Using Keywords for Competitive Intelligence

If a competitor is targeting a keyword it is very likely that those keywords are leading to sales (or conversions). If you had this knowledge you could put it to good use:

1) Is there a hot product that you haven’t noticed because you’re too busy trying to run your business?
Did you not know that people were already selling model X-2011 already?
Competitive Intelligence can help fill that gap: Order model X-2011

2) Do you sell a great product but people refer to it by another name?
Are you selling “horses” and calling them “mounts”?

No one will find you; no one searches for ‘mounts’ when they are looking for a ‘horse’.
Competitive Intelligence can help you with that: Change your copy.

3) Is there an area you have not explored that your competitors have?
Are you only selling gold jewelry and your competitors thought to sell beaded jewelry? Your customers would never buy that!
They are already buying it. From your competitor! Perhaps you should stock it.

There are endless examples.
Competitive analysis can help you fill the holes in your research and get a leg up on the competition. Don’t reinvent the wheel- learn from others.

Using Your URL, Breadcrumbs and Navigation to Improve Quality Scores.

Due to the importance of quality scores in PPC advertising it is imperative that campaigns and adgroups be laid out in a logical order. One of the ways that the quality score is calculated is by examining the similarity between the keywords in any ad. Thus, if you sell shoes and boots you will need to have separate ad groups for each. Even if you only sell shoes, there are many different types of shoes, so we don’t necessarily want to put all our “shoe” keywords in the same adgroup.

While it is easier to stick all keywords into one ad it is not cost effective. Your ROI will be lower because you will pay more per click than a person who segments their ads. High quality ads are rewarded with lower costs per click.

Each of the Big three pay per click companies (MSN AdCenter, Yahoo Sponsored Search, and Google Adwords) use quality score as a way to reduce your cost per click. Most second-tier search engines use quality score as well.

Creating PPC Campaigns
Sometimes it can be hard to think of a logical way to create adgroups, especially for those new to PPC or for agencies that are working with a company for the first time. Here is one technique that I use that is very helpful:

Imagine that you have a client or you are a company with thousands of SKUs, across several verticals, like If I was asked to start their campaign from scratch, it seems like a very daunting task. So where would I begin? I would look at their websites’ navigation.


Selecting and Ordering PPC Campaigns
Just like PPC advertising, one of the aspects of good website design is grouping products into a logical order. Taking a look at the top-level navigation shows us the categories that the company uses to separate their products.

I would start by creating a separate campaign for each of the top level categories. TV & Video would be 1 campaign, “Audio” would be another campaign, etc. (The TV AND Video is a hint that these might be two individual categories as well. So I would create one campaign for TV and one for Video.)

Think of campaigns like the departments in the store. If the campaigns are the departments then adgroups are the rows. Keywords are the products.

Selecting and Ordering Adgroups
I want to select adgroups that are quite narrow so as to keep a high quality score. How narrow? For a large store like Bestbuy this can be a little tricky. The adgroups will consist of groupings that are smaller than campaigns but larger than keywords. Where can I find information on a big site like this?

Once again we are helped out by the fact that Bestbuy is a well-designed site.

Take a close look at the “breadcrumbs”:


The furthest down on the navigation level will always (usually?) be the product (or service to buy or product to download, etc). The trail of breadcrumbs shows the path we used to get from the category which is the most general group to the product. The levels in between the product and the category are good candidates for adgroups.

If a site doesn’t have breadcrumbs you might be able to use a similar “trick” by looking at the product URL. A site that does this well is Calloway Golf. Here is the URL for product called an “X tour Wedge”; a type of gold club:

Keyword: X tour wedge
Adgroup: Wedges
Campaign: clubs

If you have used the method I have described, this is the easy part. By that I mean, you will now know where to put those keywords you have been wanting to bid on!

In summary, these are not necessarily the recommendations I would recommend to Calloway or BestBuy, but this provides a useful starting point for tackling a large project. Using a websites’ navigation, breadcrumbs and URL are great tools to help create your PPC campaigns achieve high quality scores.