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What Is PPC (Pay-Per-Click advertising)?

Pay-per-Click (PPC) is a digital advertising model where a business pays an ad publisher for every user click on their advertisements.

While "PPC" is often used exclusively to describe search engine advertising platforms such as Google AdWords, the business model is used by a variety of advertisers.

An important metric to monitor in conjunction with PPC campaigns is Cost-Per-Click (CPC).

How PPC works

A PPC campaign is created so as to rank on search engines result pages.

Ads are shown in SERPs based on a bidding auction for keywords and other ranking factors  like CTR, quality score, landing page experience, etc.  that make up their proprietary algorithms.

The search giant’s objective is to show it’s consumers the most relevant results that provide the best possible user experience.

By conducting keyword research, online businesses  can identify relevant queries and craft campaigns and landing pages to provide a relevant result.

To conduct a keyword research successfully, we first need to understand the types of keywords, personas, followed by the various tools we can use to make the process easier.  

PPC Keyword Research

Keywords are terms an advertiser bids on. An advertiser or marketer needs to know what keyword someone is likely to type into a search engine.

Why is keyword research important?

  1. An in-depth keyword research will help you target the right intent-driven audience to your website and in-turn help you increase your conversion rates.  .

  2. It will help you in identifying keywords that aren’t contributing to your brand’s overall business goal.

  3. It helps you determine the competitiveness and the priority of the keywords you brand should rank for. Effectively saving your time and directing your focus towards keywords that need your attention.

Yes, Keyword research for PPC can be a daunting task, but it’s important, as it directly contributes to the success of your PPC campaigns.

Keyword research can fall into the following categories:

Brand terms

A brand keyword comprises of your brand name and neologies.

For e.g. If your brand name is My Jeans Store, some of the brand terms for your business would be:my jeans store,, my jeans store products, my jeans store categories etc.

Why you should bid on branded keywords?

  • We often find ourselves looking for a keyword that is cheaper, has high-intent and search volume. The answer? Branded keywords.

  • Bidding on branded keywords will help you dominate your search result page. As you will appear in the paid as well as organic listings, when a user searches for your brand or a product that is unique to your brand. Always remember, extra visibility never hurts.

  • If you are not bidding on your brand keywords, your competitors might. This way your competitors might steal the traffic that was initially headed to your website.

Competitor terms

As the name suggests Competitor terms are exact names of your competitors who provide a similar service/product as your brand.

For example: Competitor terms for your online business My Jeans Store would be Levis jeans, Lee jeans, Diesel jeans.

Why you should bid on competitor keywords?

Bidding on competitor keywords can help growing businesses drive brand awareness. As it gives you an opportunity to appear within the same space as your competitor.

You can even use this space to persuade users by giving them discounts or highlighting a benefit that your competitor does not provide.

Bidding on competitor keywords can help you drive high quality intent-driven traffic to your website, as these users are already searching for a brand that sells the same products you do.

You are also providing the users with an alternative option, and anyone who shops online likes to compare different options before he makes the decision to purchase.

Generic terms

These are terms that broadly specify what your brand does.  

Generic terms for your brand My Jeans Store would be blue jeans, boyfriend jeans, faded jeans etc.

Why you should bid on Generic keywords?

  • Generic keywords can help you drive new users to your website, especially if you’re a young brand, have a new product to sell or are looking to target a new market.

  • By bidding on Generic keywords you can capture the attention of users in their research stage and make them familiar with your brand.

These terms comprise of keywords that are tangential to what you sell, they may be terms that a user may search when they are looking for your product.

Related terms for your brand My Jeans Store would be casual wear, Jegging, casual trousers, denim.

Why you should bid on Related keywords?

  • By bidding on related keywords you can capture the attention of the users who are using less popular terms to find the products you sell.

  • It will help you broaden your audience pool and drive high-intent traffic to your website.

Types of Keywords

Every keyword is determined by a particular match type which defines the queries for which ads will be seen.

Here are the different types of Keyword Matches:

Exact Match Keyword

This keyword match type allows you to show your ad when a user types in exactly what you are bidding on.

With this match type, where you lose out on the quantity of reach you gain in the quality of traffic.

The symbol used to denote an exact match keyword is [Keyword].

For e.g. Keyword [Blue Jeans] Search Term Query has to be: Blue Jeans for your ad to appear

Phrase Match Keyword

With Phrase Match your ad is triggered only when the exact keyword is typed as well as synonyms of that keyword or a variant of the phrase with additional keywords your ads will appear.

Your Ads will also appear because a part of or the whole search query matches the keywords that are added to the campaign.

If you rearrange the words in the phrase the ads will not appear. The symbol used to denote a phrase match keyword is “Keyword”

Phrase match trigger has good balance between reach and quality of searches and is hence quite popular with marketers.

For e.g. Keyword “Blue Jeans” Search Term Query - Blue jeans for men

Broad Match Keyword

By using broad keywords, even relevant variations of your keywords trigger ads, automatically. Regardless of them not being in your keyword list.

This may increase traffic but the traffic will may be irrelevant or have a lower Click-Through Rate.

The symbol used to denote a broad match keyword  is just keyword, without any symbols.

Broad Matches are a great way to increase the reach of your ads getting triggered. Although! Beware as this may bring in irrelevant traffic and exhaust your budget.

Negative Keywords

Negative keywords help weed out unwanted searches and help increase relevancy of your ad.

Say you sell only blue jeans and if someone searches for black jeans and your ad appears.

Since you don’t sell blue jeans the user will exit your store without making a purchase and increase your costs.

To avoid this add black jeans to the negative keyword list so that your ads don’t show for a user searching or wanting to buy black jeans.

Adding negative keywords is a very important practice as it help Increase your quality score.

Since you’re not displaying your ad to irrelevant audiences you land up saving money, increasing your CTR while decrease your overall conversion cost.

Pro tip: Negative keywords follow the same match type practices i.e. Broad, Phrase & Exact. Use these match types carefully while adding to your negative keyword list.

Further reading: 10 PPC Strategies that Boost Conversion, Not Just CTR

Be on the lookout for fraud

Unlike commission-based pricing models, PPC marketing can be abused with click fraud. This occurs when motivated individuals (such as competing businesses) or bots abusively click ads solely to drive up costs. Google and other search engines combat click fraud with algorithms that identify abusive behavior, but it can still affect ecommerce PPC campaigns.

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