3 Million Keywords


Google last month increased the maximum number of keywords allowed in a standard Google AdWords account from approximately 50,000 to 3 million. Yes, that’s right, you can now have up to 3 million keywords in your Google AdWords account.

And while most pay per click (PPC) advertisers are probably already doing a fair job at targeting a large number of relevant searchers through their existing keyword lists, there are massive opportunities for PPC advertisers who take the time to research thousands more keywords than their competitors.

Let’s find out why.

1. More Impressions

To illustrate the first reason, let’s consider Google’s phrase match for a moment. By bidding on the keyword ‘sony bravia tv’, and setting it to phrase match, you are essentially saying to Google:

“Show my ad whenever someone mentions the word ‘sony bravia tv’ in their search query”.

The job of phrase match is to show your ads for searches that mention your keyword phrase. You might therefore think this will enable your ads to appear whenever someone mentions the phrase ‘sony bravia tv’ in their search query.

Wrong.

Just because you have chosen to bid on the keyword ‘sony bravia tv’, does not mean your ad is guaranteed to show for any search containing the phrase ‘sony bravia tv’. You are competing with thousands of other advertisers for Google’s search results page real estate, and Google can only show a finite number of ads at any one time (10-12).

When deciding which ads to show, Google will display the ads that are most likely to generate a high click through rate (CTR), and those that have a relatively high Quality Score.

So when someone searches for ‘sony bravia 50 inch tv black’, PPC advertisers who have chosen to bid on a keyword close to ‘sony bravia 50 inch tv black’, and are able to display an ad which is relevant to Sony Bravia 50 inch TVs, is more likely to be awarded the chance to appear on Google’s search results page, than your generic keyword ‘sony bravia tv’, which triggers a more generic ad message.

The percentage of impressions your keywords receive for all ‘available’ searches is counted in Google’s Impression Share metric. The higher your Impression Share, the higher the percentage of available searches in which your ads appear.

The crucial point is this – by researching thousands of relevant keywords, all other things equal, you are more likely to show for a greater number of relevant searches. By researching thousands of keywords, your impressions and click volume will increase considerably.

2. Increased Relevancy

The second benefit of having a comprehensive keyword list is increased relevancy.

If you allowed a huge number of very different search terms to match to a single keyword ‘sony bravia tv’, your ad messages will have to be somewhat generic to cater for the wide range of different search terms. Your ‘sony bravia tv’ ad may appear on Google for searches such as ‘sony bravia 40 inch’, ‘sony bravia 42 inch’, and ‘black sony bravia 52 inch’, so your ad needs to be generic enough to be cater for all these very different searches.

On the other hand, if you had separate keywords and ads for ‘sony bravia 40 inch’, sony bravia 42 inch’, and ‘black sony bravia 52 inch’, you can provide more relevant and tailored ad messages to each search requirement. For example, whenever someone searches for ‘sony bravia 40 inch’, your ad message could mention ’40 inch’ and take visitors directly through to the ‘sony bravia 40 inch’ products page on your website. Similarly, if the searcher is looking for ’42 inch’ or ’52 inch’ Sony Bravia TVs, you ads and landing pages can be more tailored to these phrases.

Under a more comprehensive keyword and ad message strategy, click through rates will increase, as your ads appear more relevant to the searcher’s specific requirements. Quality Score will also increase, resulting in lower cost per click (CPC) prices. And since the user journey is more relevant, efficient and targeted, conversion rates are also likely to increase.

The crucial point is this – by researching thousands of relevant keywords, you can display thousands of tailored ads, and realize the benefits of higher CTR, lower CPCs, and higher return on investment.

3. Better Measurement

The third and arguably most important benefit of having a comprehensive set of keywords is better measurement.

Even through your keyword ‘sony bravia tv’ may be phrase matched to searches such as ‘sony bravia tv deals’ and ‘cheap sony bravia tv’, having thousands of different keywords in your Google AdWords campaigns will allow better measurement and analysis of different search terms.

