As a small business owner, online advertising can seem like an intimidating and overwhelming undertaking, especially if you lack experience. There are several things you need to understand in order for your Google Ads to work — including keywords.
Understanding the different types of keywords used in Google Ads is vital to getting the most out of your marketing campaigns. If you don’t use the right kind of keywords, you can easily miss out on valuable customers, or just throw money away on ads that are never going to get seen.
Fortunately, with a little know-how, you can make sure all your advertising dollars are well spent! And that’s where we come in. We’ll discuss everything there is to know about keywords and what role they play in your ads.
What are Keywords?
As a small business owner who is new to advertising online, it’s essential to understand what keywords are and how they work in Google Ads. By choosing the right keywords, you can create effective ads that drive real results for your business.
Keywords refer to the words or phrases that users key-in to search engines when they’re looking for something specific. Google shows your ad to people who are searching for the keywords you picked. For example, if you own a bakery and choose the keyword “freshly baked bread,” your ad will appear when someone searches for that phrase on the search engine.
If you want to get the most bang for your buck with your Google Ads campaign, it pays off to put some thought into the keywords you’re choosing. Think of them as ammunition for your Google Ads Plan; if you choose too generic ones, you may end up shooting blanks — and that’s an awful waste of resources!
Instead, aim for more specific words to help ensure your ad reaches the people it should and heighten your chances of getting those elusive conversions. Remember: max relevance matters when it comes to keywords!
Different Types of Keywords
Keywords are the building blocks for your Google Ads campaigns, and these can be sorted into various categories — depending on how they are to be used. Each category has different subcategories under them. Let’s talk about them all.
Types of Keywords Based on Match
Match types help search engines understand the exact way the keyword should be used in the context of a website or an ad campaign. The main difference between this category and others is that this one uses specific syntax when being applied to Google Ads.
There are five different keyword match types that can help refine searches to generate relevant ad results for users. The types of keyword matches are:
Broad Match Keyword
This can offer more results than other match types, helping you gain more viewers. The syntax is just the plain keyword phrase. When used, your ad will appear in search queries that include all the words in your keyword phrase, regardless of the order.
For example: ‘surround sound speaker’; may appear in searches like this: ‘speaker that is surround sound,’ ‘cheap surround sound speaker,’ ‘speaker surround sound sale’.
Note: The broad match type has been discontinued in 2021.
Exact match keyword targeting is one of the most popular keyword match types that makes sure your ad campaigns are as precise as possible. With this approach, when a user searches for your exact keyword or a very close variation of it (such as a singular or plural variant), only then will your ad show up. Searches in the wrong order will not trigger your ad.
To use exact match, brackets must enclose your keywords like this: [surround sound speaker]. This will result in your ad showing up in searches for ‘surround sound speaker’ and ‘surround sound speakers’.
If you’re looking to target more specific searches, phrase match might just be your best bet. A phrase match keyword will surface results in queries that have the same meaning or even more specific variations of it.
Your phrase match keyword won’t be interrupted by added words either; all you need is to put the word(s) in quotes — “keyword.” With this type of keyword-based strategy, if your Google ads keyword phrase is “surround sound speaker”, your ad could show up with queries such as ‘JBL surround sound speaker’, ‘Bose surround sound speaker’, and even ‘surround sound speaker sale’.
Modified Broad Match
By using this Google ads keyword type, your ads will be triggered when the words of your search query are present — or if a similar variation of them is there. When being used, you must place the plus sign (+) next to each word.
Your ad will be triggered when all words (or variations of them) are mentioned in the search, regardless of the order — giving you highly targeted and relevant ads.
The syntax for our example would be like this: +surround +sound +speaker. This will trigger queries such as ‘cheap surround sound speaker’, ‘speaker surround sound near me’, and ‘surround sound speakers sale’.
Negative keywords stand out because rather than targeting additional searches like the other four types, it eliminates any search queries that are not particularly pertinent to your business goals.
