What's a good keyword?

Melissa Ros | 04 Nov 2016

We answer this age-old question by looking at a walkthrough of an average searchers thought process from vague idea to purchase, and where in that process your ads should start to show depending on your website and budget.

Be specific

AdWords works because you're advertising to people that are already searching for what you sell.

Unlike traditional advertising where you push your products or services under people's noses with an ad in the newspaper or a flyer in the street, with AdWords you're waiting for people to come to you, by only showing your ad when they express an interest in seeing it.

There should be little-to-no convincing involved in AdWords, so stop paying over the odds to convince people they should buy your products if they're not already sure. Let people do their own research. You should only capture people in your "net" when they're ready or almost ready to buy.

Your Potential Client’s Buying Process

Like most people that end up buying online, she has a need and wants a solution.

In this case, she wants to protect her iPhone from falls, so she searches for "protect iphone". Then, from the results available under that search, she decides she want an iPhone case (and not a screen cover or insurance) so she goes back to Google and searches for "iphone cases". She researches a little more and likes the reviews and designs for the Spigen brand.

If she then searches for "spigen iphone case", you know she's serious and closer to making a purchase, so this would be a good keyword. Or instead of liking Spigen cases, maybe she simply decided on a transparent iPhone case regardless of the brand. That's fine too, because if she plugs "transparent iPhone case" back into Google, she's also much closer to making a purchase than when she just typed "protect iphone".

So what's a good keyword for capturing people like Meg in the moment that they're ready to buy (and not still just researching)?

Wide Reaching Keywords

In Meg's thought-to-purchase process, she typed in "iphone cases" towards the beginning.

If you stock 80-100% of the best selling iphone cases you could try this keyword, but your website should let her complete her research on-site and guide her along the buying process (imagine Amazon where there are lots of products to choose from, lots of reviews, comparisons, etc). But, this keyword is generally not a good option for most advertisers because Meg is still in the research phase and isn't ready to buy so she'll likely go back to Google with a more specific search before making a purchase (if she decides to buy at all).

Just like for Meg, this broad keyword will play a part in the beginning of many other people's thought-to-purchase process so this keyword will get a high volume of clicks and would eat up a lot of your budget if you let it.

Medium-Specific Keywords

If you stock 80-100% of all spigen iphone cases (and have competitive prices + a nice website) then you could definitely find success by using "spigen iphone cases". Or if you have 80-100% of best selling transparent iphone cases in stock (from a variety of brands) then "transparent iphone cases" could also work very well. These keywords will have a medium number of searches but a higher chance of producing a sale.

Specific Keywords

Other keywords you could and should use are longer tail keywords (meaning keywords made of 3+ words). Keywords like "iphone 7 plus cases", "iphone 7 case spigen airskin", etc will individually have a low volume of searches, but add many and you'll have a decent volume of clicks from people that are very likely to buy.

Just always make sure your products cover at least 80% of what the person could potentially want with their search.

If you sell services…

Similarly, make sure your keyword is relevant to 80-100% of what you offer. For example, we offer Pay Per Click management but we don't touch SEO services. A person using the keyword "online advertising services" might want SEO in 40% of cases, PPC in 30% of cases and other related services in 30% of cases, so we would stay away from that keyword. Some clicks might convert but they are expensive and we'd likely make a loss with that keyword.

So be sure to think about whether your keyword could mean something else and stick to the 80% minimum rule - it's important to make sure that you cover what people could want, at least 80% of the time.


We hope you found these tips helpful. Get in touch if you have any questions or take a look at our other articles.