How To Build Your Basic Keywords List

Get the Flash Player to see this Google Ads tutorial about building your keyword list.

Finding the right keywords is vital. Keywords will make or break your Google Ads campaign. In this article we offer you the basics in how to build a successful keywords list.

If you have already setup your Google Ads account you will remember how Google Ads requested that you create your ad first and your keywords list after.

Here we suggest that you start every new campaign with your keywords list first.

What Is a Keyword and Why Is It Important?

  • A keyword is a word or phrase that a Google user types into the search box – this is what triggers your ad to be shown.
  • A keywords list is a list of user search queries – these are the keywords you have chosen to trigger your ad.

Why would someone search for the letter “a”? Or the letter “m”? Yet these letters are amongst the most frequently searched terms on the web. Attempting to analyse why people type what they do into search boxes can be very difficult.

The truth is though, there’s always a reason. Usually the search term represents a wish, a need, a desire, a curiosity, expressed in one to several-word phrases.

Why Is It Important to Know How People Search?

The bottom line for any online business is giving people exactly what they search for, as an extension to giving them what they want in the real world.

Through keywords you can find out what people want.

Keyword research is important because it tells you:

  1. How people express their desires and interests on the web.
  2. How many people search for the same thing.

Armed with this information you can approximate your target market.

Brainstorming for Keywords

The easiest way to start is to write down all the phrases you can think of, that relate to your products or services. Don’t exclude anything, for any reason, but do avoid keywords that are general, vague, or have dual meanings.

Don’t stop at this point, because the trap is to find phrases that your prospects would never search because they don’t know your business from inside, like you do. On the other hand, you could be missing exactly the keywords that most people would search — the common ones.

When creating your gross list of keywords, use the following methods:

  • word stemming (espresso, nespresso, etc.)
  • write both plurals and singulars (espresso machine, espresso machines);
  • discover synonyms (espresso maker, espresso brewer);
  • figure out the most common misspellings (expresso, expreso, etc.)
  • figure out different punctuations (espresso machine, espresso-machine, etc.)
  • do not limit your search to one word phrases; find two word phrases, three word phrases, etc;
  • think about specific problems that can appear related to your business; use them as keywords (espresso machine repair).

How many keywords do you need? At this stage, you need all the keywords you can find. Follow the basic rules of a brainstorming session and give all the keywords their own chance. Usually, a list of several hundred keywords is considered a good start. Remember that in the end you’ll only choose a fraction of them. Also, you’ll probably figure out brand-new keywords on the way.

Keyword Research Tools

Figuring out the keywords list by yourself is ok, as long as you have enough time for a long trial and error process. An easier way is to use keyword-research tools right from the start. The advantage is that you have access to real-time statistics like:

  • Related terms that people search.
  • Keyword popularity — how many people search the same phrase.
  • Competition search — how many sites compete for the same keyword.

These free tools will help you develop your initial keyword list:

Google Ads Keyword Tool – Use the Keyword Tool to get new keyword ideas.

Google Ads ‘Search Based’ – Key word ideas that are based on actual Google search queries.

Google Insights for Search – Compare search volume patterns across specific regions, categories, time frames and properties.

Google WonderWheel – Displays relevant search results to your query.

Wordstream – A free keyword suggestion tool.

Wordtracker – A free keyword suggestion tool.

Use Google Analytics – Mine your own data and site search data.

The Basic Keywords List Is Ready. Now What?

Join all the keywords you’ve found in one place. We suggest using a spreadsheet, because it’s easier to manage and you can use additional fields.

The next thing is to figure out which keywords you want rule out and group the remaining ones into clusters, putting all the related keywords together.

Grouping the keywords is the first step towards organising your Google Ads campaigns.

Watch this and our other Google Ads tutorials on Youtube.

Further Reading: We recommend reading How To Plan Your Google Ads Campaign (The Smart Way) next, or you could try out one of the other tutorials from the list below.


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