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Friday, June 12, 2009

PPC Keyword Research | Long Tail Keywords | Buying Cycle | For PPC Campaigner | Adwords

Goal /SWOT analysis, Keywords generation, Ad creative writing and Web analysis are four vital stages in a PPC campaign. In my opinion, the Pay Per Click skill SEM elites use at these four stages can be very critical for a job seeker in landing his/her targeted job. In this series, I am going to demonstrate the some critical techniques SEM specialists can use to maximize their PPC campaign performance in these four stages and demonstrate how a job seeker can apply the same skills in their job search process to enhance their job search campaign. At first, this article focuses on Goal/SWOT analysis & Keywords Generation.

Goal/SWOT analysis

Goal & SWOT analyses compliment each other. A company develops its feasible goal based on SWOT Analysis for its product and Unique Sales Proposition (USP). For example, after a SWOT analysis, the target market for a high-end cell phone may be a group of  the high-income by featuring the USP as a “Mobile Secretary” or “Mobile Information Center.”.

To monitor campaign performance, one may institution the campaign'sKey Performance Indicators (KPI) based on its buying cycle. Based on the above example, the KPI in different stages can be identified as follows:

Awareness: The number of site visits. New visits. Web search activities about the products (e.g. keywords used to find the product and the search frequency).

Research: returning visits, length and depth of visit, recency.

Comparison: product white paper downloads, number of products and accessories added to shopping cart.
Conversion: number of purchase within product website and through affiliate websites.
Job seekers can use the same techniques to sell themselves as a product. For example, after a SWOT analysis, the targeted employer of a bilingual (English and Spanish speaking) secretary might be an international corporation with the target market inboth North and South America. The USP can be “Bilingual secretary with college degree and business major”.

To monitor campaign performance, one may institution his/her campaign KPI based on his/her potential employers’ “buying cycle”. Based on the above example, the KPI in different stages can be identified as follows:

Awareness: number of new visits to an online resume. Keywords used to find the online resume and the corresponding search frequency for each keyword.

Research: returning visits, length and depth of visit, visit recency for an online resume.

Comparison: email received for inquiries, appointments received, etc.
Conversion:Job offer received.
Through an effective SWOT analysis, Goal identification and KPI implementation, PPC campaign managers or job seekers can have better control on their campaign performance and adjust their campaign strategies accordingly.

Keywords Generation

A PPC campaign may use the Market and product niche to power the keywords pool and target long-tail keywords improve ROI or ROAS strategically, and expand the keywords scope through search query reports. This section illustrates how to use long-tail keywords, brand variations and product features based on buying cycles, singulars, plurals, acronyms, root phrases, and misspellings to generate a Seed Keywords List (SKL) and related keywords strategies. Based on SKL, the PPC campaigners are able to build an extensive keywords pool through keyword generation tools (e.g. Google keywords tool, Wordtracker, Overture keywords tool, etc) for related ad groups.

Long-tail keywords

Coined by Chris Anderson, Long-tail concept describes a marketing tactic of targeting less-competitive niche keywords instead of highly competitive broad terms. Collectively, long tail keywords may bring highly-targeted traffic with less cost and thus increase the campaign ROI. Long tail keywords are multi-word keywords that are very specific. Because long tail keywords are very specific and have more qualifiers than single keywords, they tend to drive lower traffic volume. However, collectively these highly specific keywords can result in a huge amount of traffic. In additions, they tend to have higher CTR. Therefore, they are able to reduce CPC, and result in higher conversion rate, and ultimately, generate higher ROI than generic single keywords.

People generate long-tail keywords in various way based on different criteria. However, this article demonstrates the long tail keywords creation based onbuying cycle, product features, and geographical factors, and personal qualifications. Please note that This article demonstrates only the concepts of the long-tailed while the search volume and amount of competitions may vary . Please note also that the length of the keywords can be adjusted at personal discretion.

Buying cycle

Long tail keywords generated base on a buying cycle (awareness, research, comparison & conversion) are illustrated as follows:


Keywords: Computer

Target Consumer’s frame of mind: Aware of the need and the existence of the product.


Keywords: Laptop computer.

Target Consumer’s Frame of Mind: Looking for product information, based on the needs.


Keywords: Acer Laptop computer.

Target Consumer’s Frame of Mind: Comparing purchase options based on prices, after-service, brand reputation, etc.


Keywords (Long tail keywords): Acer Laptop computer Model XYZ.

Target Consumer’s Frame of Mind: Final decision about the purchase.

