Google Adwords – Refining Your Keyword List With The Most Efficient & Productive Keywords.

One of the most important and frequent tasks a PPC (Pay-Per Click) manager has is to be able to grow and refine keywords for any given PPC account.  In this weeks article I am going to describe an underused but extremely effective strategy that can be used to build a really efficient & productive keyword list.  This strategy is known in the PPC world as keyword farming.


The Basics:

In order to use this strategy you will need to set up a brand new campaign with a low budget and run the campaign over a few days. You will utilize the search query report over this period of time to gather valuable information on specific phrases people are actually using to search for products and services.

The exact amount of time you should run this campaign depends on the amount of useful search query data you collect over the course of the campaign. Some campaigns might take a few days to  generate the basic amount of impressions needed, others might only take a few hours. The objective with using this strategy is to generate keyword impression data to identify relevant search terms that can be used as keywords in a PPC campaign.

The beauty of employing this strategy is that you don’t have to run the campaign for a long time nor do you have to incur too much of a cost if you use the correct procedures to manage this strategy.

The goal here is to run a very low cost campaign using generic keywords and phrases with the aim of collecting search query information. After you have compiled enough data you can then use the search queries to expand your keyword list. Similarly the search queries will also help you to filter out search terms you would not want to include in any real campaign. You can simply ad theses as negative keywords to any campaign you want to run for real.


Step 1:

Set up a new Google Adwords campaign and place all your generic root keyword terms and phrases in here. You can start off by setting all of the keywords to “phrase match”. You can later introduce “broad match” keywords if you want to broaden the scope of search queries you want to find.  You’ll need to keep the bids as low as possible, but high enough to be able to maintain the bottom position on the first page for each of your keywords. You’re focus here is to capture impressions whilst incurring the least amount of clicks as you can.

Treat this campaign like you would any other in terms of PPC management best practices i.e. campaign setup, ad copy, landing pages etc. Also keep the daily budget to a minimum in order to save as much money as you can.  The keyword impression data and the corresponding search queries which generated the impressions is the information your after. This can be achieved on a shoe string budget if managed right.

Step 2:

After you set up the campaign activate it and let it run until you generate at least 1,000 impressions. During this time take note of any search queries that you definitely want to filter out. Ad these as negative keywords to any relevant campaigns you are managing for real. The earlier you can identify any candidate that qualifies as “negative keywords” the better as this will generate less wasted impressions, clicks and euro’s on non relevant terms.


Step 3:

After generating a minimum of 1000 impressions you will see that the search query report will indicate a number of highly accurate popular search phrases for your product of service. You can then export the most relevant search phrases and ad them as keywords in either your new or existing campaigns. By using this strategy some of the keywords you uncover here may even be suitable to use as part of an SEO campaign.



Keyword Farming can give you more insight into the best keywords to use for PPC campaigns. It can be even more useful to use then Google analytics in the fact that it shows which search terms that are driving clicks to your web site where as Google Analytics does not indicate phrases that are not generating clicks. Also from an organic search point of view it is highly likely that your website is not even ranking for dozens of theses search phrases.

The user search query report gives more insight into users actual searches as opposed to just search queries that are used to find your website.  In some instances the user search query report may even give insights into popular products or aspects of a service you don’t even provide but users are searching for. This can be useful in identifying new business opportunities.

Using the keyword farming strategy can also be more reliable than using the Google Keyword tool. When we use the search query report it garners greater search specific data that is highly specific to your audience.  Using the Keyword farming strategy does involve a little more work than other keyword research techniques – however it can pay dividends when it comes to improving the performance of PPC campaigns

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