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Best Practices for Selecting Effective Keywords in Google Ads

Google Ads

June 20, 2023


In the realm of Google Ads advertising campaigns, the choice of keywords is paramount. Opting for the right keywords enhances the visibility of your ads, draws qualified traffic, and improves your return on investment. Keywords steer ads towards interested users, and by selecting them wisely, you optimize your Google Ads campaigns to reach the right audience at the right moment.

In this article, we will delve into the best practices for selecting impactful keywords in Google Ads. We will cover key steps such as in-depth keyword research, utilizing various match types, prioritizing based on relevance and volume, understanding the importance of long-tail keywords, tracking performance, and continuous optimization.

Whether you’re a beginner or experienced, this guide will provide you with valuable insights to choose keywords that will energize your Google Ads campaigns and bring you closer to your advertising goals. Discover how to transform your keyword strategy into a significant asset on Google Ads.

1. Understand Your Campaign Objective

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Before delving into keyword research for your Google Ads campaign, it’s crucial to thoroughly understand the objective you aim to achieve. Each advertising campaign has a specific goal, whether it’s generating sales, enhancing brand awareness, driving traffic to your website, or promoting an event.

Having a clear definition of your objective will strategically guide your keyword choices. For instance, if your goal is direct sales generation, you’ll want to focus on keywords with high conversion potential and purchase intent. Conversely, if your objective is to boost brand awareness, you might opt for broader keywords that reach a wider audience.

By comprehending your objective, you can refine your keyword strategy and steer your campaign in the right direction. This prevents wasting resources on irrelevant or unlikely-to-succeed keywords.

Take the time to evaluate and clearly define your Google Ads campaign objective. Once you have a clear vision of your desired outcomes, you can proceed to the next step: conducting thorough research to identify relevant keywords for your business.

2. Conducting In-Depth Keyword Research

 Thorough keyword research is a vital step in selecting the most relevant keywords for your Google Ads campaign. This process allows you to identify the search terms used by your target audience and optimize your ads accordingly. Here’s how to proceed:

  • Use keyword research tools: Tools like Google Ads’ Keyword Planner provide valuable insights into relevant keywords for your industry. Input keywords related to your business, product, or service to receive relevant keyword suggestions along with statistics on search volume and competition.
  • Identify industry-specific keywords: Take time to understand terms specific to your industry. What are the commonly used keywords by those seeking products or services similar to yours? Keep in mind that some terms may be industry-specific and not as common for the general public.
  • Consider your target audience: Analyze your target audience and their needs. What keywords might they use when searching for products or services like yours? Put yourself in their shoes and think about keywords they might enter into the search engine.
  • Evaluate competition: Assess the competition for the keywords you’re considering. Highly competitive keywords might make it challenging to rank at the top of search results. On the other hand, less competitive keywords could offer a better opportunity for visibility and clicks.
  • Look for long-tail keywords: Long-tail keywords are more specific and detailed phrases. They might have less competition but could be more relevant to your target audience. For instance, instead of a general keyword like “shoes,” you could target long-tail keywords like “women’s running shoes with arch support.”

By conducting in-depth keyword research, you can compile a comprehensive list of relevant terms for your Google Ads campaign. This step will help you better understand the search habits of your target audience and optimize your ads for improved visibility and targeting.

3. Using Broad, Phrase, and Exact Match Keywords

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When setting up your Google Ads campaign, understanding different keyword match types is crucial. These match types determine how closely a user’s search query must align with your chosen keywords for your ad to appear. Here’s an overview of the three main match types:

  • Broad Match: Broad match keywords offer the widest reach, as they trigger your ads for a wide range of related searches, including variations and synonyms. While this can increase visibility, it might also attract less relevant traffic. For instance, a broad match keyword like “running shoes” could also show your ad for queries like “athletic footwear.”
  • Phrase Match: Phrase match keywords provide more control by targeting searches that include the exact phrase or close variations of it. This narrows down your audience slightly while maintaining flexibility. For example, a phrase match keyword like “blue running shoes” would target queries like “buy blue running shoes” or “blue running shoes online.”
  • Exact Match: Exact match keywords offer the most precise targeting. Your ad appears only when a user’s search query exactly matches your chosen keyword. This minimizes unwanted clicks and focuses on highly relevant traffic. For instance, an exact match keyword “women’s trail running shoes” will show your ad only for that specific query.

