If you are bidding on broad match keywords and ignoring your search queries, you are definitely wasting money, by not managing your negative keywords, missing out on profitable long-tail keyword opportunities, and possibly missing new emerging search trends in your market.
Keywords are not search queries
Keywords are not search queries, although search queries can be keywords. Keywords are assumptions about the words we think our customer will use when using a search engine, while search queries are the reality.
If you are only using exact match keywords in your PPC campaigns, then your keywords will match your customers' search queries exactly every time a search is matched to your ad.
However, if you are taking advantage of broad and phrase match, oftentimes one keyword can generate hundreds or even thousands of search queries. It is our responsibility to take control of these search queries.
Keep this in mind when thinking about keywords and search queries:
- Keywords are advertiser-centric assumptions—a targeting method to attract search queries.
- Search queries are customer-centric realities—your customers' voice and, most importantly, clues to your customers' intent
You can’t find new search queries without using broad match
Some may argue that using broad match is a technique to increase traffic to your PPC campaigns. Unfortunately, this is the misguided goal of many broad match campaigns. Using broad match with a focus on just increasing your exposure without paying attention to your search queries will definitely open your account up to waste and risk.
The real goal of using broad match keywords should be to find the profitable user search queriesyour customers are using that triggered an ad. The advertiser can take action on these search queries by including them as exact match keywords in their PPC campaigns.
This allows the advertiser to create an appropriate customer experience tied more directly to their intent. This, in turn, should create better and more profitable outcomes for the advertiser.
Using broad match keywords is the best keyword expansion method available to find out what words your potential customers are using when searching for products, services, or information. And the way you find these wonderful words is by mining your search query data.
The Goal of Search Query Mining
Through search query mining, you want to find:
- Keyword candidates: Good performers that you might have otherwise missed and that need to be promoted to keywords.
- Negative keyword candidates: Poor performers that need to be added as negative keywords, both as ad group negatives and campaign negative keywords.
Here is a visualization of search query mining, showing the ad group structure and the workflow.
As your query mining efforts mature you will find less and less irrelevant search queries and more new profitable long-tail keywords or even new high-volume search queries reflecting changes in your customers' search behavior.
Now that we agree on the power of search queries, we will jump right into the world of search query mining. In my future posts, I will detail:
- Part 2: Getting the Right Data
- Part 3: Preparing Your Data for Analysis
- Part 4: Mining Your Data for Insights
- Part 5: Acting on Your Insights
I look forward to sharing my search query mining techniques over the next few weeks. I will be getting very detailed, so don’t hesitate to ask questions in the comments if you need further explanations.
Advanced search query mining is about going beyond the tools provided to you by the search engines and taking control of your search queries, which are arguably the most valuable search assets you have.
Chad Summerhill is author of the blog PPC Prospector, provider of PPC AdWords advice, and in-house PPC specialist at Moving Solutions, Inc.