Pay-per-click and paid search advertising

Choose the right keywords for your PPC campaign


To create a successful pay-per-click (PPC) campaign, each ad group needs a unique set of keywords that aligns with the ad copy and landing page. These three elements need to relate closely to each other in order to deliver what the user is looking for. Getting it right will improve your conversion rate and help to lower your cost-per-click.

Choosing keywords

It is important to conduct keyword research for each PPC ad group. Start by looking at your landing page and deciding what the main keywords are.  Think about the search terms your customers might use. Try using tools such as Google Trends and Keyword Planner (registration required).

Use a mix of short and long-tail keywords (eg 'men's shoes' and 'Men's brown suede shoes'). Include synonyms and variations of words (eg shoe, shoes, footwear).

You should also consider setting keyword matching options:

  • Broad match: If your keyword is 'school bags' and you use broad match, a user who types in either 'school' or 'bags' in any order, with any other words may see your ad, eg 'discount bags for school'. It will include searches for misspellings, synonyms, related words and close variations, eg your ad could appear in a search for 'student rucksack'. This match type will deliver high impressions but it may be less targeted and result in a lower click-through-rate (CTR) and fewer sales. Broad match modifier allows you to specify that particular words within the keyword phrase must be included in the search term. 
  • Phrase match: If you use phrase match, your ad will only show if the search term contains the exact keyword - 'school bags'. It may be surrounded by other words, eg 'blue school bags for girls'.  This match type is more targeted and should result in a higher CTR and more sales.
  • Exact match: If you use exact match, your ad will only show if the user searches that exact term and no other words - 'school bags'. This match type is very targeted but could result in less people seeing your ad.

Using negative keywords can help improve relevancy by preventing your ad showing to people who aren't looking for what you offer. For example, if you are selling school bags, you don't want your ad to appear on search for 'school bag repair'. In this case, you would add 'repair' as a negative keyword.