By adding a ‘-‘ symbol before the negative match keyword, you can achieve more accurate search results. Negative keyword match types help keep irrelevant searches from displaying your ad. An example of how to use negative matching would be like this: ‘surround sound speaker -JBL’.
This will trigger ads the mention surround sound speaker, except those that also include JBL in the search.
Type of Keywords Based on Relevance
Not all keywords are created equal. Understanding the type of keywords based on relevance is key to developing a successful advanced keyword strategy for your small business.
Depending on how important the keywords are to you, there are four types:
These are keywords that include the name of your brand and any trademarked terms associated with the business. By using the company name or trademarked terms associated with the business, branded keywords make it easier for prospective customers to find your products or services through search engines quickly.
For example: Bose Surround Sound Speaker
Generic keywords don’t require a brand; instead, they focus on the keywords that best identify what your product is and what words people will most likely use to search it. Leveraging this type of keyword can help attract potential customers more effectively since the focus is placed on the relevance of the product and not the exact company.
For example: Surround Sound Speaker
Also known as similar keywords, these are words and phrases that may not be the exact items you had in mind for a Google Ads search advertisement but could still hold some relevance to it.
This type of keyword helps create more diverse search results with unique opportunities rather than limiting your options from the get-go.
For example: Surround Sound Speaker Stand
Competitor keywords simply mean entering the brand names of other companies which are competing with you in the same space. This ensures that when those businesses’ potential customers search for their brand name, they also see your ad alongside it.
Relevant keywords from competitors allow potential customers to consider both brands while making their purchasing decisions. Thus, providing an opportunity to convert those leads into paying customers instead of missing out on them altogether.
For example: JBL Surround Sound Speaker
Types of Keywords Based on Length
Have you ever noticed that the more information you type in search engines, the higher the accuracy of the results? The same applies for Google Search Ads. The broader the keyword, the shorter they are. And the shorter they are, the less relevant they become.
Let’s discuss these keyword types even further:
Short tail keywords are search terms that consist of only one or two words. They’re also known as “head” or “generic” keywords, and they typically have a high search volume and broad appeal. Examples of short tail keywords include “speaker,” “pizza,” or “travel.”
Because these types of keywords are so general, they tend to be highly competitive in the world of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. This means they often require a higher bid amount in PPC advertising auctions.
While short-tail keywords may seem like an attractive option due to their high search volume, there are some drawbacks to using them exclusively. Because they’re so broad, they may not accurately reflect the intent behind a user’s search query. For example, someone searching for “speakers” could be looking for anything from portable speakers to home theater speakers.
Additionally, because short-tail keywords are so competitive, it can be difficult to stand out from other businesses using the same keywords. This is especially true for small businesses with limited budgets who may not be able to afford the high cost per click associated with these types of keywords.
Despite these challenges, short-tail keywords can still play an important role in your overall PPC strategy. They can help increase brand visibility and drive traffic to your website if used strategically alongside more specific long-tail keywords.
If you’re looking for a Goldilocks solution to your keyword search strategy, then mid-tail keywords might just be the perfect choice. Not too long, not too short — they sit snugly between long-tail and short-tail keywords and offer the best of both worlds.
Generally speaking, mid-tail terms are made up of two or three words and tend to be more specific than the more general short-tail options out there but still benefit from higher search volumes than their longer counterparts. The beauty of these phrases is that they often have a lower competition rate which presents a great opportunity.
For example, if you’re running an online store that sells speakers, a short-tail keyword might be “speaker,” while a long-tail keyword could be “cinematic surround sound speaker with bluetooth.” A mid-tail keyword for this business might be “surround sound speaker” or “Bluetooth surround sound speakers.”
Long-tail keywords are a type of keyword that consists of four or more words and are highly specific in nature. They typically have lower search volume compared to short-tail keywords but can be incredibly valuable for businesses as they tend to attract more qualified leads.
