By Partha Bhattacharya
Cruising along 6-lane expressway that skirts east of Kolkata,
the city I grew up in, my mind wandered off to my childhood
days. Kolkata was then a pleasant place, not overtly
or arrogant. Life was easy, schools nearby, offices not afar,
amenities close at hand. Yet, on occasions when we were to
visit relatives outside city’s periphery, plans had to be
readied in advance. Road connection beyond city was poor, and
so moving about longer distance was cumbersome.
Today, many roads have cropped up, many are in making. Places
that seemed inaccessible even a few years back, can now be
reached without much of a fuss. If this is called rapid
urbanization, I feel it has a parallel in the way Google has
transformed AdWords. Just as I hardly thought swanky roads
would ever come up in so large numbers in my city, it was
similarly difficult imagining AdWords would one day be what it
What it is that makes AdWords so dear? I’m not too frequent an
advertiser, so I wouldn’t be commenting on campaigns, adgroups
and suchlike. Instead, I’ll tell you how the keyword tool of
AdWords will make you forget you ever used anything else.
How it started
For long an open secret, but barely touched upon till recent
past is that keywords used by surfers have demographic
to a largish extent. What this means is except for some
terms, surfers from different locales of the globe will most
likely type in different search terms to look for information
on the web. Even in big countries like US or India, search
terms used by surfers vary from place to place. Search engines
knew this for long, but it took them awhile to chalk out
suitable products tailored to be effective in serving
needs on the net.
Talking about Google, products like local search or, for that
matter, the advantage of geo-targeting in AdWords campaign are
all part of strategy accrued from search behavior pattern,
accumulated and studied for nearly a decade.
What are ways to get you the most promising keywords? I’ll
attempt answering this formidable question in 2 parts. In this
part, we’ll discuss how AdWords’ keyword tool can help you get
going. In the next part, we’ll compare AdWords’ keyword tool
with some of the best out there. On to AdWords now.
AdWords opens up
Admittedly, AdWords is meant to maximize revenues to Google.
What pleases the most is Google’s fatherly approach to ensure
that AdWords maximizes returns to advertisers too. And how?
Look at how easily you can fetch your choicest keywords from
Google’s vast repertoire.
Start at AdWords Keyword Tool and after selecting the country
and language you’d like to target (English and United States
default), slip below and select one of the 2 tabs, namely
Keyword Variations and Site-Related Keywords. Now on, let’s go
step by step to unravel a real wonder that the tool is.
If you select this tab (by default selected), just type in
keywords in the box, one in each line (pressing ‘Enter’ after
each keyword to go to next line). If you want similarly meant
keywords, do not forget to select ‘Use synonyms’. A good idea
that, since it broadens your keyword search. For example, I
found ‘top 10 ranking’, a very popular key-phrase, as a
for ‘top ranking’, which would have otherwise remained unknown
to me. Another point stressed upon frequently by veterans is
that it is better to begin your keyword search with general
terms. As you progressively narrow down your keyword
you’re more likely to discover promising phrases along the
So you have a long list of keywords presented by Google based
upon your few initial keywords. Watch closely, you’ll find
Google saying that it’s a list sorted by relevance. What’s
that? It’s Google’s way of gently prodding you to begin an
AdWords campaign, for the keywords that appear at the top are
the most relevant ones, should you consider ad campaign with
What would you do now? Well, you may start adding them as
necessary, search for more related keywords (link at the
of the list), or even download them in your chosen format. But
wait before you do anything of these. Look around and see how
Google helps you with excellent tools to further fine-tune
list of keywords.
Refining your keywords
Move to ‘Show columns’ and in the accompanying drop-down list,
you get to select eye-popping options. Wow! What a help!
the first option, ‘Keyword popularity’ and you’ll
see 2 adjacent columns of data. Click a column heading, the
re-arranges in decreasing importance. In the column
Competition’, the list shows which of your keywords are hotly
sought after. Similarly, the column ‘Search Volume’ gives you
measure of popularity of respective keywords. Still want more
specific info’? The generous Google is there for that. How?
Amble to far right of the columns and alongside ‘Match Type’,
select ‘Broad’, ‘Phrase’ or ‘Exact’ and watch how the scenario
changes. What are broad match, phrase match and exact match?
Help is just there (a question mark). Click on it to know
We’ll now move on to third option in ‘Show columns’, which is
‘Global search volume trends’. This is a recent addition. When
you select this, you’ll get to see an amazing display of how
keyword popularity changes globally (not only US) through the
year in the form of bar-charts. Once again, hook on to ‘Match
Type’ (spoken above) and refine your search further.
Start an AdWord campaign?
If you do not contemplate starting an AdWord campaign, you may
skip the other 2 ‘Show columns’ options. In case you do plan
one, first select ‘Cost and ad position estimates’ and in the
ensuing page, choose your currency and mention your maximum
CPC. This is the maximum cost you agree to bear each time your
ad is clicked on when displayed for your chosen search terms
(note this is different from another oft-used term, CTR, the
click-through-rate). As you finally hit ‘Recalculate’, your
list will turn up myriad combinations of ad position and
average CPC for your keywords. If your max CPC is too low, you
may not see any value for average CPC.
The remaining ‘Show columns’ option is ‘Possible negative
keywords’. This is a tool that assists your keywords to
maintain a sharp focus in an ad campaign. Depending on
strategy, one has to decide whether or not to include negative
keywords. To give an example, for my web marketing website, if
my keyword ‘top ranking’ fetches other probables like ‘top 10
ranking’, ‘uptown top ranking’, ‘top ranking universities’ and
so on, I might decide to include ‘uptown’ and ‘universities’
negative keywords, but certainly leaving out the term ‘10’.
would mean that if I select ‘top ranking’ as broad match or
phrase match, my ad will not show up for search terms that
included negative words ‘uptown’ and ‘universities’. More
than not, expert campaigners will choose one-word broad match
and then work on a long list of negative words to disallow
unwanted ad impressions.
Till now, we’ve spoken about keywords you chose and ways of
refining them. Suppose you are eager to know what keywords
competition is using! Well, why not? If indeed so, AdWords
Keyword Tool comes to your assistance. To start, click the
other tab ‘Site-Related Keywords’, enter the URL of your
competition in the search box and hit ‘Get keywords’. Don’t
forget to check ‘Include other pages on my site linked from
this URL’. As you set Google to work, it dutifully comes up
with a list of keywords, grouped by common terms with number
occurrences in the entire website within parentheses for each
Grouping keywords by common terms is a great help as you’ll
find, and each group lists related keywords as in earlier
If you uncheck grouping option, Google will fetch you a
scrolling list of keywords, which may often be uncomfortably
huge if you happen to spy on a giant competition. Once there,
similar to Keyword Variations, here too you can start working
on your keywords with abundance of tools at your command.
AdWords, a facilitator
Keyword Tool is great because it is very easy to use. No doubt
Google intends it that way so as to make AdWords less and less
daunting for potential ad-campaigners who are afraid to cross
threshold for the fear of making unknown mistakes. Let’s
remember, businessmen incline to take risks on known
parameters, and not something that is difficult to comprehend.
To that extent, the newly-designed keyword tool is a good
In the next part, we’ll look at how AdWords’ keyword tool
with other keyword finders.
About The Author: A freelance content writer, Partha
Bhattacharya runs blog on search engine marketing
[www.prioriti.in/blogs/]. Contact Partha at
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