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SEM Strategy #6 : Identifying New Keywords

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# 1
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It should be plainly obvious that you need to optimise an AdWords account at least once a month, but if not – you’d better start doing that as soon as you have finished reading this post!

The problem we all have is, it’s not always easy to know how to optimise your accounts?

A good place to start is by looking for new (and possibly better performing) keywords to add to your account. So lets start there shall we.


Start by opening your campaign and then viewing your keywords.

Select Details (next to +Keywords) and choose the option of All.

You are now looking at the full list of keywords that AdWords is willing to provide of all search phrases that resulted in a click on your adverts for the date range you have selected.

Tip: If you find any irrelevant or bad keywords or phrases, add them immediately to your Account Shared Negatives list – I’ll talk about this in another post.


I always like to add the Keyword column here (so that I can easily see if a particular keyword results in bad search matches) so go to columns and customise this column in.


Start by arranging your keywords by Conversions and add all the good converting keywords by ticking the box to their left and selecting the Add as keyword button.

Tip: Always add a + in front of key or important words in the search phrases so that you end up with Broad Match Modify keywords - unless you can clearly see that a word will perform better as a Phrase Match or Exact Match.


Next, arrange by Ave. CPC (low to high) and add the keywords that generated interest but had the lowest Average CPC.

Lastly, arrange by Impressions and added any relevant keywords that generated a large amount of interaction or volumes of traffic to the site.


If the keywords haven’t performed by the next time you check this ad group, pause them and look for others.


Something you also need to keep in mind is that you will most likely find that keywords that match other ad groups appearing in the one you are reviewing. If this happens, paste the search phrase into the correct ad group and add it to the negatives list for the ad group you are currently reviewing.


Find me on Google+ (Rainer Schmid) for my previous Strategy Posts and for more hints and tips!

1 Expert replyverified_user

Re: SEM Strategy #6 : Identifying New Keywords

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# 2
Top Contributor

Hi Rainer,


I can appreciate the idea and concepts you're suggesting here but I think you're missing some points and as well, I don't personally agree with some of what you're suggesting.


Once a month! I would lose most of my clients if I only optimized their accounts once a month.  Yikes! You could review a different report or metric in an account daily, just one and that would likely give you something to do every day for an entire month.  Let's not forget that for some accounts, many tasks need to be completed more regularly than once a month.  


When you run search details (search query reports) you should review ALL keywords, not just modified broad keywords - you can certainly find both new keyword opportunities and negatives from all match types, even phrase and exact match keywords (think variants).


Not all negative keywords (bad search terms) automatically belong in an account level shared negatives list, only the negative terms that would apply to the entire account (far off from the business model), from now on and forever. You can have campaign level share lists or simply apply negatives to an individual campaign, ad group etc...Also, you may be able to cover a slew of negative with a particular term from the SQR, not necessarily the entire search query is needed to be added as a negative. For instance, I had a scenario where I was promoting a programming class for a client and found out quickly that this language name was also associated with an entire line of hats as well.  Would you start to create extensive lists of all the possible related negatives for this hat company or start adding negative keywords like 'hat','hats' etc...


If you're already using broad, modified broad matched keywords, why would you then add these newly found keyword opportunities as broad match again...that seems to be an incorrect use of match types to me. If you discover a new keyword that is performing well, whatever that means for a particular account, I would prefer to add them in a more strict match type and potentially increase the bids. You've discovered them as a benefit to the account, why not maximize the potential? Isn't that new keyword worth more to you than the broad match that caught it? There could also be an argument for adding in some additional broad keywords for additional keyword mining but I don't believe that this is a standard practice.  If keyword research is done prior to launching an account, you would likely have a really good idea of which top level terms will be good for mining new keywords and use those in your initial broad match terms.


"Something you also need to keep in mind is that you will most likely find that keywords that match other ad groups appearing in the one you are reviewing."


Finally, this statement suggests to me that the account was not correctly structured from the start. Proper use of embedded negatives, match types and keyword groupings can pretty much eliminate this possibility all together, this is not all that common in my accounts. In fact, when/if I ever discover something like this, I'm disappointed that I had missed something. Properly setting your ad groups up for relevant traffic is a cornerstone of building an account. 


Sorry if this comes off a little harsh but I have a deep passion for what I do and this community. While the overall idea is good, this is borderline bad advice IMO.  However, it is just my perspective and I'm only one person - perhaps other folks here can share their thoughts as well.


All that said, I'm totally open to hear your perspective on some of these points as well - I've been wrong more times than I care to admit.  Smiley Happy



Tommy Sands, AdWords Top Contributor | Community Profile | Twitter | Philly Marketing Labs
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Re: SEM Strategy #6 : Identifying New Keywords

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Hi Tommy (PPCBossman) 


Accounts should most definitely be reviewed as often as possible, I completely agree with you here. 

The reason I stated this is because I have seen how often new account managers create an account and only review it every now and again - especially if its a small account.


In terms of the search query reports, I think something was lost in translation.

All keywords should definitely be reviewed (not just a certain match type) but when these keywords are added into the account, I find that I get much more targeted results by added the keywords back in as BMM.


In terms of the negatives lists.

There is a reason Google allows for account level, campaign level and ad group level negative keyword lists. So I completely agree with you there (This is another post all on its own - which you are welcome to write Smiley Happy ) As you stated, add the most common element from the search phrases as it is more efficient use of your time and doesn't result in negatives lists that contain thousands of words instead of a hundred.

If you need to remove a phrase from the entire account -> use the Account level negatives list

(Think carpet installer- remove "jobs", "career", "intern" etc)

If you need to remove certain phrases from a campaign -> use the Campaign level negatives list

(Carpet Installer campaign - remove "vinyl flooring installer")

If you need to remove certain phrases from an ad group -> use the Ad Group level negatives list

(Carpet installer ad group - remove "buy" and "showroom")


"If you're already using broad, modified broad matched keywords"

This would be the optimal way to manage an account, however for many smaller / low budget accounts that have limited management time available, I find that this technique tends to provide good results. By including a number of match type keywords in the same ad group (optimised to their best match type over time) it also doubles as a reasonably good platform for keyword mining - provided the keywords result in conversions and/or are of great value to the account or ad group.


"Finally, this statement suggests to me that the account was not correctly structured from the start."

A new account that does not have a massive management fee associated to it (in other words you are not being paid to optimse this account every day) will hardly ever run that smoothly and I often find a negative keyword that has been missed or a keyword that attracts incorrect search phrases. By optimising the account (which is what this post is about) you are able to rectify the situation and eventually end up with a smoothly running account.


I do not think your reply to my post is harsh in the slightest - it was in fact very well worded.

I value any and all comments from AdWords Practitioners (especially those from people such as yourself who are more advanced than me) as this is the way we spread our knowledge and improve the industry. By improving the industry we can strengthen it and ensure its longevity and the future of our careers.