The White Pine Saloon: A Blog

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5 Simple Keyword Expansion Ideas


As PPC marketers, we’re always looking for keyword research ideas. It seems like there are an infinite amount of keyword tools out there to help, but sometimes, you don’t have to even look that far to find new untapped areas. I’ve put together a list below describing five places you can reach out to when you’re researching keywords and you’ve hit “keyword expansion block”. Some of these below might seem obvious, but after wading through an ocean of various keyword tools over the past year, going back to the basics is usually a great bet, especially when you’re stuck:

5. Google Adwords Search Term Report

If you’re already running a PPC campaign with Google Adwords, you might know about this feature: the search term report (sometimes referred to as the ‘search query report’). The idea here is to see what queries triggered your ads. Not only is this a great tool to see what terms your keywords set on phrase match are querying for possible keyword expansion ideas, it also can give you some juicy negative keywords.

4. Wonder Wheel

Google Wonder WheelThe Google Wonder Wheel is a tool that can be accessed on SERPs on the left hand navigation panel. This is a search query visualization tool that makes it easy to see related searches to a query that you might be interested in.

Because it’s Valentine’s Day, let’s Google the keyword ‘chocolate gift baskets’. When we see the wonder wheel results, some suggested queries that I might want to expand to if I were a PPC marketer would be “gourmet chocolate gift baskets”, “dark chocolate gift baskets”, or if I further expand on the keyword “gourmet chocolate gift baskets”, I find other keywords that I might like, in this case “best chocolate gift baskets”, and “Belgian chocolate gift baskets”.

3. Competitor Keyword Tags

If you’re ever looking for some new keyword ideas, just turn to your competition and see what keywords they’re interested in. It’s simple: go to your competitor’s PPC landing pages (or any of their pages for that matter) and view the source of the page. Find out if they have a keyword meta tag, and eat your heart out. Googling the term ‘russell stover chocolate’, I find a page that has given us their keyword meta data:

Not a very helpful list here, but sometimes you strike gold looking at other sites in your competitive space. There’s always been a bit of debate whether or not keyword meta data has any use. Some SEOs choose to leave out keyword meta data, especially in competitive industries. You don’t want to give away what keywords you’re targeting, do you? That said, some sites still have keyword tags. Take advantage of it!

2. Web Analytics Data

Sometimes we forget that a lot of great keyword data is right under our noses – assuming your site has some organic search traffic coming in, open up your web analytics program and look at the traffic coming in from non-paid search mediums. If you’ve got a lot of crap keywords that you’re not interested in buying traffic for, just narrow it down and look at keywords that have converted for your site, our brought you some form of positive ROI.

I love working with clients with several years of keyword data coming to their site. It’s a boatload of fun looking through 2 years worth of reports and finding keywords that have high conversion rates that you would have never thought of bidding on. Money in the bank!

1. Google Instant

Last but not least, Google Instant. Announced in Q4 2010, Goolge Instant is an enhancement to Google’s search functionality in that it shows you results on the page as you type. However, when you type a search query, Google predicts what you might be interested in based on their large database of searches that they have locked up somewhere.

Let’s say you’re a florist, and you sell roses by the dozen. By typing in ‘dozen roses c’, you’re given several suggested queries. These might be terms that would be worth bidding on or expanding upon.

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