Even if we ignore for a moment the benefits of increased relevancy (point 2 above), let’s see how separating out your keywords can provide an increased amount of insight into how different types of keywords perform.

SCENARIO 1:

In scenario 1 (below), suppose your keyword ‘sony bravia tv’ receives 6,000 clicks and generates 60 sales, resulting an a conversion rate of 1.0%. It’s delivering a good return on investment, so you decide to keep the keyword running without making any changes.

"Google AdWords Keywords"

SCENARIO 2:

Now consider scenario 2, where your 6,000 clicks are now spread out over a greater number of keywords. Like scenario 1, your keywords continue to deliver a total of 60 sales.

However, unlike scenario 1, since you have multiple keywords, you can now see exactly where your sales are coming from. You can see that the keyword ‘sony bravia tv deals’ is performing very well, achieving a conversion rate of 1.6%, while people looking for ‘cheap sony bravia tvs’ tend to convert very poorly (conversion rate of only 0.4%).

You can then take these findings, adjust bids and budgets accordingly, and carry out further analysis as to why searches containing the word ‘deals’ perform considerably better than searches containing the word ‘cheap’. Remember – without splitting out your keywords, this would not have been possible.

"adwords keywords"

The crucial point is this – by researching thousands of relevant keywords, your campaign performance data will be spread over a greater number of keywords, allowing more insightful analysis and optimisation. You can filter out poor performers, push high performers, identify opportunities for keyword expansion, and ultimately deliver a higher return on investment for your PPC marketing budget.

Conclusion

When researching keywords for your Google AdWords campaigns, don’t think:

“I only need to add generic keywords such as ‘sony bravia tv’ and ‘sony bravia televisions’ – everything else such as ‘discount sony bravia tv’ and ‘40 inch sony bravia tv free shipping’ will automatically match to my generic keywords”.

Instead, think:

“I need to add as many long-tail keywords as possible, so I can better see how each type of keyword is performing and provide more relevant and tailored ad messages”.

The best campaigns are those that contain a huge number of relevant medium and long-tail keywords, targeting searches containing differing amounts of qualification. The best campaigns are those that are structured across thousands of granular ad groups, so that thousands of tailored ad messages can be presented. The best campaigns are those that aim to maximise relevancy, engagement, and chance of conversion at each stage of the buying cycle.

When you think you have finally created the ultimate Google AdWords campaign, think again.

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Alan Mitchell is an experienced Google AdWords specialist, with a proven track record in helping businesses increase their return on investment (ROI) from PPC marketing. To find out how logical PPC marketing can help your business, please get in touch today for a free consultation.

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  1. #1 by Larry Lau on December 10th, 2011

    By increasing the amount of keywords made available definitely helps with targeting more specific audiences within the Display Network… However, how do you think Search Network can benefit from this without hindering the overall CTR and therefore quality scores when accounts have too many keywords.. or does having keywords with little impressions not affect your account negatively?

  2. #2 by Alan Mitchell on December 11th, 2011

    @ Larry

    Having thousands of keywords and ads is more likely to boost your CTR and Quality Scores. Since you can be more targeted with your keywords and ad messages, your ads will be more likely to match the user’s search words, with matching words appearing in bold. This will help to boost CTR, which in turn will lead to higher Quality Scores and lower CPCs.

  3. #3 by Mike at Dive Knives Direct on February 10th, 2012

    Its logical that the straight conversion rate for longer tail keywords is greater and therefore more profitable. It would be interesting to factor in the value of the additional time required to manage the larger keyword set. I believe it would still be more positive for the longer tails, but I’m curious as to what that cost would be.

  4. #4 by Alan Mitchell on February 11th, 2012

    @ Mike

    Building extensive keyword lists can take considerable time and effort, but if the keyword strategy is well thought-through and managed from the start, it can save considerable time in the long run.

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