A great way to expand your PPC account is by performing keyword research in order to uncover untapped opportunities. Keyword research is a key tactic for growing an account — especially new accounts, but even mature accounts can stand to benefit from ongoing expansions.
Keyword research is sometimes debated as being unnecessary, and it is fair to say that certain methods of keyword research are futile. Back in the day, it wasn’t uncommon to hear search marketers taking pride in the number of keywords managed, but it’s a different ballgame now; keyword counts don’t correlate to positive performance or even account health. All that to say, there’s no need to add keywords just for the sake of adding keywords!
A good goal with keyword research is to try to identify entirely new themes. There may be some room to flesh out existing themes, but there’s only so much expansion on existing keywords before you’ll pass the point of diminishing returns due to lack of volume as keywords become more and more specific or similar to existing terms.
For example, instead of trying to find every possible hyper-specific description of a shirt (“pink polka dotted yellow shirt”), look for other opportunities to branch out, like tapping into “tops” terms, or terms for different types of shirts, like “blouses,” “sweaters,” “tees,” “button-ups,” “sweat shirts,” “fleeces” and “cardigans.”
You can also look for additional qualities or benefits that might have enough volume to be worth expanding into. You may have already exhausted terms to describe warm sweatshirts, but there are other qualities that consumers search for, such as “half-zip,” “pull-over,” or “hoodie.” Identifying new themes for root terms and adjectives will help you to uncover worthwhile keyword expansions.
Beyond that, it helps to check out the keyword search volume estimates to see if keywords are even worth the time. There’s no use cluttering your account with terms that aren’t going to have a real impact — not to mention the waste of time that it would take to organize said keywords into campaigns.
The same can be said for keywords that are really similar to, or possibly even already covered by, keywords that are in your account already. It may make sense on a one-off basis to add keywords of this nature if you intend to set a different bid and/or if you believe that search query matching will make it worthwhile to have both terms.
Be careful about adding these types of keywords in bulk without a plan to keep an eye on performance. Additions of keywords that are highly similar to existing terms should be monitored closely to ensure that the new keywords contribute to incremental gains, as opposed to robbing Peter to pay Paul.
In order to monitor performance to ensure that the new keywords are adding value to the account, I highly recommend labeling the new keywords as they are added. Labeling the new keywords allows for quick and easy performance reviews. Furthermore, it is good practice to analyze positive performance, as well as poor performance. Make certain that positive performance of new keywords isn’t to the detriment of existing keywords — or, if it is, then make certain that overall account performance is stronger.
In addition to monitoring keyword performance, I also prefer to get rid of keywords that are flagged for low search volume. Now that keywords can truly be deleted if they haven’t generated impressions, I prefer to get rid of these keywords so that they aren’t cluttering the account. In large accounts, downloading and syncing the account can take quite a bit of time, so there’s no need to further bog it down with unnecessary keywords.
Most advertisers are pretty careful to avoid duplicate keywords to ensure that the same keyword isn’t competing against itself. However, when auditing accounts, I have often found broad match keywords that compete against each other.
Since broad match keywords don’t rely on the order of the terms, two different keywords can still be considered duplicates. For example, the terms yellow rain jacket and rain jacket yellow would compete for the same queries.