improve your keyword lists.
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