The change that Google has made to the Keyword Planner tool is not major – the same elements are still there, they have just been reorganised and some of the naming has slightly changed. For those experienced in AdWords, I don’t think it makes any difference, but I do think that it may make things easier for less experienced users to find the keyword information that they need.
The ‘Old’ Keyword Planner Tool
The updated version of the Keyword Planner Tool that is rolling out to accounts
With the new Keyword Planner tool rolling out to AdWords accounts, it is a good time to review the techniques and tools that you use to find keywords (and negatives) that are relevant to your AdWords campaigns.
Keyword Research Methods and Tools
The Keyword Planner tool is pretty comprehensive and is the tool I usually use when doing keyword research. However, some users of this tool believe that due to Google having a money making ‘agenda’ it tends to promote more expensive keywords and underestimate search volumes for ‘cheaper’ keywords. I also find that when searching for new keywords, the relevant results can sometimes be more limited than what I would like.
So aside from the Keyword Planner Tool, there are some other tools and methods which can also be helpful when doing keyword research. One of the most useful tools I have found is ‘Keyword Tool’ at http://keywordtool.io/. It uses ‘Google autocomplete’ and has suggestions for Google, YouTube, Bing and the App Store.
However, they have changed the tool recently to have a PRO version which you need to see actual search volume, CPC and competition.
You can use it by typing in one or more words and receive suggestions that include the word or words you entered. You can find a comprehensive list of a number of other keyword tools here.
Another way of finding new keywords is by using the search query report in AdWords. This can be particularly helpful if you start with broad or broad match modified keywords in your campaigns, as you will get a wider variation of keywords appearing in your search reports. You can then identify which of these search queries have potential to be successful by looking at click-through rates and conversion rates.
If your site does not have conversions set up in AdWords or Analytics, then looking at engagement metrics of search queries in Google Analytics can be a great alternative. Search queries with high engagement metrics that are not already in your account should be added at a phrase or exact match keyword level
Adding negative keywords to your AdWords accounts can be just as important as adding keywords to your AdWords campaign and can be very important for a number of reasons including; a lot of money can be spent on clicks from search queries that are not relevant and unlikely to result in a conversion, click-through rates can be impacted by your ads showing against irrelevant searches, and there are some search queries that businesses do not want to appear for as they feel that it could affect their brand.
The previously mentioned tools can be very useful for finding negative keywords as well. If there is a keyword that keeps appearing in keyword suggestions tools that is not relevant to your product or service, then it could be a good idea to add it as a negative. When using search query reports in AdWords and Analytics, if there are keywords that are costing you but have low conversion rates and/or low on-site engagement, then you should consider adding these to your negative keyword lists.
There are a number of different options for adding negative keywords to an account. You can add negative keywords at an ad group level, campaign level, or create negative keyword lists that can be shared across selected campaigns. You can also add broad match, phrase and exact match negative keywords. Broad match single-word keyword negatives are the easiest and most effective way of blocking a wide range of irrelevant traffic, but you have to be careful that you are not unintentionally blocking traffic that is relevant to your business. Often phrase and exact match negatives are used for blocking keywords that are actually relevant to your business, but have a poor performance. These match types are also effective when you are targeting similar keywords in different ad groups or campaigns, and want the most relevant ads to show.
When to conduct keyword research
The most obvious time to conduct keyword research is when setting up new AdWords campaigns. However, it should never be a one off activity. Updating the keywords you are targeting, as well as your negative keyword lists should be done regularly in order to get the best results out of your AdWords advertising. Search behaviour is always changing, so your AdWords campaigns should be too! Also consider using this keyword data to assist with your SEO.
Leanne discovered her passion for marketing and data during her Bachelor of Management Studies majoring in Marketing. Leanne’s wide knowledge of digital marketing, in particular paid search, SEO and social media, has flourished after working alongside some of the best minds in the industry at Online Republic and Search Republic. She has passed all of Google's qualifications and prides herself on staying up to date with the latest industry news and trends.