Keyword Research Beginner’s Guide

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21st November 2016

A Beginners’ Guide to Keyword Research

Welcome to our Beginners’ Guide to Keyword Research for Google AdWords campaigns.

Maybe you are finding yourself at the beginning of your PPC career and everyone around you is talking about keyword research or you want to start the first AdWords campaign for your own business. You do not know where and how to start with it?

Then, this short guide will shed a bit more light on the grey area that is keyword research for you.

Before diving into the ocean of keywords, we better start off explaining the four main types of keywords you will be looking for:

  1. Main Keywords aka. Head Terms - These are your main or often most generic keywords
  2. Expansion Keywords - These keywords can be added to the front or back of a head term like “buy”, “find”, “best” or the name of a city or country, this means they cannot stand alone
  3. Synonyms - A different way to refer to your head terms
  4. Long-Tail-Keywords - More specific keywords, consisting of two or more keywords and therefore less expensive than the main terms

Brainstorm for the perfect customer’s search terms

First of all forget about any data on volume and all the online tools and competition because your head is the best tool to start your research with. Just think of every possible way your topic might be searched for.

Then go to your or your client's website and have a look at how it is organized and what kind of categorization has been used. Look for significant words on the website. This a great way to gather the first main keywords for your list because you will get a good feeling for the products or services you want to advertise in your Google AdWords campaigns.

Afterwards put yourself in the role of a possible customer. What would you search for if you were interested in the service or product? What words or phrases would you use? Here you should discover some useful Expansion Keywords such as “buy online”, “reserve” and lots more.

Get your keywords and yourself organized

After you have collected a few first keyword ideas, set up an Excel table or Google Spreadsheet and fill in all the keywords. Sometimes it can be helpful to already separate keywords into the four types of keywords or even separate them into different themes. A Google Spreadsheet can be useful if you want to share it with colleagues or if you want someone in your team to add extra keywords by themselves.

Data will give you guidance

Great! You have your first keywords together in one place. Before pressing on with the keyword research it is important to make sure that you are on the right track and that you are not losing yourself in unimportant keywords. To minimize this risk, it is good to have a look on Google search volume data.

Option 1 - Google AdWords Keyword Planer

Log into the Google AdWords Account and navigate to the tab “Tools” in the top row, then chose “Keyword Planner” from the dropdown menu. Then click on “Get search volume and trends” and fill in your collected keywords. Do not forget to pick a country and a time frame. Google will give an impression of how often the keyword has been searched monthly, an average CPC bid and give a rating of the competition.

Option 2 - Google Trends

Use Google Trends to get a good impression on the popularity of a keyword and if that keyword is rising or falling in your market or niche.

Google search volume data can be also very handy when you are talking with your client about the implementation of specific keywords and you have to explain to them why you picked this keyword.

Google it!

The next step could not be more obvious, but it is a simple way to research long-tail

keywords. Search for your keywords on Google and wait a few seconds before you hit enter because Google’s automated tool “Google suggest” will complete your search with additional words that were searched often by other users. Save those key phrases, then hit enter and scroll down to the bottom of the page to see related search terms. If you did not find a lot of important expansion keywords, you probably fulfilled the list now.

Use free keyword tools

A very helpful tool which you can find on the Internet is Keyword Tool exploits the Google Suggest API to discover relevant keywords.

It goes deep down and researches quite a few very specific combinations, in the end you will get a long list of keywords. The basic tool is free and you can search for terms as often as you like, only if you want deeper insights such as search volume and competition you have to pay a monthly fee for it.

Here is how it looks:

Synonyms or aka

When you hear Thesaurus you may think about the Windows Office Word tool but can help you a lot in finding synonyms for your main terms. Check it out and give it a try.

Some of these options are great while some do not fit to your actual search. After checking this, you can add some more valuable keywords to your existing list.

Wikipedia is your friend

Sometimes I wonder how often I have heard that Wikipedia is not a good source for research, but when it comes to keyword research they were all wrong. It can be a very practical tool if you still have the feeling that you are missing important keywords, just search for your keywords and read the page. You will come across a lot of new keyword ideas. From time to time you can even find technical terms that you were missing. When you do not find specific terms or jargon on Wikipedia, just browse a few more other sites and I am sure you will find them.


This is the end of our short beginners’ guide to keyword research for AdWords campaigns.

Before we finish, I want to give you one last piece of advice. After researching, you will have a long list of the four types of keywords, that I have mentioned at the start of this guide and you are probably getting ready to use them in your AdWords campaigns. But before you do so, have a last look at your list and remember that you might have collected keywords that are too generic and therefore too expensive to implement. So make sure that you are going to implement only those who seem to work for you or your client.

That’s it! Now you have the basics to start an organized and valuable research. All you have to do is start researching and then set up AdWords campaigns with great keywords.

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