Top 10 ways to Generate Keywords in Pay-per-click

There is a process for finding ppc keywords. Here are the top methods that I use to find keywords. This is not a list on how to find good keywords (we’ll talk about that next time) it is simply a list on where to find keywords that are relevant to your brand.

The List

1) Common sense-This one is often overlooked. If a grocery store solicited my help I know a ton of their keywords because I have seen a grocery store.

2) Keyword tools- Google Adwords Keywords tool and Yahoo both have free keyword tools with real data from searches people have performed. There are also good paid alternatives.

3) Website analysis. Look at the content of the webpage. There are also tools that can extract that data. The navigation and breadcrumbs can be helpful.

4) Competitors- Look at the content of the webpage of the competition.

5) Yahoo’s search home page- do a couple “bad” searches and Yahoo will show a list of related searches. Those are keywords.

6) Analytics-In your analytics. You are running analytics right? It will send you the keyword people are searching for when then used a search engine to get to your site.

7) Internal search-what are people searching for on your site? Those are keywords.

8 Competitive intelligence reports-Companies like sell information on you and your company that may be useful.

9) The company-I listen to the language the stakeholders and employees use in our correspondence. Also, it never hurts to ask them if they thought I missed anything, but that is always at the end of the keyword expansion phase and campaign building phase.

Perhaps a new product might come in or a new corporate trend might develop that is outside the scope of analytics.

10) My experience-I have built umpteen campaigns and I have a certain feel for it.

(You may only recreate portions of this list if you keep the text and links unchanged and attribute the list to

SEO Tools: Using Web Directories

One “SEO tool” or technique that can help all business owners is the use of directory submissions.

One of the primary factors in most first-tier search engines’ algorithm is external links. You want links from other sites. Preferably one-way links, but reciprocal links have value also.

There are many web-directories on the internet- both broad and specific. In fact, before Yahoo was a search engine, it was (and is) a web directory. A web directory works on a business model similar to the Yellow Pages. You submit information to the directory, the directory hosts ads, advertisers pay money to the webmasters.

Some more “enterprising” webmasters have come up with a different business model to support their web directory. Everyone values incoming links to their site because of the SEO value. What would you pay to get a link to your site from the Google homepage? Obviously Google does not sell links, but you can imagine the value to your company.

A small web directory can provide a similar value on a much smaller scale.

However, there is a problem.

This practice of buying links is against Google’s terms of service and can get your site removed from the SERPS altogether.

Of course, it is not against Google’s policy to buy advertising on a site as long as you state that you are an advertiser. You can also buy “memberships” in organizations and “receive” links.

The practice is not as black and white as it appears. However, if your business is flagged by Google, and removed from the search engines, the results will be very black and white. It is best to err on the side of caution with your business.

Here are some examples of legitimate directories I have worked with. I will try to add to the list as I find more:

Web Directory List:

seo resources
SEO Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory

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.