By now you’ve likely figured out that once you start trying to predict the keywords your customers are using, you’re going end up with a very, very long list. Not to worry. The longer your list of keywords, the wider the array of customers you’ll reach.
That said, don’t spend months trying to create an exhaustive list. We start by narrowing things down a little bit. You can find the audience that’s most interested in your product or service by understanding the three major groups of online searchers:
1. Browsers are people searching for general information. It’s usually hard to tell what exactly each person is looking for. One person might be doing research for a term paper. Another person might be killing time waiting for a bus. The vast majority of this group are not ready to buy and probably never will be.
2. Shoppers are definitely interested in your product but they’re still at the research stage, checking out reviews and comparing prices. Some folks from this group will be ready to buy in a matter of days or even hours, but for others it may be weeks, months, or possibly never.
3. Buyers are typing with one hand and their credit card in the other. They know exactly what they want and the only barrier to making a purchase is finding the right place and the right deal. So how do you tell which of these three groups a person is in? By studying the keywords that they enter into the search bar. As a general rule of thumb the more specific the search, the closer they are to the “Buyer” group.
Take, for instance, the three different types of people searching for televisions: A browser will search for keywords containing just one or two words with no modifiers: TV
-Televisions LCD TVs 3D TVs A shopper is a bit more specific, using modifiers that will help find sites containing greater depth of information:
-Samsung TV reviews Best Samsung TVs Samsung TV 42”
-Samsung LCD TVs compare Finally, the buyer is very specific, often using the results of his previous research in the keywords.
-Order Samsung TV 42”
-Buy online Samsung 42”
-Samsung TV UE32F5500 buy Samsung TV UE32F5500 best price If you’re just getting started with your AdWords campaigns and budget is your biggest concern, it makes sense to target only the buyer group.
These folks are the easiest to convert to customers. As your experience grows you can extend your reach to the shoppers and, to some degree, even the browsers as well.
So let’s start with a group of buyers, and put together a first draft of our keyword list.
Scour Your Website
Browse through your site and your entire product range and make a list of everything you sell. You probably know your product line pretty well. Step into your customer’s shoes and assume he or she doesn’t know your products by heart. Think of synonyms he or she might use. Then combine these with some of the common buyer keywords. Sticking with our TV example, if one of your products is a Samsung LED TV, then you might come up with these keyword combinations: Samsung LED TV
-Buy Samsung LED TV
-Best Samsung LED TV
-Compare Samsung LED TV
Sniff Out Your Competition
Take a look at your top competitors’ websites. You’ll almost certainly find a few phrases and expressions that you hadn’t thought of. Add these to your list as well.
Ask Your Customers
Do a survey. Have a casual phone chat with a few of your most recent buyers. Ask them specifically how they found your site and, if they can remember, the keywords they searched on in the process. Also quiz them about the kind of keywords they use in their searches in general. At this stage you won’t hear a huge amount that surprises you but you’ll definitely pick up a handful of new keywords or modifiers to add to your list.
Ask Your Staff, Family, and Friends
This is an extension of Step 3. At this stage you may feel like you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel. But that’s the point—it’s all about compiling as exhaustive a list as you can.
Dive Into the Keyword Tools
For the most part, Google’s keyword resource is good enough. (More on that in a bit.) As you gain experience, however, third-party tools will allow you to dig even deeper. This is especially true if you’re managing PPC campaigns for clients.
There are plenty of software applications to choose from. SpyFu, AdGooroo, WordStream and Wordtracker are each helpful in their own way. Most keyword tools of this type work by figuring out what your competitors are bidding on and feeding the data back to you. There are limits to how accurate this supply of information can be. But they will give you keyword ideas you would otherwise have missed.