Starting Another Graph: How to Expand Your Keyword List

May 2, 2018

In the last installment of our keyword discovery and keyword expansion how to, we talked about the value of “discovering new graphs” and explained that, in many cases, it’s better to expand your keyword portfolio to new keyword verticals:

Expanding your keyword portfolio means finding another graph.

The premise here is that ideally, instead of moving “up the ladder” and paying more money for every new conversion (forcing us to choose between volume and controlled costs), we would simply start another graph and find a means of generating more conversions for the same average cost.

To do this we need to unearth new, relevant keyword verticals. There are a few means of doing that:

  • Leverage organic search data 
  • Create a keyword discovery infrastructure within your AdWords account
  • Discover tangential keyword verticals

Let’s take a look at how each of these might work.

Leverage Organic Keyword Data to Expand Your Keyword List

A great way to find new paid search keyword candidates is to take a look at your website’s log files. What keywords are driving visitors to your site organically? If you’re using any kind of analytics package, you can easily view this information:

Log file keyword discovery can also be accomplished with analytics.

You’ll then be shown the organic traffic that’s reached your site, along with associated keyword visits. WordStream’s tool also records this information, and the keyword data is presented along with associated metrics:

Keyword expansion happens via analytics, as pictured here with WordStream.

You can see here not only the keywords that have driven traffic to your site, but also what people did once they got there (you get to take a look at conversion metrics, in this case how many people signed up for our premium investing information product).

We could now build out and focus our attentions to any of these new keyword verticals. We begin this process armed with a relatively precise knowledge of how much volume they’re likely to drive, and of whether or not they’ll convert for our site.

Create a Keyword Discovery Infrastructure within your PPC Campaigns

You can also develop methods of discovering keywords cheaply within your paid search campaigns. There are a number of ways to build this capability in to your PPC efforts, but the principle is the same: namely, you should be mining your account history and your site’s analytics and/or log files to discover new potential keyword opportunities.

Once you’ve implemented a few discovery mechanisms within your paid search account, you can track paid traffic by running a report from within AdWords called a search query report:

Keyword search queries in Google often obfuscate a number of queries.

You can see the issue here as it regards discovery right away: a lot of our more specific queries are getting rolled up as “other unique queries” denying us visibility into the keywords people are using to reach our site (the very thing we’re after here). 

As a result it’s better to rely on analytic tools which provide more visibility into the queries people are using to reach your site.

Discover Tangential Keyword Verticals

There are a number of slick ways to find keywords you might not be able to identify through your log files. Here are a handful of useful tools:

Free Keyword Research Tools

Paid Keyword Research Tools

Every Keyword Vertical has Low Hanging Fruit

The best thing you can do for your paid search campaigns and for your bottom line is to continually discover new keyword verticals. In addition to creating a system and processes to continually manage bids, you want to be sure to constantly mine your website’s data and to seek out new means of discovering keywords.

If you are investing time and resources in moving to the top of the graph, why wouldn’t you also be making a perpetual investment in keyword discovery?

The bottom line is: keyword discovery should be as dynamic and ongoing a process as bid manipulation, and in many cases, can provide you with even better returns.

Tom Demers

Tom Demers

Tom Demers is Co-Founder & Managing Partner at Measured SEM and Cornerstone Content.

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