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A Guide to PPC Keyword Research in 2021

A Guide to PPC Keyword Research in 2021

To receive the maximum traffic from Google, you need to know what people are looking for and the search terms they are using the most. If you want to outperform your competition, you need to know how to perform keyword research and rank for those keywords.

Keyword research becomes even more crucial when running PPC campaigns as their success depends heavily on your ability to choose the best keywords that can result in conversions.

What is PPC Keyword Research?

It is the process of finding popular search terms and queries that people use on search engines such as Google to look for products and services they need. Reverse engineer this process, and you can optimize your website by adding relevant keywords to your content. It will help you to target potential customers.

You can't rank on keywords overnight and start getting traffic from the next day. Technology is changing fast, and the only way to rank on top of search engine results is to create content on the latest topics. Search Google for trending topics in your niche and create content on it. Soon your website will start ranking for those keywords.

PPC Keyword Research Tip

What You Shouldn't Do When Selecting PPC Keywords

Finding new keyword ideas can be challenging. It can be trickier if you don’t know about keyword competition. So, don’t select only broad terms such as “burgers,” “travel,” or “Miami.” You shouldn’t use redundant phrases such as “social media,” “YouTube marketing,” and “directory listings” either.

There are two reasons why you shouldn't choose such keywords:

  1. They give vague results as search engines can’t understand the user intent.
  2. These short-tail keywords have high competition and CPC. Visitors who come to your website via long-tail keywords are more likely to buy. Click here to know more about long and short-tail keywords and how to find them.

You should also focus on region-specific keywords. The infographic below compares long-tail and short-tail keywords and why the former is a better choice.

Short Tail vs Long Tail Keywords on Google

Courtesy: SEO Pressor

Though you can rank for primary keywords on Google, most of your revenue-generating traffic will come from long-tail keywords that people are using with purchase intent. These keywords will bring your business the most revenue. For example, queries like agencies that offer long-form article writing services near meā  reflect a high purchase intent. If you use them on your static website, you'll attract potential customers.

Find User Queries through Ubersuggest

Ubersuggest Keyword Research

Ubersuggest is an SEO tool that gives you the exact questions people ask when searching for products and services similar to yours. For example, if you are looking for tips on minimalism, Ubersuggest will give you questions like "How can I declutter my home as a beginner minimalist?"

You can use tools like Ubersuggest to find long-tail keywords. Since Google loves long-form content, create detailed content (3000-6000 words) around these keywords to make your article start ranking on Google.

After the Hummingbird update, Google has stopped ranking content from popular sites or with the highest number of backlinks if it offers little or no value. Meanwhile, it puts on top of search results articles or videos that provide comprehensive and industry-specific content. It is why Wikipedia ranks on top.

PPC Keyword Research Tip #2

Look Up Quora for PPC Keyword Ideas

If you want to know interesting, trending, and informative questions and their answers, you can go to Quora and type in your search keyword.

Using Quora for PPC Keyword Ideas

Quora is an excellent platform for social listening and discovering trending topics. You will find a list of user-generated questions related to your niche on it. You must use them to explore PPC keyword ideas. They provide a wealth of information about what people are looking for and their pain points.

Use Google Keyword Planner

It comes free of cost with a Google Ads account and helps with keyword research when you set up an ad campaign on Google. You need to sign in to your Google Ads account to get the best results from Google Keyword Planner. Among other features, it gives you cost-per-click pricing of each keyword and keyword ideas for your static website.

To create an account, you need to follow the instructions and enter your business information. Click on “Tools” and choose “Keyword Planner.” You will see two other tools under keyword planner—“Discover New Keywords” and “Get Search Volume and Forecast.”

Keyword Ideas on Google Keyword Planner

These will help you generate thousands of potential keywords and keyword ideas in a single click. However, be mindful that the tool is built for PPC advertisers on Google. Many of its features, such as the keyword building feature, are for people interested in setting up ad campaigns. They will not help you want to find keywords for SEO purposes.

PPC Keyword Research for Google Ads vs. SEO

There is a difference between keywords for SEO and Google Ads. Since Google Ads clicks expensive, you need to target the keywords with a low cost-per-click to get relevant traffic. Moreover, Google Ads keyword research is restricted to a small subset of all the possible keywords, including those offering the highest ROI.Ā

How to Research PPC Keywords for Successful Google Ads?

