Keywords are Key to Google AdWords

Keywords are Key to Google AdWords

Careful keyword selection is critical for Google AdWords search advertising success.

Those simple search terms you enter into Google unlock a treasure chest of possibilities.

And who doesn’t use them? You probably open a browser and search for multiple terms a day.

So it seems like you or someone on your team could successfully develop search advertising campaigns without much thought, right? After all, everyone knows them so well.


Crafting the perfect arrangement of keywords for your Google ads requires diligent research, consideration, and expertise—especially if you want to get results and don’t want to spend more than you make.


Google AdWords—and all search ad campaigns—can eat your lunch (and dinner) if you don’t use them carefully and in concert with an overarching research-based marketing strategy and plan that includes industry, audience, market, and competitive analyses; key messages; a mix of tactics in a coordinated tactical plan; a budget; and measures of success.

Got that? Still thinking about Google AdWords?

Excellent. If you have a research-based strategy and plan in place, you know how Google AdWords fits into your marketing mix, you know how you’ll measure success, you understand what portion of your marketing budget you have allotted to it, and you know how to craft keywords that target your audience effectively.

Don’t have a research-based marketing strategy and plan?

Hold. Without one, you’re likely to waste money on PPC advertising. A lot of money.


Using the research developed in your strategic marketing plan, and the key messages it generated, you and your team can sketch personas of your target audiences that will help you envision the situations in which they would search for the products and services you offer and you can imagine the types of words they might use in a search engine.

Let’s say you have a chain of coffee houses with locations in major metropolitan areas. Your cafes are perfect for business meetings and for traveling executives to get a bit of work done while on the road, but they aren’t great spots for first dates or for playing board games all afternoon with friends.

You could bid on the keyword “coffee,” but you’ll then have to pay for anyone in the universe who searches for that term—and that will cost a fortune. Not only will these clickers potentially be in cities that don’t have one of your locations, they may not even be looking for a café—they might be searching for a place to buy a bag of beans.

Therefore, smart campaign developers will research the cost and frequency of searches on terms that combine “café” and “coffee shop” and “coffee house” with the names of the cities or neighborhoods in which you have locations. They will research options that combine terms like “coffee” and “business” or “business meeting.” (And they won’t forget about the value of longtail keywords.)

The good news: First, your company should always have more than one search-ad campaign running at a time, through which your advertising managers can test options and see which ones work best—and can discontinue the ones that don’t. You don’t bet the full farm on just one search word or word combination. With search ads, experimentation and constant adjustment are critical.

Second, there are tools that can help advertisers research keyword options before you put any money forward on search advertising. Experienced search advertisers do their homework, and they do it repeatedly as they optimize your campaigns.


Remember, your company bids for keywords against other companies that want the same terms—and Google chooses the bidder that wins based on the price the company is willing to pay to be ranked most highly in search ads and based on the quality of the ads and the results they get.

Terms with high popularity and high search frequencies will cost you more than others. Ads that perform will cost you more than others (yet in this case, you may not mind if you’ve calculated your ad spend carefully).

How do you know how much of your company’s marketing budget to spend on a given set of keywords? Herein lies the art of the advertising expert—and, as we’ve said before, we highly recommend you don’t try search advertising on your own.

Even the savviest advertisers don’t create search-ad campaigns without careful analysis of multiple third-parties, including the following research tools:

Of course, as with every other form of research, no single tool will give you all the answers, and the best tools for each need continually evolve. Investing in people who know where to go and when for building successful search-ad campaigns are worth the investment.


Companies that believe they can go it alone with search advertising either haven’t yet tried it or have lost a lot of money (and will tell you that it “doesn’t work.”)

Smart companies know when to bring in experts. Like FrogDog. How can we help?

Posted: Sep 25, 2017
Updated: Oct 07, 2019
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