Which search engine queries?

Early in the process of developing PPC campaign(s), as we begin keyword discovery we’ll ask you:  “Which search engine queries find your product or service?”.

You’ll likely know the answers; this is usually something that can be pulled together quickly. We’ll take it from there.

Why is this question important?  Don’t your keyword research tools tell you this?

This exercise is primarily to guard against us missing an obscure search query or method which is not obvious, that you (being in the business) may be aware of.  It’s designed to ensure we end up with stronger search query coverage built into a new campaign.

Your responses do not need to be perfect; almost certainly will find them all anyway. As a new campaign is optimized, keyword base expansion will catch the outliers.

On occasion, some useful and fortuitous surprises occur because we tapped into the knowledge that only someone “in the business” would know.

On the other hand, if you miss something – don’t worry about that because we’re very likely going to find it all anyway.

How much information on search queries should I provide?

Usually this list we are asking for amounts to 10 to 30 search queries; sometimes more and occasionally less.

If you don’t know the search queries or only know of a few – that’s ok, send them across;  we’ll find all of them.

The rest of the related FAQ info provided below is optional, but may prove helpful:

How does this impact the campaign?

Getting the keyword base right is a critical foundational element for a PPC search a campaign. so our process to discover all of them is thorough. A strong keyword base reflects the many possible search queries that may be used to find your product or service. With that in place, the rest of the search campaign is being built on top of a strong foundation, and the prospects for making leaps in performance during the optimization are strong.

Can’t you end up with too many keywords in a PPC search campaign, for the ad spend budget available?

Yes, that’s possible; we’ll size the eventual keyword base to the ad spend.  And remember, eventually each keyword in the campaign will have to participate in producing conversions, or we’ll “optimize it out” over time.

Why can’t you just remove the keywords that have been known to not convert?  Search campaign conversion don’t actually work that way.  You could have a campaign with 50 keywords and only 30 of them are delivering conversions.  If you removed 5 of the other 20, the campaign could collapse and produce no conversions.  That is because many keywords are “assist” keywords – they keep the leads moving through the funnel, but don’t produce the actual conversion.  We deal with this, and boost performance by using the right click attribution model.  Now, back to those search queries.

What is a “search query” and how is it different from a keyword?

Search queries are the phrases (combinations of words) that are typed into a search engine to look for products, services, and related information.  Keywords are the phrases that reside within ad campaigns that are matched to search queries; we handle the keywords.  What we’re looking for here are the original search query terms that are entered into a search engines.  Inside the campaign there will be a keyword base, which we take care of; the campaign will be matching the search queries to the keywords.

To be crystal clear, this question is about the expected search queries — what you know or believe is likely entered is entered into a search engine (e.g. google.com, bing.com, duckduckgo.com) when someone is researching or interested in qualifying, or purchasing your product or service. You don’t need to be concerned about keywords in the campaign, we are looking for you to show us how your customers think when they look for you.

Think about where the searcher is in the sales cycle.

It may be helpful to think of “high (sales) funnel” (early research phase; looking for reviews, etc), “mid funnel” (more information about product/service), and “low funnel” (close to, or about to make a purchase) queries that might be entered.  If this is a lead generation campaign, e.g. for services then think about low funnel as almost ready to contact your business.

Don’t worry about pulling together all the possible things that might be entered; for example different ordering of the words or plurals.  What we’re more interested in is the root phrases that might be used, and important synonyms; usually phrases that are semantically related – they mean roughly the same thing.  For example, “portable wifi router” and “wireless router battery” are similar root keywords.  Different modifiers might be used with them to turn them into 4 letter keywords.  2 word keywords are often useful, although we may not match to them directly.

Don’t leave out competing brand terms, and your own brand.

Keep in mind that we have tools that allow us to identify all relevant search queries rather quickly, along with information about their frequency of use, average cost per click, etc.  The reason we ask this search query question of clients when starting a search campaign is, we want to know who you see as most significant search queries because you know your business so well.

We may be able to find some valuable “long-tail” search queries when we process your queries, along with our own, through several powerful keyword research tools, and we want the coverage to be as broad as possible.

If there are businesses with similar products but perhaps offer inferior products, or are indirect competitors; resellers/distribution who impact the competitive environment, please let us know the important search queries for those as well.  For example, if your wifi router competes with the zebra wifi router, a market leader then we would want to explore bidding on the keyword zebra router and it’s variation.

Trademark law in PPC.

Even for Trademarked brands, it has been well established by US Courts that the company and brand names can be bid on by PPC accounts, regardless of the fact that they are not the owner of the brand.  It’s just that you cannot use their brand name in the ad copy. If a Trademarked brand has not been proactively registered with Google, you may be able to utilize it in your ads at least for a while, but it’s rarely a good practice and we recommend against it.

If a Trademark is registered with Google (is yours?) or Microsoft, then it becomes impossible for anyone to use it as a stand-alone word (phrase) in a Google or Microsoft campaign – it’s electronically blocked.  Apart from the US Federal Trademark registration, Trademarks need to be specifically registered with the search engines to prevent abuse.  But you can bid on them as much as you want; bidding is hidden, although easy to detect. We have articles pending on this topic.


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