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PPC Keyword Research Made Easy: How to Use Keyword Cupid to Group Your Keywords in Google Ads

Google is pretty much always right.

And it's probably the reason it's the top search engine in the world with such algorithms that even the people who made it don't understand how it works.

We all know Google has one goal only:

To provide the most accurate information to its users.

But Google makes mistakes too.

Especially when it comes to the paid ads section of the SERPs.

Because bidding, you know.

More money, more visibility (no shade).

Umm, but to be completely honest it's more of the advertiser's fault for choosing irrelevant keywords to bid on than Google's fault for displaying unfulfilling information.

Ok, I don't blame the advertisers either.
When you are putting your hard-earned money on paid ads, you want those clicks to come in and for most people, the idea of driving traffic is through very high search volume keywords without giving a second thought to searching intent and how the organic SERPs looks.

Now you ask, how can these poor advertisers bid on intent-based keywords but still have a chance to win those clicks?

Well, there are a few strategies that I'd like to uncover here that will be worth your buck if you know what I mean.

Let's go!

PPC Keyword Research Overview

The simple truth with PPC is if you want to succeed, you need to make sure you're bidding on the right keywords.

The overall keyword research process for PPC includes a few moving parts:

Initial PPC Keyword Research

Collecting a list of relevant keywords representing your business offering in the most accurate and precise way possible.
You can use various tools to come up with the initial list or you can use your existing SEO keyword research file and filter out all the unnecessary variations, if there are any.

Keyword Grouping and Organization

For the most effective accounts structure, you need to prioritize organizing your keywords into small groups of tightly related keywords.

Negative Keywords

Negative keywords are the best way to filter out underperforming keywords that you do not want to be associated with your ads.
It's a great way to adjust your keyword targeting and ultimately create a perfectly targeted campaign.

Bid Optimization

Everyone's budget is limited when it comes to ads, so it's smart to focus on high-value converting keywords instead of paying for useless traffic.
Easier said than done... Bid optimization is arguably one of the hardest areas of PPC; that's why many people prefer the automated approach.

But first, to be clear, this is not a PPC keyword research guide, so don't expect the standard tips of finding the initial keyword in this piece.

I'm going to focus on the rest here because I feel like that's where things get... well, a bit complicated, I'd say.

So, back to the task at hand.

Every search starts with a keyword.

When you type out your question in the search box of your preferred search engine, you get the most relevant and accurate answer to your question, be it paid results or organic.

Each result is displayed because, in the search engine's eyes, they are relevant to your query, so if you want to win that click and you want to take the paid route, you've got to bid on that keyword, right?

Unlike SEO, when you are running a PPC campaign, you generally target keywords that lead to conversion.

This makes the intent of your keywords a bit more clear but not so clear as you might think.

It's believed that organic keywords take users through the top through to the middle of the funnel because of their informational intent, while transactional keywords are for PPC.

While this is very true as it's harder to convert traffic when it's not ready, there's more to this.

It would be best if you nurtured those leads through the different stages of the funnel to get them ready for conversion.

But it doesn't necessarily mean you have to wait around until your audience is at the lower level of your funnel to start adding paid advertising to your marketing mix.

It's actually a better idea to strategically take your potential customers through your funnel with smart ads on different platforms, along with a strong organic search strategy.

You will never go wrong with this combo unless your strategy is flawed, which I cannot do much about.

Funnel Example
Funnel Example

Pro-Tip: Do an in-depth analysis of the paid search engine results and determine how smart advertisers are targeting their funnel stages.
You know, just some inspiration so you can map your own strategy in no time.

How Keyword Groups Affect Your Ad Campaigns

From the title of this article, you already know I'm going to dive into keyword groupings, but you might wonder what keyword groups have to do with your ad campaigns.

A lot, actually.

It's a vastly overlooked strategy, but I always like to run a tight ship when it comes to keywords, PPC and SEO alike.

Having an organized group of related search terms gives such a clear structure and cleaner path for your campaigns to work that it ultimately leads to a better performing account.

Why I hear you ask?

Because each set of keywords you include in an ad group is tied to the same ads, so you really want to be sure they are thematically related and have the same type of intent.

Properly organized keyword groups improve your account's relevance, which raises your Quality Score and lowers your cost per click.

But how?

Google uses two factors to determine Ad Rank for its auction:
  1. Maximum CPC bid for the keyword
  2. Quality Score for the keyword
The bid part is quite simple: the higher you are willing to bid on a single keyword the more chances you have of winning the auction, duh.

But when it comes to your Quality Score it's all about how relevant your ad actually is to your target consumer.

How likely it is that people will find your ad relevant for what they just googled and what are the chances of this resulting in a click?

That's Quality Score in a nutshell.

Generally, Quality Score is based on five determining factors:
  • The relevance of each keyword to its ad group
  • Text ad relevance
  • Click-through rate (CTR) of your text ad
  • Landing page quality
  • Historical Google ad account performance
The more relevant your text ad is, the higher your CTR is going to be, and the more value your landing page offers, the greater the Quality Score for that keyword.

In turn, this will result in a better performance in the auctions and ultimately a higher Ad Rank.

That's it!

How to Create Keyword Groups for a Well-Structured Paid Account

Now that we've figured out how important keyword grouping is for pay-per-click campaigns let's get on with creating our groups.