Product Features

Long tail keywords generated based on product features (Auto type, make, model, trims, transmission, color, & engine) are illustrated as follows:

Example 1:

Auto Type: Sedan. Make: Toyota. Model: Camry. Trims: LE. Transmissions: Automatics. Color: Blue. Engine: 4-cly, 2.4 L.

Long tail keywords: Toyota Sedan Camry LE Trim. Toyota Sedan Blue Automatic, etc.

Example 2:

Auto Type: SUV. Make: Honda. Model: CR-V. Trims: EX. Transmissions: Automatics. Color: Black. Engine: 4-cly, VTEC, 2.4L, 2-WD.

Long tail keywords: Honda CR-V EX Automatic. Honda CR-V VETC 2-WD, etc.

Geographical factors

Long tail keywords generated based on the mix of geographical factors and lodging type are illustrated as follows:

Example 1:

State: Florida. Metro Area: Orlando. Lodging Type: Hotel.

Long tail keywords: Orlando Florida Hotel.

Example 2:

State: Illinois. Metro Area: Chicago. Lodging Type: Inn.

Long tail keywords: Chicago Illinois Inn.

Personal qualifications

Job seekers may consider generating long tail keywords based on their personal qualification and locations. Examples are list as follows:

Example 1:

Location: Florida. Job: Programmer. Education: Bachelors’. Major: Computer Science. Year of Experience: 4.

Long tail keywords: Florida programmer Bachelors Degree 4-year experience.

Example 2:

Location: Illinois. Job: Marketing Manager. Education: MBA’. Major: Marketing. Year of Experience: 5.

Long tail keywords: Illinois marketing manager MBA degree 5-year experience.


Always include both singular and plurals of a keyword for better coverage of keyword base, such as car vs. cars & programmer vs. programmers.


An acronym is a single words consisting of the first letters of several words, such as SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threats), and DBA (Database administrator).
Subject matter experts in a field may more likely search by acronym. Acronym is an effective source to expand your keywords pool.

Root phrases

Assisted by keyword research tool, root words are effective source to generated long-tail keywords. For example, using ‘adaptor” as root keyword, one can generate root phrases as follows:

Power supply adaptor
Power cord adaptor
Universal A/C adaptor


As internet searchers may be in a rush when performing their search. Typos are good keywords to bid on. They make your ads standing out on these search queries. For example, some popular typos for the word “marketing” can be markting, marketiing, etc.

Tools for keywords generation

Various keywords tools are available on the market for consideration. The following are some of my suggestions:

Typo generator:

Keyword discovery:
Google keyword tool:
Google Zeitgeist:
Google Search-Based Keywords tool:
Google Suggest Scraper tool:

Keyword strategy

I would recommend a couple of essential keywords strategies as follows:

  • Consider to expand Keyword pool by referencing the glossaries and index of keyword-rich Journals or books.
  • Use standard or exact match for single keywords. Use broad or advance match multi-word keywords, while identifying keywords for negative matches for better CTR.
  • Increase sale volume by running PPC ads alongside the organic results for brand keyword queries.
  • Use keyword typo generation tool to expend keyword pool with popular misspellings and typos for different typo variations (e.g. double letters, reverse letters, etc).
  • Check the keywords used by your competitors through the Meta tags on their websites.
  • If you are using wordtracker, be aware that KEI is only for reference as KEI is only the reflection of the frequency of keywords that shows up in Wordtracker’s database against the competing pages. Only the keywords with significant counts are useful, although generally a keyword with a KEI over 100 is considered good to target at. A keyword with a KEI over 400 is considered outstanding.
  • Use Google keyword selection tools to estimate possible traffic and ad position to adjust your keywords bidding strategy.
  • If you are a job seeker, you can use the above keyword generation tools and tactics to generate your keywords pool based on your qualification, job description, etc. The tactical way to implement it is to create a keyword summary section in your e-resume where you can include all your keywords. By doing so, your resume is more likely to stand out of the rest for recruiter’s search query to their resume database.


A competitive PPC or job search campaign always starts with an effective and feasible goal identification based on a comprehensive SWOT analysis. Keywords Generation is the foundation of a PPC and Job search campaign. Seed Keyword list can be conducted through buying-cycle, product feature, geographical factors, personal qualification, etc. With the assistance of keywords tool as mentioned, one can effectively expand his/her keywords pool. For PPC campaigner, consider using standard or exact match for single-word keywords and use broad or advance match multi-term keywords, while identifying keywords for negative matches and increasing sales volume by running PPC ads along with organic results for branded keyword queries. For job seekers, consider creating a section of a targeted keyword-summary in your resume to stand out of the rest of the resume corresponding to the recruiters’ search query to their resume database. In next section, we will talk about the tactics about Ad creation.

Stay tuned!

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