5 Keyword Research Tips from A PPC Expert

5 Keyword Research Tips from A PPC Expert

A carefully curated keyword list is the foundation of a strong Google Ads account. Any seasoned PPC consultant will tell you that choosing keywords and their match types can be a confusing process, but with the help of some tools and extensive research, you can create an effective keyword list.  

In this article, you will find outlined expert-trusted tips for successfully researching keywords.  

Utilize Google’skeyword Tools

Take advantage of Google’s free tools when you first begin to create your keyword list. Google Keyword Planner, Google Trends, and Google Search Console can all help you determine the competitiveness and popularity of keywords. 

1. Google Keyword Planner

Google AdWords: Keyword Planner

Allows you to research keywords’ average number of searches per month. It also suggests bid estimates and new, relevant keywords.  

The volume of searches can help you approximate how competitive keywords are. This makes it easier to choose a bid price without any data. You can bid low on keywords that are less competitive, and still generate clicks and conversions if the average number of searches is high.  

Once your campaign is up and running, track Click-Through Rates (CTR) and conversion rates to determine whether to raise or lower bids.  

2. Google Trends

Analyzes search terms’ popularity. The tool calculates the interest in a search term by region and over time. There are also features that compare search terms and suggest related queries.  

Google Trends is useful for discovering a search term’s popularity, where your target location is, and determining when to add new keywords. 

3. Google Search Console

Helps you track organic search traffic and find issues to fix with your website’s visibility in Google Search results.  

Google Search Console can also be a great tool to help with Search Engine Optimization (SEO), as it shows you which web pages receive backlinks and those that have been performing poorly.  

These free tools can help you create a keyword list and choose appropriate bids and match types.  

Consider The Demographics Of Your Audience

Every business caters to a specific consumer base and audience. Your keywords should target this desired audience to ensure your ads are shown to the right people. 

The demographics of your audience you should consider are location, gender, and age.  

To understand how demographics can be used to your advantage when researching keywords, imagine you owned a vegan makeup brand based in California.  

As I mentioned in the previous tip, Google Trends shows interest in a search term by region. Los Angeles was the Californian city that showed the highest interest in the search term “vegan makeup.”  

To rank high in the search results – a region with high interest in the product your business offers – some keywords can specifically target Los Angeles. For example, possible keywords could be “Los Angeles cosmetics” or “Los Angeles vegan.” 

Say your makeup products tend to cater to older consumers with formulas suitable for aged skin. Keywords such as, “senior makeup” and “old age makeup” can target an older demographic. 

No matter what your business is, targeting a specific audience with your Google Ads improves conversion rates, which then increases your quality score. Ads will rank higher in Google Search results when these metrics are high. 

1. Research your competitors’ keywords

It’s incredibly useful to see what keywords your competitors are bidding on in Google Ads and what organic keywords they rank for. Even if you are only planning on running a PPC campaign and not focusing on SEO, organic traffic and keywords can be a great starting point.  

There are 3rd Party Tools that are not provided by Google and must be paid for. Spyfu and Ahrefs are options that PPC Consultants trust and use. They provide tools that allow you to research which keywords your competitors are using and who is outranking you.  

Ahrefs’ Content Gap report and Keywords Explorer are two highly useful research tools.  

Content Gap Analysis discovers which keywords your competitors use that you don’t. Ahrefs’ Site Explorer has a Content Gap tool to easily do this analysis. All you need to do is enter your competitors’ domains and the tool calculates a list of keywords you should be targeting.  

Content Gap can display keywords any, all, or at least a certain number of your competitors rank for.  

After discovering which keywords your competitors are bidding for, you should raise your bids to rank above their ads in Google Search results. 

If your competitors are not using a keyword that’s relevant to your business, bid low on these keywords because the competition level is low. If you’re one of the only bids on a keyword, you can rank at the top of the search results without a high Cost Per Click (CPC). 


Google Keyword Planner and Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer are similar, but the latter has more advanced features. The tool generates keyword ideas and a Keyword Difficulty store which suggests how easily you’d rank in the first 10 search results with a keyword. It monitors advanced metrics such as Clicks Per Search and percent of paid vs organic clicks.

Keywords Explorer’s best feature is it can tell you who is outranking you. If you know which similar businesses are generating more clicks and conversions, you can use keywords to target their customers. This will increase your conversion rate and help you rank above competitors.  

2. Use Your All-Time Search History

If you’ve run a Google Ads campaign in the past, you’ve accumulated tons of data. This doesn’t only include clicks and CPCs, but also the searches your ads matched to. By navigating to the search terms report in the Google Ads dashboard, you will see exactly what the user typed when clicking on your ad.  

When doing keyword research for your own campaigns, your own data is incredibly valuable. You can view your all-time search terms results to see all the searches your ad matched to in your account’s history. Dig through this carefully, and view what worked and what didn’t work as well. Look for new campaign and ad group themes that you might want to use for your new campaigns. 

3. Understand User and Search Intent

The best aspect of Google Search is its users have specific intentions. Someone who searches “coffee shops near me,” is actively looking for somewhere to get coffee. If a pop-up ad for a café is shown on someone’s screen, they may not want coffee at that moment.  

This means advertisements in search results are more likely to result in conversions than other digital marketing platforms. You can use the intentions behind search terms to improve your keyword list. 

For example, a hiking gear company wants to sell that product. “Hiking boots” and “backpacks for hiking” are possible keywords.  

Meanwhile, an outdoor lifestyle blog might have articles about hiking gear brands, essential gear, and trails. They would have keywords such as, “best-hiking boots,” “beginner hiking gear,” and “best bang for your buck hiking gear.”  

These keywords are similar, but slightly different because they cater to the searcher’s intentions. Google will know the hiking gear company is selling a product while the blog is written content. When keywords and content match Search intent, the ads will rank higher. 

Final Thoughts

Before launching a search campaign with Google Ads, you must extensively research keywords and search terms. Google ranks ads based on keywords, bids, and match types.  

A successful search campaign’s keyword list is backed behind research and is continuously monitored and altered. Knowing what to bid and which match type is best for each keyword will lead to a higher CTR, a better conversion rate, and a higher Return of Investment (ROI).  

If you utilize the tools and tips explained in this article, you will be able to create and refine a great keyword list.

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