• Josh McRay

What does a keyword do?

Keywords provide the base of every Google Ads campaign. Keywords are specific words or phrases that you want to show ads for. Without them, you would have nicely written and separated ads and a great landing page, but no results. Basically, you select a keyword that you want to target and place it into your account. A search is performed in Google that is identical to (or closely matches) your term. If you have your campaign setup correctly, you should show a result at the top of the page, providing you with the visibility needed to advertise your service.


Choosing the Right Keywords


Most people think that shoving a bunch of relevant keywords into a Google Ads campaign is the way to start. The ol’ “Spray and Pray” methodology. That is definitely one way to do it. DO NOT start out that way! Sit and think about what you want your keywords to do for you first.


When I first got started with AdWords I did TONS of research on what keywords were, how they worked, and what the expected results should be. I also spent a fair amount of time thinking about the intent of people searching for the service that I was offering. This left me with a great mix of product based keywords and intent based keywords.


Product Based Keywords


These are the keywords that are very specific to the physical thing or service that you are offering. For example, if you sell custom mugs that you hand craft keywords in this category may look like the following:

  • Custom mugs

  • Handcrafted mugs

  • Special occasion mugs

  • Holiday mugs

These are the keywords that will show your ads in the widest variety and the largest amount of searches. If you need a ton of traffic, and you have a ton of mugs to sell, these would serve as a great base.


Intent Based Keywords


These are my favorites. I find these to be extremely useful in the service industry, but they can work for anything providing that you understand what your customer/client needs are. Intent based keywords show a need for what it is that you’re offering, rather than somebody just shopping around for a product. Some examples of intent based keywords would be:

  • Custom mugs near me

  • Need handcrafted mug

  • Find custom birthday mug

  • Purchase christmas mug fast

These show a little bit more motivation and intent to buy than the product based keywords from earlier. Targeting keywords like this will produce less overall traffic, but more people who have an immediate need for what you offer.


Neither of these strategies are a 100% sure fire way to effectively get traffic by themselves. There needs to be a mix of both types in a campaign in order to find the solutions that are going to work best for any business. When performing keyword research, try to keep both types in mind and mix up the different types of matches as well. This will make for great ad group combinations from the start!

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