As paid search programs mature, it becomes more and more difficult to achieve incremental increases in traffic and revenue. Consequently, search marketers lean heavily on keyword expansion to drive more traffic in hopes of acquiring more revenue. Last week, we reviewed the Google Search Term Report and Google Keyword Tool. Today we will walk through three additional keyword expansion tools and provide best practices for maximizing your keyword expansion efforts.
Organic Search Traffic Report
Keyword expansion opportunities aren’t limited to paid search traffic or existing keyword sets. Organic search traffic provides insight into clicks and conversions occurring outside the scope of your paid search program. Adding converting organic search terms into your account can garner additional clicks and provide incremental increases in conversions and revenue.
The notion that paid search ads cannibalize organic clicks is somewhat unfounded and outdated. Including paid search ads with organic search results can lead to a 50% increase in clicks, even when that ad is accompanied by a position #1 organic search result (Google study).
Conversion tracking solutions, such as Marin Tracker, have the functionality to generate organic search traffic (or search query) reports. Google Analytics is free and provides online marketers with access to such reports.
On-Site Search Term Report
The queries that visitors enter into your site’s search bar provide insight into the products and services that interest them. Mining on-site search term reports for new keywords is a quick and simple keyword expansion strategy.
Keep in mind that your customers don’t use the same words as you when searching for your products and services. Unless the appropriate broad match keywords have been added to your account, these types of words might not be captured by your paid search term report. As you make these reports a regular resource for keyword expansion, you might find that many of your onsite search terms fall outside the reach of your paid search keywords.
Your analytics package should have the functionality to generate on-site search term reports. Google Analytics is free and provides online marketers with access to such reports. For more information on how to set up Site Search for Google Analytics, click here.
Google Insights for Search
Similar to the Google Keyword Tool, Google Insights for Search should be used in tandem with performance oriented keyword expansion tools. Google Insights for Search allows marketers to trend up to five sets of search terms to compare search volume patterns across geographic regions, product and service categories, seasonal time periods and Google properties. Simply copy and paste your new keywords into Google Insights for Search.
Gauging interest using Google Insights for Search allows you to build keyword variations around popular terms and reallocate budget based on interest and demand. For example, search volume for the keyword “mountain climbing” peaks during the summer months. In addition, searches on this keyword are higher in western regions where there is more mountainous terrain. To stay ahead of competitors, you might consider increasing bids on this keyword during the summer and further increasing it across campaigns that target western states.
For more information regarding Google Insights for Search, click here.
As paid search programs mature, it becomes more and more difficult to achieve incremental increases in traffic and revenue. Consequently, search marketers lean heavily on keyword expansion to drive more traffic in hopes of acquiring more revenue. Subscription-based keyword expansion tools can provide a quick way of generating new keywords, but still require manual effort and often lack granularity. These shortcomings make free keyword expansion tools very attractive. This two part blog series will walk through five free Google tools and provide best practices for maximizing your keyword expansion efforts.
Google Search Term Report
The Google search term (or search query) report is one of the most dependable keyword expansion tools available. Benefits of this report are twofold: marketers can add new keywords based on search terms that are relevant to and perform well in a marketer’s paid search program. Conversely, they can add negative keywords based on search terms that are irrelevant and result in unwanted clicks.
Keep in mind that your current keyword set already captures queries appearing in the search term report. As a result, a new bidding strategy, creative or both, should accompany newly added keywords.
For example, the query “mountain rock climbing” appears in your report as a top search term. It’s currently being captured by the broad match keyword “mountain climbing”, which exists in your account. Simply adding [mountain rock climbing] into your account won’t likely shift performance in one direction or the other. To properly expand into the keyword [mountain rock climbing] and analyze its performance separate from “mountain climbing” you must:
For newly added keywords, strategies like the one above can help increase Quality Score and click-through-rate (CTR) while decreasing CPC. As a best practice, use conversion tracking, in addition to cost metrics, to prioritize your keyword expansion opportunities. Just because a search term receives clicks, it doesn’t mean that it results in revenue. Enterprise-class solutions, like Marin Software, seamlessly integrate conversion tracking data with publisher click data to help marketers scale, prioritize and automate their expansion opportunities.
AdWords Help provides a quick walkthrough of how to run a search term report.
Google Keyword Tool
The Google Keyword Tool is a great way of determining potential traffic and competition for new keyword ideas. However, keep in mind that it’s in Google’s best interest for you to add any and all suggested keywords, since this tool favors quantity of keywords over quality of keywords. As a best practice, the Google Keyword Tool should only be used in conjunction with more robust and performance-oriented keyword-expansion tactics such as leveraging organic and paid search query reports.
Before adding a new set of keywords with Google Keyword Tool, utilize some of the tool’s more advanced features:
Consider the Competition, Monthly Search volumes and Approximate CPC when adding new keywords and see if they align with your expansion objectives. For example, did you expect a particular keyword to receive more monthly search volume or cost less than $2 per click? Low-volume, low-competition keywords will likely come with lower CPCs, but may not result in many clicks or conversions. High-volume, high-competition keywords will likely achieve the opposite. Use the Approximate CPC as a benchmark when setting your new keywords’ max CPCs. Enterprise-class tools, such as Marin’s keyword expansion tool, automatically combine Google’s keyword estimations with converting organic and paid search query data, providing marketers with smarter, revenue-driving expansion opportunities.
AdWords Help provides a quick walkthrough of how to use the Google Keyword Tool.
Read Part 2 of our series for three additional Google keyword expansion tools.