You can follow these steps to find relevant keywords and create ad groups for your campaigns:Ā

1. Brainstorm

The first step of PPC keyword research is to find suitable and relevant phrases for your business. Brainstorm to discover these search terms. Jot down the keywords you come up with. Use a spreadsheet for optimal results. Use Google Keyword Planner to work on these ideas and find relevant keywords. Divide them into sections and create a list. It will serve as a solid groundwork propelling you to discover the best keywords for your ad campaigns.Ā

2. List Branded Keywords

To create branded keywords, divide your keywords into two parts. The first set should represent your brand, and the second should be related to competitor brands.

For example, if you are selling dog food, your customers must be familiar with Royal Canin and Taste of the Wild. You can use "Royal Canin'' as a keyword to target the customers looking for Royal Canin or similar products. Using keywords to include well-known rival brands will help more people find you online, especially if you are relatively new in the market. It will also help you narrow down your target audience and win customers.

You must also use your own branded keywords. You can try different combinations. For example, you can add your product or service's name with the brand and develop several relevant variations, such as Nescafe gold, Nescafe coffee, Nescafe cup, Nescafe coffee price, and Nescafe cheeky mug pack.

3. Find Product and Service-Specific Keywords

Sometimes customers are not looking for any particular brand, but specific products and services. Therefore, you should prepare a list of product and service-specific keywords and try their different combinations using Google Keyword Planner.

For example, if you have a store selling designer clothing, you may use the following keywords:

  1. Designer sequin dresses for parties
  2. Designer sequin dresses for women

Specific keywords are more effective than generic keywords because high-intent consumers use them.

4. Use High-Intent Keywords

When a user goes deeper into the sales funnel in the final stages of the buying process, they want to find the information they are looking for relatively quickly to complete their purchase. You need to target such users because they are actively shopping and not browsing the internet just for information. Using high-intent keywords can help you do it.

Here are a few examples of high-intent keywords:

  1. Winterwear sale
  2. Jackets sale
  3. Fashion stores with 50% discount

These keywords are not product-specific, but they reflect that the user has a buying intent and is looking for discounts and sales.

5. Get Competitor Insights

Before you start using a keyword tool, try to get insights into the strategies used by your competitors to attain high SERP rankings. Find the keywords your competitors are bidding the most on and include them in your campaign.

Discover the keywords they are ranking for with the help of SEO tools such as SpyFu. Along with providing in-depth research about competitor keywords, SpyFu also gives the following insights:

  1. CPC keywords your competitors are using
  2. The price they are paying per click
  3. Their monthly ad expenditure
  4. Ad position and searches they appear in  

You can use this data to outbid your competitors. List the keywords you get through competitor insights and add them to your brainstorming list.

6. Use Left-off Keywords

You can use Google Keyword Planner to expand on your left-off keywords. Add the search term your audience may be using and incorporate suggestions given by the tool.

At this stage, you should have finished your keyword research. However, you should still add those keywords which you think are expensive or have high competition. We will cut and refine the list in the next step.

7. Refine Your Lists

When you are ready with your lists, start refining them. Go back to the Google search bar, click on "Upload a file," and upload all the lists compiled in a file format. Access the keywords according to the following metrics:

  1. Estimated click-through rate
  2. Potential impression
  3. Monthly searches
  4. Average CPC you can afford

It will help you find many "low competition" and "low-cost" keywords with high search volume. You should select high-value keywords even if the cost per click is a little more.Ā  They will bring in more conversions and add to your campaign's effectiveness.

8. Bundle PPC Keywords Into Ad Groups

Now you have powerful PPC keywords shortlisted. Before you start targeting them, divide them into different ad groups. These are groups of keywords that you can combine in one ad campaign. For example, you can have a headline such as "end of season sale winterwear." It can include keywords like "jackets on sale," "pullovers on sale," and "woolen clothes on sale." Do not include keywords like "stockings on sale" in this ad group as it is an entirely different product range.

Add PPC Keywords in Google Ads Using Ad Groups

Another advantage of using Google Keyword Planner is that it allows you to directly select the keywords you want to target and make ad groups. It doesn't require any copy-pasting.

Google Ads Keywords Using Ad Groups

Apart from subject relevance, you can also make groups according to user intent and their stage in the buyer's journey. If you create more ad groups with custom copies to target different audiences based on their needs, you will receive more clicks and conversions.


PPC keyword research is an extremely crucial part of your overall digital marketing strategy, so it's essential to get it right. Even though it might look tedious and complicated, you should create many ad groups to target different customer segments and reap long-term benefits. But if all of this feels too time-consuming or cumbersome to you, hire a professional to run your Google Ads to achieve maximum ROI. You should try DashClicks' white label PPC services.

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