To maximize your campaign’s efficiency, it’s wise to use a mix of match types. Broad match can expand your reach, while phrase and exact match provide better control and relevance. Adjusting your match types based on performance and goals is key to achieving optimal results in your Google Ads campaign.

4. Prioritizing Keywords Based on Relevance and Search Volume

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Once you’ve conducted a thorough keyword research, it’s time to prioritize those keywords based on their relevance and search volume. This step allows you to focus on the most crucial keywords for your Google Ads campaign. Here’s how to proceed:

  • Evaluate Relevance: Analyze each keyword and assess its relevance to your business, product, or service. Ask yourself: Does this keyword accurately represent what you offer? Is it a term your target audience would use when seeking information or solutions related to your industry? The more relevant a keyword is, the more likely it is to generate qualified traffic.
  • Consider Search Volume: The search volume of a keyword indicates how often it’s searched within a specific period. Utilize keyword research tools to gather statistics on the search volume of each keyword. This gives you insight into the keyword’s popularity and its potential to drive traffic. Generally, it’s best to focus on keywords that are both relevant and have significant search volume.
  • Identify High-Potential Keywords: Spot the keywords that combine high relevance and substantial search volume. These keywords are more likely to attract qualified traffic and achieve your campaign goals. Rank these keywords according to their strategic importance for your business.
  • Prioritize Keywords in Ad Groups: Once you’ve prioritized your keywords, organize them into ad groups based on their themes or relevance. The most important and relevant keywords can be used for main ads, while less prioritized keywords can be used for secondary or supporting ads.
  • Regularly Reevaluate: Search trends and user behaviors change over time. It’s crucial to regularly reassess your keywords based on new data and campaign performance. You can adjust your keyword hierarchy according to the results achieved and make necessary modifications.

By prioritizing keywords based on their relevance and search volume, you can concentrate your efforts on the most important keywords, increasing the likelihood of positive outcomes for your Google Ads campaign.

5. Using Long-Tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords refer to more specific and detailed phrases compared to generic keywords. They typically consist of three or more words and are searched for less frequently than short and generic keywords. Here’s why using long-tail keywords in your Google Ads campaign is advantageous:

  • Enhanced Relevance: Long-tail keywords allow you to target users with highly specific searches. By using more precise terms, you can reach a more qualified audience likely to be interested in your products or services. For example, if you sell running shoes, a long-tail keyword like “lightweight marathon running shoes” is more targeted than a generic keyword like “sports shoes.”
  • Lower Competition: Because long-tail keywords are more specific, they tend to have less competition compared to short and generic keywords. This means you have a better chance of appearing at the top of search results and receiving qualified clicks at a potentially lower cost. Additionally, reduced competition can help you stand out and capture user attention.
  • Higher Purchase Intent: Users searching with long-tail keywords often have higher purchase intent. They have refined their needs and are seeking specific information before making a decision. By targeting these users, you increase the likelihood of converting clicks into actual sales.
  • Improved Conversion: Long-tail keywords tend to generate a higher conversion rate. As users search for something specific, when your ad perfectly matches their query, they’re more likely to click and take a desired action, such as making a purchase or requesting a quote.
  • Optimized User Experience: Using long-tail keywords creates a more relevant user experience. Users can find what they’re looking for more easily, which can enhance satisfaction and encourage greater interaction with your site or ad.

In summary, long-tail keywords offer a more focused, less competitive, and conversion-friendly approach in your Google Ads campaign. By integrating them into your keyword strategy, you can enhance visibility, attract qualified traffic, and improve overall campaign performance.

