Are you missing out on some great five-cent traffic? Did you know that by bidding on variations of popular keywords you can grab hundreds or even thousands of visitors that your competitors didn't even consider?
Why Keywords Are So Important
What is a keyword? The answer is simple... It's what a user types when they are searching for something they want on the Internet.
If you want to dress up as Darth Vader and buy the outfit online, you could go to Google and search for the merchandise you need. But what would you type? Maybe Darth Vader Helmet? Or Darth Vader Mask? Or would you type Mask + Darth Vader? How about Darth Vader costume or Darth Vader Adult Costume? What if you misspelled Darth Vader?
As an online consumer, chances are you would keep typing variations of what you wanted until you saw what you were looking for. Well wouldn't it be nice if a company had exactly what you wanted and you saw their ad the first time you typed your query?
As a vendor using Google Adwords, you can't afford to miss opportunities like this. If you were selling Darth Vader Masks, you sure don't want your prospect to type Dark Vader Masks and NOT see your ad. Do You?
So, it's important to load up your Ad Groups with keywords that real people are typing when searching for things online.
How can you anticipate what people will type? Well, there are a few websites that can help you out. Maybe you've heard of them: Overture and Google.
Many people are familiar with Overture's search term suggestion tool. You can find it here: http://inventory.overture.com. It's a great tool for estimating demand of specific keywords. You can compare the number of searches for one keyword with another and you can also see popular search phrases that contain your keyword.
For example, if you type Darth Vader into Overture. Your results may include: darth vader, darth vader costume, darth vader picture, darthvader wall paper, darth vader helmet, and so on. Plus you'll see numbers next to each term telling you how many searches were run with that key word or phrase. The numbers may or may not be accurate, but in relation to each other, they give you a good benchmark of which phrase is typed more often.
One of the biggest complaints people seem to have with overture's tool is that it lumps together singulars and plurals and often alphabetizes the words in a phrase so you don't know if people are typing "vader helmet" or "helmet vader". Another complaint is that you are not given any results unless they contain your term (ex. Darth Vader). Therefore, you might miss out on keywords containing a synonym for Darth Vader like Anakin.
To help with what Overture lacks, a lot of people are using Google's Keyword Tool found here: https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordSandbox. It's much more specific about the order of words, singulars and plurals AND also suggests related terms that may or may not contain your original phrase. The downfall that most people mention is the lack of numerical data to give an idea of how many searches are performed for each term.
A quick use of Google's tool provides similar results to Overture, but also includes terms like lightsaber, anakin, comic, count dooku, and sidious.
If you want the best of both worlds in one spot, you can use a tool like WordTracker found here: http://www.theadtool.com/wordtracker. This very useful tool will give you counts from most search engines, distinguish between singular and plural, and offer related terms with their counts. It also provides an index number called KEI to give you an idea on how competitive certain terms are (mostly for organic search engine marketing).
Regardless of which tools you use, it's critical that you grab hundreds of keyword variations and put them into your ad groups. If you don't, you're probably missing out on some very low priced terms and might even be missing out on what everyone is typing when searching. If you know the story of the insurance companies promoting auto insurance instead of car insurance, then you can certainly see the importance of including related terms.
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