PPC Internet Marketing Campaigns - How to Determine Your Keywords

By Gregory Smyth

Many people see the selection of their keywords as laying the first piece in the PPC internet marketing puzzle - in reality, there is quite a lot of groundwork to do before you get to this point! You'll need to go back to the drawing board if you haven't identified your main and sub-customer groups, your main online competition, your unique selling point or your goals and metrics for the paid search engine marketing campaign. All of these factors will have an enormous influence on your choice of keywords, and thinking about them will need to be natural for you as you are assessing the suitability of each keyphrase in your list.

Assuming you've done all the preliminary, base marketing work, a great way to start selecting your keywords is by seeing what searches currently drive people to your site. Use a website analytics program like Webtrends or Google Analytics to track the searches that bring people to your site. You'll want to pay special attention to the search terms for any visitors that converted, of course. However, this only tells you what is currently driving people to your site - not the traffic that you are missing out on. Have your website designer incorporate a site search feature into all of your WebPages, or you can get a Google custom search box. The searches that people do on these will reveal plenty of other keyphrases that could be making you money through PPC internet marketing.

You should also check trade journals in your industry, and online magazines that are related to your site. See which words and phrases pop up time and time again. While these keyphrases may not necessarily be a long term part of your web marketing strategy (they are usually quite current and are easily replaced with new jargon), they are an integral part of PPC internet marketing campaigns. These campaigns are held for a finite amount of time, and keyphrases will be reviewed every time, so 'short term' keywords are ideal.

In building your list, the actual things and services which make up your offering will be a critical part of your keyphrases list. Often a keyphrase is combined of a service or product, with either a modifier like 'cheap', or a place name like 'Vancouver' or 'Alaska'. Make sure your product or service names feature prominently in your keyphrase list. The Google Adwords tools as well as the keyword selector tool from Yahoo Search Engine Marketing are often invaluable in selecting your keywords. They find synonyms for your words, and let you know the total daily, monthly and average searches associated with each.

All of the keyphrases you determine for your site need to be run past the relevance filter - ask yourself if the keyphrase represents either your physical offering, an aspect of your offering ('cheap', 'quality', 'designer' etc), or your target market. While it can be tempting to choose terms that broadly represent your offering, and while this certainly may help get a fair bit of traffic to your site (as long as you have the campaign budget to get to the top positions for your chosen keywords), it can also mean that you are paying for visitors which leave within five seconds, once they realize that your site won't suit them. Online marketing agencies and search engine optimization services are best placed to help you determine the keyphrases you should focus on in your campaign.