6. Track and Analyze Keyword Performance

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When conducting a Google Ads campaign, tracking and analyzing keyword performance is crucial. This step helps you understand which keywords are delivering the best results and allows you to optimize your strategy accordingly. Here’s how to track and analyze keyword performance:

  • Use tracking tools: Google Ads provides built-in tools like the Keyword Planner and performance reports to help you monitor keyword performance. Utilize these tools to track metrics such as impressions, clicks, click-through rate (CTR), and conversions associated with each keyword.
  • Analyze key metrics: Examine key metrics to evaluate keyword performance. Impressions indicate how often your ad was displayed for a specific keyword. Click-through rate (CTR) measures the frequency at which users clicked your ad compared to the number of impressions. Conversions represent the desired actions taken, such as purchases or contact form submissions.
  • Compare performance: Compare the performance of different keywords to identify the most effective ones. Look at differences in CTR, conversion rate, and return on investment (ROI) between keywords. Identify those generating the most qualified traffic and conversions.
  • Optimize your strategy: Based on the analysis results, adjust your keyword strategy. Remove or replace keywords with poor performance and focus on those delivering strong results. You can also modify bids, ads, or landing pages associated with specific keywords to enhance their performance.
  • Conduct tests: Use A/B testing to compare the performance of different keywords. For instance, create two ad groups with similar keyword variations and measure the performance of each. This helps identify the most effective keywords to achieve your objectives.
  • Regularly monitor: Keyword performance tracking should be an ongoing process. Regularly monitor key indicators and make necessary adjustments to optimize your campaign. Search trends and user behaviors evolve, so it’s essential to stay up-to-date.

By tracking and analyzing keyword performance, you can enhance ad relevance, increase conversion rates, and achieve better return on investment. Dedicate regular time to this step to continually optimize your Google Ads campaigns.

7. Optimizing Keywords Over Time

Continuously Optimizing Keywords is essential to maximize the performance of your Google Ads campaign. As you gather data and analyze results, you can make adjustments and enhancements to your keyword selection. Here’s how to optimize your keywords over time:

  • Monitor Performance: Regularly track keyword performance using tracking tools and reports in Google Ads. Analyze key metrics like CTR, conversion rate, cost per conversion, and ROI. Identify keywords delivering strong results and those needing improvements.
  • Remove Underperforming Keywords: Identify keywords with low impressions, clicks, or conversions and assess their relevance to your campaign. If a keyword isn’t meeting expectations, consider removing or replacing it with a more effective one. This focuses your budget and efforts on high-performing keywords.
  • Add New Keywords: Based on analysis and insights, seek relevant new keywords to add to your campaign. Utilize keyword research tools to uncover opportunities and identify popular search terms among your target audience. Adding new keywords expands your reach to reach new prospects.
  • Refine Match Types: Evaluate keyword match types (broad, phrase, exact) and adjust as needed. For instance, if broad match keywords generate irrelevant traffic, modify them to phrase or exact match to target specific searches. Balance relevance and search volume for optimal results.
  • Optimize Bids: Monitor keyword bids and adjust based on performance. If a keyword performs well, consider increasing the bid for maximum visibility. Conversely, if a keyword falls short, reduce the bid or even pause it to optimize your budget.
  • Test and Iterate: Use A/B tests to assess different keyword variations or strategies. Create experimental ad groups or campaigns to test new ideas. Analyze results from each test and adapt your approach based on insights.

Keyword optimization is an ongoing process requiring regular monitoring and thorough analysis. By refining keywords over time, you can enhance ad relevance, boost conversion rates, and achieve better campaign outcomes.


In this text, we’ve explored the steps to select and enhance your keywords in Google Ads. Understanding your goals and conducting thorough keyword research are the starting points. Next, prioritizing relevance and monitoring performance while making necessary adjustments over time is crucial. Overall, optimizing your keywords will strengthen your ads, attract qualified traffic, and increase your return on investment. Remember to regularly adapt for optimal results. Happy optimizing your Google Ads campaign!

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