Long-tail keywords often reflect the intent of the searcher, meaning that they are more likely to convert into customers. For example, someone searching for “surround sound speaker” could be looking for general information on running shoes, whereas someone searching for “cinematic surround sound speaker with bluetooth” is likely looking to make a purchase.
By targeting specific long-tail keywords in your ads, businesses can ensure that their ads are shown to people who are actively looking for products or services related to their business. While it may mean lower traffic volume, it also means lower costs, higher conversion rates, and better return on investment (ROI).
Types of Keywords Based on Seach Intent
The success of a keyword strategy often depends on understanding the different types of keywords based on search intent. When we say intent, it’s the very reason users are even searching for something.
By identifying and targeting keywords that match user intent, businesses can drive more targeted traffic to their website or deliver calls to their number, thereby improving their chances of converting leads into customers.
So when choosing keywords, make sure you understand which intent they fall under:
Informational keywords are specific words or phrases that users key-in search for information on a particular topic. These keywords are often used in Google Ads search campaigns to target potential clients who are looking for more information about a product, service, or industry, but are not in the purchasing mode.
For example, if someone is interested in buying a new car, they might start by searching for “best cars of 2021” or “car reviews.” These searches are considered informational because the person is looking for general information rather than trying to make a purchase right away.
Using informational keywords in Google Ads can be an effective way to reach potential customers at the beginning of their buying journey.
Commercial keywords are specific words or key phrase that are used in Google Ads campaigns to target potential clients who are actively searching for products or services related to a business.
These keywords typically have a high search volume and indicate commercial intent, meaning the searcher is looking to make a purchase. If we refer to search keywords by relevance, this encompasses branded keywords and competitor keywords.
Transactional keywords are a type of keyword used in Google Ads that target users who are ready to make a purchase or take a specific action.
These keywords are highly specific and usually include words like “buy,” “order,” or “download.” Sometimes, it may even include “phone number” for those intending to call businesses and “address” for those intending to visit physically. They’re designed to attract users who are actively searching for a product or service and are more likely to convert into customers.
Transactional keywords can be extremely effective in driving conversions and sales, but it’s important to use them strategically.
For example, if you’re selling shoes online, targeting the keyword “surround sound speakers on sale” is likely to be more effective than targeting an informational keyword like “how surround sound speakers work .” This is because users searching for specific products with transactional intent are often further along in the buying process and more likely to make a purchase.
Location-based keywords are a great way for small businesses to get their ads in front of local customers. Specifically, when you set up location-based keywords in Google Ads, your ad is shown to those who search for something related to the keyword and who are located within a particular area.
For instance, if you have a plumbing business based in Houston, you could use ‘plumber in Houston’ as your location keyword. That way, whenever someone does an online search for a plumber in your city, there’s a good chance that your ad will be served up as one of the top options.
Not only does this increase the visibility of your business and services, but it also increases the chances of conversions since the people searching are not just interested in what you offer — there is already a need for your service!
Now, why would you use location-based keywords when you can simply set a radius for searches within a specific area when targeting? The answer is simple: because users still actively input these keywords when searching for local businesses online.
They can’t help it — it’s in their nature when searching online! So make sure to include these keywords to capture local customers that are ready to purchase or accept a service.
In the world of search engine marketing, keywords can either make or break your success. Whether it’s branded keyword phrases, long-tail terms that are specific to your service, or strictly exact match queries, it’s important to analyze and optimize your keyword choices. Doing so helps attract more of the right customers and improve visibility in the SERPs.
But don’t forget about keyword intent when selecting them — consider how consumers may be using these terms in order to target those who should actually be looking for you. Once you combine all of this understanding into a strong keyword research plan, you’ll feel confident that your ad campaigns are optimally crafted for success.
If you’re still confused about researching keywords, Braxy can make it easier for you! All you need to do is input initial key phrases, choose the relevant industry and competitors, and our AI will help you find relevant keywords for your ads. Book a demo today to see how it works.