Choosing the Right Keywords in AdWords

Choosing the Right Keywords in AdWords

Why is choosing the right keywords so important? The ultimate symbol of unleashing possibilities is the key. Keys are the nearly magical devices used by heroes in stories to unlock doors, chests full of gold and all sorts of other objects to achieve their goals. Likewise, search queries in Google are the “key” to your success as an digital advertiser. Google uses fittingly named “keywords” to determine if your ad is eligible to show or not.

When you first create your search campaign, Google will ask which keywords you would like to use. AdWords offers some suggestions, but how is an advertisers supposed to know which keywords to use? Furthermore, how do they manage and optimize their already existing list? Let’s have a look.

There are five steps to become a master of keywords. They are, as follows:

  1. Align keywords with business goals
  2. Manage match types for growth and control
  3. Find new targeting opportunities in AdWords
  4. Expand the reach of existing keywords
  5. Refine your traffic with negative keywords

Align Keywords With Business Goals

Like any given key must be matched to its corresponding lock, an advertiser must know which keywords will work best to “unlocking” their success. After deciding on a business goal for your campaign, you must then bear a few concepts in mind.

For starters, try to think holistically about how your customers reach you on search. Your customers can discover your business in a myriad of ways. Strive to consider all of the different search queries a user might make when looking for something you offer. Your list of keywords should reflect this mindset as well.

Next, remember that different keywords have different purposes. All keywords you add to your list should actively work to achieve the campaign’s goal. Hold your keywords accountable and your campaign will benefit.

Finally, take the time to analyze your list of keywords and delete those with low search volume. If keywords are not actively driving any traffic for you, why bother keeping them around?

Manage Match Types For Growth and Control

The next step involves sizing up the keys for our metaphorical lock. Google AdWords utilizes several different match types for its keywords. As you might imagine, each match type has its own purpose. It is important to know from the get-go that match type plays a big role in determining what causes your ad to show. Here are some of Google’s suggestions for using these match types to your advantage:

Google recommends using broad match to capture long tail search queries, while saving exact match for your main drivers of search volume and sales. This best practice gives you, the advertiser, the best of both worlds. By sticking to this rule of thumb, you maximize coverage on queries relevant to your business while also keeping your campaign management manageable.

It is also advised that you do not create minute variations of exact or phrase match keywords. Google takes close variance into account when looking at exact or phrase matches. Making variations and adding them as additional keywords only serves to clutter up your keyword list. This in turn increases your amount of time spent on account management.

Related post: What are keyword match types and how do I use them

Find New Targeting Opportunities in AdWords

This tip is short and sweet. Google suggests that advertisers try to take advantage of dynamic search ads. Dynamic search ads are ads which show when a user makes a search query that is closely related to terms displayed on your website.

For example, if you owned a luxury hotel chain and someone searches “Luxury hotel New York”, there’s a chance your ad could show with a headline like “Luxury Hotel – NYC”. These ads are so strongly recommended by Google because, once again, they make management easier.

By utilizing dynamic ads, you can avoid the need to update your keyword list every time you make changes to your website.

Related post: How to Optimize Dynamic Search Ads in AdWords

Expand the Reach of Existing Keywords

A popular idiom goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” Sometimes an advertiser can have a perfectly good list of keywords, but still be falling short of their goals. What can be done about this? Try improving the ad rank given to ads showing for certain keywords.

Ad rank is a concept used in the ad auction and means the placement of your ad on a page of search results. It is determined by two key factors: the bids you are placing in the auction, and the quality of the ads you are trying to show. You can drive additional volume on an existing list of keywords simply by ensuring your ads are high quality, and increasing bids as necessary to compete in the auction.

Another way to increase search volume without additional keywords is to target Google Search Partners. Not all users make their queries on Use this knowledge to reach out to those other users and increase your reach without the need for additional keywords to be added to your list.

Related post: How to Write Effective Text Ads That Convert

Refine Your Traffic With Negative Keywords

We’ve spent most of this article discussing what your keyword list should have. But we would be remiss if we didn’t take a look at what it shouldn’t have. Negative keywords are a powerful tool that should be used to regulate keywords you absolutely do not want your ads to show for.

“Why use negative keywords?” you may ask. Simple. They save you money by avoiding clicks from users who are not at all interested in your business. An example can easily demonstrate this concept in action.

Let’s say you are a travel agent who wants to drive sales of your new cruise bundle. You make a dynamite ad and are really proud of your keyword list, though you skipped negative ones. The same weekend you launch your campaign, the new Mummy film starring Tom Cruise premieres in theaters. Uh oh.

To prevent intrepid moviegoers from seeing your ad, make “Tom Cruise” a negative keyword on your list!

Though negative keywords are very useful in this regard, Google also urges prudence and restraint. It’s best if you focus negative keywords on where they will do the most good for your campaign. Your account benefits from making impactful changes, not exhaustive ones. It’s probably better for your business in the long run if you don’t spend too much time excessively managing your keyword list.


Having a solid understanding of how to build your keyword list is essential for success with AdWords. By following the five steps we outlined above, you can optimize your keywords to achieve what you need them to, and save yourself time and effort on the management end of your account. Success awaits many an advertiser with AdWords, all you need are the right keys to unlock it.

Happy Marketing!

Want help choosing the right keywords?



    Ricky Noel is a Google AdWords Certified AdWords Professional, a proud employee of eBiz, ROI. as well as a full-time student at SUNY Geneseo, where he studies English, Education, and Theater. Ricky got into the internet marketing industry when his father, Rick, introduced him to Google AdWords and showed him the possibilities online advertising represented for business owners and web-users alike. Ricky began working with eBiz in the summer of 2016, between senior year of highschool and shipping off to college. Since then, he has worked remotely from school thanks to the wonders of Google Hangouts and high speed internet connectivity. His passions include reading, writing creatively and analytically, and performing in plays and musicals. He is also an experienced Dungeons and Dragons aficionado, holds Abraham Lincoln and George R.R. Martin among his personal heroes, and is really excited to help businesses grow and spread their message online.

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