Wrong Keywords May Be Hazardous To Your Health

I'm terribly allergic to bad keywords. There's something about not finding the lowest priced converting keywords and wasting money on bad keywords that bring about unpleasant ill feelings.

Seeking the end to my keyword misery, though, I managed to find the right prescription of analytics that cured this debilitating allergy ... analytics about my keywords.

Perhaps the primary strategy in campaign management is ensuring your keyword list is both comprehensive and restrictive. Comprehensive in the sense that we want to try to bid exact match on every possible keyword phrase a potential customer may use in looking for our product or service.

At the same time, we need to restrict our list of phrases to exclude words that could "tag along" on any broad match keyword phrases that do not relate to our products or services.

Using Your Analytics to Expand Your List

First let's cover comprehensive. Let's assume we sell office supplies and we first want to work on expanding our keyword list for the different types of pens we sell.

There are a number of great tools to help us get started on expanding our keyword listing, such as Trellian. Once we've begun to gather data about the keywords used by our site visitors, though, the best source of this information is our own analytics.

An outstanding report available in Conversion AnalystTM that's an excellent resource for zeroing in on the best keywords is called the "Search Phrases" report. The "Search Phrases" report shows exactly the keyword phrase your visitors used to ultimately end up on your site.

You'll find the "Search Phrases" report by clicking on "Marketing" in the Reports section, then "Search Engines", and then "Phrases".

Let's see how simple it is now to find new keywords…

In our example below, we see that the highest number of visitors to our site as a result of our paid search ads arrived by entering the word "pens" in the search engine.

The next most frequently used search phrase by visitors was "ink pens". Since we're already bidding exact match and have separate targeted ads for both of those phrases, we should be seeing good results.

As we scroll down the list, however, we see 2 phrases that brought visitors to our site that we know we're not bidding exact phrase for: "gift pens" and "click pens".

So how did visitors who typed in those phrases end up on our site? By drilling further down into Conversion Analyst™, we see it was due to our broad match bidding on the phrase "pens". Looks like we've just uncovered an opportunity to better attract more qualified traffic for lower click through charges.

There are 3 huge benefits to bidding on the exact match of "gift pens" and "click pens"

1. Higher click-through-rate and higher quality traffic with a more focused ad - As you create more specific, exact-match keyword phrases, you can create very targeted ads that will outperform your more general ads. For instance, under our broad match "pens", our ad read like this:

Quality Pens at Great Prices
Browse our large selection of pens.
Free shipping on orders over $49.

As we break out "gift pens" into its own AdGroup, we can better tailor the ad to:

Great Gift Pens For Special Occasions
Create lasting memories with a quality
gift pen. Easy online ordering.

2. Generally, exact match terms are priced lower than their broad match equivalent. This is especially the case when comparing an exact match phrase made up of a group of words against a broad match single word. Also, with our higher click through rate from above, we'll get a higher "discount" reward on our cost per click from the search engine for having an effective, higher quality ad.

3. And, by driving these visitors to our Gift Pen landing page, we should see a nice increase in our conversion rate compared to driving these prospects to a more general "pens" page.

Now let's see how this report can help us identify words we don't want to pay for, called "negative keywords"…

Using Your Analytics to Restrict Your List

Let's take a look at some tactics for restricting your keyword list to exclude words not related to your products or services. Using our previous example, we want to make sure we're not bidding on phrases that don't apply to our business even though they contain the word "pens".

Notice that further into our Search Phrases report, we start to see visits to our site from keyword searches that have nothing to do with our products, such as "dog pens", "horse pens", "pens for animals", and "pen drive usb".

How did someone type "dog pens" into a search engine and end up on our site? We're definitely not bidding on that phrase.

Again it's the fault of our broad match "pens" keyword. Even so, why would someone click on our ad if they were looking for "dog pens"?

Take another look at our ad title and creative and you'll quickly see why:

Quality Pens at Great Prices
Browse our large selection of pens.
Free shipping on orders over $49.

This ad is so general that it even applies to "dog pens".

To solve this problem we should:

1. First, try to use exact match with all of our keyword phrases by thoroughly researching our analytics. This will help us tailor more specific ads and prevent attracting and paying for the undesirable visitors.

2. Next, use our negative keywords by researching our analytics for any "tag-along" words that don't apply to our products or services.

The Bottom Line

Besides probably making you feel ill, using bad keywords is a terrible drain on your online budget. As we've demonstrated, your analytics are a great resource for fine-tuning your keywords list.

Remember, your analytics can do a lot more than simply measure visits and conversions. So, now that you know the cure to the dreaded Bad Keyword Allergy, be sure to use healthy doses of analytics, and see the health of your online marketing results prosper.

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