There are times when you want to expand your keywords but you have run out of ideas and places to look. In this post I will examine some alternate tools to help you come up with new keywords.
Always remember, just because a tool suggested a keyword does not mean you should use it. Consider the implications of cost and profit potential of a keyword before adding it to your account.
Microsoft adCenter labs search funnels
Microsoft has a nice suite of tools at adCenter Labs. One of the many tools is known as Search Funnels.
Search Funnels gives you data for on common subsequent searches for specific keywords. For example, if someone searches for mortgage, their next search is:
- Mortgage calculator 11.7% of the time
- Mortgage rates 3.8% of the time
- Refinance 1.31% of the time
This is a good way to catch someone on a second or third search. Using all of the keywords in a string can make sure you are in front of the same searches for multiple steps of their search process. It’s also a great way to get in front of highly motivated searchers when you cannot afford to bid on a keyword by letting you see if you can serve an ad to them when they next conduct a search.
The tool does not do well when you start getting into keyword queries with small search volume. Take your top few keywords by impressions and input them into the tool to find suggestions. This is also a great tool for researching the broader informational queries, or queries that are early in the buying cycle.
Xenu Link Sleuth
Xenu Link Sleuth is a free desktop program that spiders your website.
While this program is great for finding broken links in your PPC accounts, it can also be used to see all of your title tags at once. If your SEO department spent time on writing custom title tags and hopefully conducting keyword research for those title tags, use their work to get new ideas for your keyword research.
Google & Microsoft Search Query Reports
The Search Query Report is a report you can run in AdWords or adCenter that gives you data on what someone actually typed into the search box that caused your ad to be displayed. You no longer have to guess at what people are searching for—the Search Query Report will tell you.
Run this report to find both negative keywords and new keyword ideas. By spending some time reading a report of actual search queries, you can gain insight into how people are searching for your products. Often these insights are easy to miss when you are using the standard keyword tools. Keywords are thought processes, this report will help you gain perspective on people searching for your products.
Search Based Keyword Tool
The Search Based Keyword Tool (SKTool for short) offers keyword suggestions based upon Google’s crawl data. When you are logged into your AdWords account, you can also see your current query share (how often you ad is displayed for a search query). Look for keywords where you do not have any query share as they are most likely not in your account, and see if any of them are good keywords for your website.
When using the SK Tool’s crawl data, Google will also suggest landing pages for those keywords. Always be careful of automated tools, sometimes those landing pages might not be the best place to send traffic.
The SKTool also offers the ability to drill down through categories. While it is nice that Google did categorization for you to easily find new keywords, but often these suggestions should be thought of as ad group ideas and not necessarily keywords as most of the suggestions are fairly broad in scope. However, the categories can give you nice suggestions for new ad groups to try, and when you find a new ad group the new keywords come naturally to you.
The thesaurus is a great tool for finding related keywords. Many big publishers have done much of this work for you in creating keyword relationships—leverage it. Go to your favorite thesaurus and read the related keywords. You can easily use the AdWords Keyword Tools site spidering ability to crawl the thesaurus for you as well. This helps you to leverage multiple tools at a single time.
As Google Suggest used predictive information to suggest the search query, using these queries as keywords can help broaden your audience reach. Web Seer allows you to compare two keyword suggestions against each other and will show where the queries overlap. This is a fun tool to play with for a while to gain valuable insight into the most common search suggestions for your keywords.
Wordtracker Labs: Keyword Questions
Wordtracker is one of the oldest keyword tools on the web. One tool they offer (and you can access it for free) is keyword questions. Input a keyword (broader keywords usually lead to more suggestions), and the tool will show you the most common questions associated with that keyword. This is useful not just for keyword research, but also for gaining insight into why someone is conducting a search query, or for ideas for creating FAQ pages on your site.
Try different tools
Many keyword tools have free or trial versions. If you always use Wordtracker then try Wordstream. If you spend most of your time in the AdWords keyword tool, try the Microsoft Advertising Intelligence Excel add-in.
Sometimes it’s best to walk away from any tool and just write a simple story about your products and services to find new keyword inspiration.
We have all have moments when we wanted to add new keywords but could not think of anything to add, or we have exhausted our typical tools. By simply trying a different tool for a while and abandoning your normal routine you can come up with new and creative keywords to add to continuously expand your PPC accounts.
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