Mastering Keyword Selection – Boosting Your Google Ads Performance

A website showing Google Ads in search

Google Ads is a formidable tool for small business owners looking to amplify their online presence. It’s also useful for a new site with no history looking to build organic results. But let’s face it, navigating the labyrinth of keyword selection can be daunting. Every click means that money is being spent, YOUR money, so how do you make sure you’re allocating your funds as well as possible? This guide will help you master keyword selection, turning your Google Ads campaigns into a powerhouse of performance. Alternatively, and in all likelihood, it’ll convince you that you don’t have the time to do this yourself, and you’ll contact us!

Understanding the Basics: What Are Keywords?

Homer Simpson shocked by keywords...

We discussed this in a recent blog post. Keywords are the words or phrases potential customers type into Google when searching for products or services. In the world of Ads, choosing the right keywords can mean the difference between a successful campaign and a waste of budget. Your goal is to identify and target the keywords that your ideal customers are using.

The Importance of Keyword Research for Google Ads

Before diving into keyword selection, understand that thorough keyword research is the foundation of any effective AdWords campaign. Without it, you’re essentially shooting in the dark. Proper keyword research helps you understand:

  • Search Volume: How many people are searching for a particular keyword.
  • Relevance: How relevant a keyword is to your business and offerings.
  • Competition: How many other advertisers are bidding on that keyword.

Step-by-Step Guide to Selecting the Perfect Keywords for Google Ads

1. Start with a Brainstorm Session
Begin by listing down all the possible keywords that relate to your business. Think about the terms your customers might use, just because a term might be natural to you, that doesn’t mean it is how someone searches for you. If you own a bakery, your initial list might include words like “fresh bread,” “artisan bakery,” “gluten-free pastries,” and “local bakery.”

2. Use Keyword Research Tools
Leverage tools like Google Keyword Planner (bear in mind, you’ll need an Ads account to access this), SEMrush, or Ahrefs to expand and refine your list. These tools provide valuable insights into search volume, competition, and even suggest related keywords you might not have considered.

3. Focus on Long-Tail Keywords
Long-tail keywords are longer, more specific phrases that typically have lower search volumes but higher conversion rates. For example, instead of targeting “shoes,” a long-tail keyword would be “women’s running shoes for flat feet.” Long-tail keywords are less competitive and more targeted, often resulting in better ROI. Long-tail keywords are not just used in Ads, you’ve seen them in some of our other blog posts.

4. Analyze Competitor Keywords
Peek into what your competitors are doing. Tools like SpyFu or the Ads Auction Insights report can show you which keywords your competitors are bidding on. This can provide a benchmark and also uncover opportunities they might be missing.

5. Group Your Keywords
Organize your keywords into relevant groups. If you run a pet supply store, you might have groups for “dog food,” “cat toys,” and “aquarium supplies.” Grouping helps create more focused ad campaigns, improving relevancy and quality scores.

6. Consider Negative Keywords
Negative keywords prevent your ads from showing up for irrelevant searches. If you sell luxury watches, you might want to add “cheap” or “affordable” as negative keywords. This ensures you’re not wasting budget on clicks from users looking for bargains.

7. Regularly Review and Adjust
Keyword selection isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it task. Regularly review the performance of your keywords. Use metrics like click-through rate (CTR), conversion rate, and cost-per-click (CPC) to identify which keywords are working and which are not. Adjust your strategy accordingly…and don’t leave this on cruise control indefinitely. You should always have a timeframe in mind when running Google Ads.

Crafting the Perfect Ad Copy

Once you’ve nailed down your keywords, the next step is crafting compelling ad copy. Ensure your ad copy is:

  • Relevant: Aligns closely with the keywords and the search intent.
  • Engaging: Uses strong call-to-actions and addresses the needs of your audience.
  • Clear: Clearly communicates the benefits and unique selling points of your offering.

Conclusion – Mastery Takes Time

Mastering keyword selection for Google Ads is an ongoing process. It requires regular research, testing, and optimization. But by following these steps and staying adaptable, you can significantly boost your Google Ads performance, driving more traffic and sales for your small business.

Remember, the right keywords are like keys to a treasure chest – they unlock the potential of your online advertising, leading you to the goldmine of high-quality leads and customers.

It’s possible that everything we’ve discussed here seems overwhelming. You’re running a business after all, might have a family, and could use some free time, right? If that’s the case, contact us and let us help you! We have extensive experience managing Google Ad campaigns, we can do it more efficiently and get better results for you, and combine it with an ambitious SEO plan. In fact, our Enterprise and LoneStar SEO programs include Google Ads management as part of the program. Email us at or audit your site on the Strottner Designs Homepage to learn more!

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