4. Experiment With Keyword-Match Options
Long-tail, exact-match keywords are great for connecting with your known, likely customers. However, these keywords aren’t nearly as helpful when seeking new ways to reach online shoppers. For that, you’ll need to cast a wider net that allows you to analyze and optimize more data.
The best way to do this is by experimenting with broad- and phrase-match keywords. Broad-match keywords can result in your ad being returned on search queries you never might have considered, giving you all kinds of ideas of new keywords to try. The same is true for phrase-match keywords, but with phrase-match keywords you won’t be casting such a wide net. Both match types have their place in helping you brainstorm additions to your keyword list.
However, don’t even think about casting a wider net until you’ve read the next point …
5. Use Negative Keywords
Negative keywords protect you from spending money on irrelevant traffic. These keywords are filters that block your ads from being shown in related search queries. If you’re running ads for a beauty salon that sells shampoo, entering the negative keywords “dogs” and “cats” will save you the costs of clicks from folks who are shopping for their pets. It’s really that simple.
Like regular keywords, you can set broad-match, phrase-match and exact-match negative keywords. We recommend you build lists of all three to the best of your ability. Each of your ad groups should have its own negative keywords list.
6. Start With a Small List, Then Expand
Optimizing your keywords is an ongoing chore, and efficient optimizing directly results in more leads and sales. On the other hand, inefficient optimizing is more likely to result in underperforming campaigns that undermine your advertising efforts. Why make optimizing more difficult than it needs to be?
That’s why we recommend starting with a small list of highly relevant, buyer-intent keywords until you get comfortable. As you develop a list of relevant, winning keywords, you’ll want to expand your list so that you have more room for testing. But focus on strengthening the cores of your campaigns before worrying about broadening your reach.
As you gain more experience in online advertising, you’ll come to realize that optimizing keywords is a never-ending task. You must constantly sharpen your best keywords while keeping an eye out for new possibilities. You must also tweak your ads and landing pages as your keyword list evolves. Eventually, that could mean splitting your keyword list into entirely new ad groups.
There’s no one way to optimize your keywords — it’s always a moving target — but these tips can help you hit the mark.
Want more Google AdWords tips and advice? I put together an AdWords checklist to help you get your campaigns set up for success. Click here to get my Google AdWords checklist.