AdWords Tips: All About Keywords
By: Ryan Cole
As you probably know, Google AdWords is a pay-per-click marketing system, which is a great way to get traffic to your site. But if you don't know the ins and outs, it can end up costing you a lot of money and not making you any.
Okay, so now you know the basics of how keywords work in AdWords and how Google charges you for clicks. What's next? Keyword research. The best way to go about this is to use WordTracker. I won't get really specific about how WordTracker works, because they've got a ton of information right there on the site - just go do some reading there when you finish this article. Basically, though, WordTracker will help you find the best keywords to use in your AdWords campaign. You type in any word, and you'll get up to 300 related terms, which you can then click on to find a few hundred variations of that term. The terms you'll get are all terms from WordTracker's search query database, which uses metacrawlers to compile information (again, they explain it on their site if you're really interested). So you know that all the words you find there are real terms that people are actually searching for. Even better, you get a prediction of how many searches to expect per day for any keyword, how many times it shows up in their database, and a KEI value to determine your best words (KEI stands for Keyword Effectiveness Index, which you can also read about on the site). You can get a free trial, or you can sign up for a single day to test it out with all the features included (a day's membership is just a few bucks).
There are some free keyword research tools you can use, but I recommend these only for absolute newcomers who have no budget to start out with. Overture's Keyword Inventory is a good, free resource, but there's a catch: it shows results only for searches done through www.yahoo.com. If you're marketing with Google AdWords, you should know that Google accounts for at least twice as many searches as Yahoo!, in some cases three or four times as many. (Though reports vary, Google usually receives credit for about 50-60% of all searches, while Yahoo! gets about 20-30% - but this is based on all searches, and results for individual searches may vary widely.) You may find other "free" tools or downloadable programs that claim to help you with keyword research, but I say don't bother with them. You get what you pay for. Most of them just pull their results directly from other free online tools, and they don't offer anything in the way of features unless you buy the "full version." If you're out to get one for free, just use Overture. (Google's own traffic estimator is decent, but it doesn't give you an exact count for searches within a given period; you just get status bars, which are hard to interpret. Google's bid and position estimates are also usually way off.)
But third-party tools, even if they're very good, won't do your keyword research for you. You'll have to pick through your web site (or your affiliate's sales letter) for words and phrases that you can use. Then, using those words, see if you can think of similar words or concepts that people might be searching for. There's no real trick to this; you've just got to do a lot of brainstorming. Once you've got a good core list, take that over to WordTracker to beef it up. (Hint: If you see any words that don't directly relate to your product, service, or niche, add them as negative matches.)
Now you should have a lean but healthy keyword list. This is your first step to beating out your competition on Google AdWords.
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