First things first top-level keyword groups.

Aka, make sense of the jumbled mess your keyword list is.

If you have already done your initial keyword research, (which if you haven't, who are you waiting for) you most certainly have a good number of keywords that relate to your business offering, but from the first glance, you do realize it's a bit much so it needs to a bit of cutting down and trimming.

The thing with keywords is, when you are choosing them to target for SEO purposes, you can have as many as your heart desires (just kidding), but with PPC you are in a tighter space because each keyword that gets a click hits your pocket.

So you must be careful with your choices.

As with your website, it's an excellent idea to have a certain structure for your ad accounts, especially when running ads on different offerings that require vastly different campaigns and budgets.

The idea here to create some top-level ad groups and branch those out to more specific, smaller ad groups for a hierarchy-based account structure.

PPC Account
PPC Account

Think of your top-level ad keywords as head terms from your keyword research file.

One or two-word broad keywords with very high search volume and a healthy amount of competition along with it.

Understandably some advertisers want to bid on high volume broad keywords to drive as many clicks as possible, and while I do understand the reasoning behind it, it doesn't always work out as well as they thought.

There are certain industries where the competition for broad keywords is way too high for smaller budget campaigns to have a chance of survival, or the conversion rate is too low for the amount of ad spend, and so on.

That's why it's so important not to put all of your eggs in one basket and start diversifying your targeting.

When you have a healthy account structure with various ad groups that target different types of keywords, you are in for the win.

Imagine one of your broad target keywords flops.

You spend way too much on each click and the conversion rate is sh!t.

This is what happens with most advertisers so they decide to give up.

But chances are you are just not targeting the right keywords for your business.

Imagine a smartphone accessories e-commerce store that sells a specific type of iPhone case that's made of Alcantara.

Now question to you.

Should this advertiser target the keyword iPhone cases?

Or Alcantara iPhone cases plus its many more variations?


Why do I say that?

Ideally, you'd want to target keywords that have enough search volume to drive clicks but are targeted enough to drive conversions.

If the advertiser has the budget to compete with big-name brands or is a big-name brand itself, it's worth a shot.

At least he is not targeting 'cases'.

But if the advertiser is on a bit of a tighter budget and wants very targeted traffic to his page then the long-tail keyword is the way to go.

Yes, there are going to be a whole lot fewer clicks but the ROAS will be ๐Ÿ”ฅ.

All in all, any advertising campaign be it Google ads, social media ads, amazon ads, etc. needs constant monitoring and analysis.

There is no right or wrong answer for targeting certain types of search terms because each business is different and each niche is different.

The trick is in trying different types of campaigns, and filtering them out until the best-performing ones are left.

A/B testing is your friend here:
play around with your ad copy, with keyword variations, with negative keyword targeting, with match types, with bidding and many other things.

Test, test, test and filter, filter, filter.

That's honestly the best advice you are going to get.

Coming from someone who has run numerous different niche campaigns with varying budgets on different platforms.

How Many Keywords Per Ad Group?

When it comes to keyword grouping, there's one question that's on everyone's mind.

How many keywords should I put in each ad group?

Umm, it depends.

I'm not trying to Muller you here ๐Ÿ˜‚
(and yes, 'Muller' is a verb, that describes skirting around questions that don't have clear answers)

But there is no magic number.

A general rule of thumb for each keyword group is anywhere between 5-15 keywords that can go up to 20.

Some people say that ad groups that target over 20 keywords lose relevance but there are very successful accounts that target more than 50 in each one.

Hell, I've had accounts where I targeted around 100 keywords because there were that many variations.

I mean, you've got to do what you've got to do.

On the flip side, we have SKAGs (Single Keyword Ad Groups).

There was a time when I was a strong advocate for this strategy because it made sense and it really worked for the industry I was testing it on.

But as with every strategy, there is no one size fits all.

It's a very nice concept and might work wonders for you, but it's not for everyone.

To be honest, I would recommend trying out a mix of single keyword-targeted ad groups and multiple keyword targeted ones.

I've come to the realization that everything needs to be tested before scratching it off.

Run a few mixed campaigns for a short while and analyze the results and adjust accordingly.

There is no perfect set number of keywords in each ad group or a set number of ad groups in each campaign.

Test it before you next to it.

Pro-Tip: When setting up your ad groups, especially with SKAGs, don't forget to include all three of the match types for the best results possible.

How Do We Properly Group Those Keywords for PPC

There's a good chance people are searching for your products or services with terms you haven't discovered and probably never will.

Let's be honest for a minute, there are keyword variations beyond our wildest imagination, and our poor brain (or any tool for that matter) can't predict how other people will search.

But Google is actually quite smart and has figured out a way to recognize the semantic connection between keywords.

And this has made its search results (both organic and paid) so much more accurate.

That's why when you are researching for PPC, don't overlook the organic search results.

It is a bit obvious, but if Google actually displays these results organically for a specific search, that's got to mean they are doing something right.

Or G just likes them.

But seriously, what is a better way to tell if Google finds certain keywords relevant than by directly looking at the search?

SERP analysis, yay!

So imagine analyzing every single SERP for the countless keywords you have to filter out the most relevant ones in order to group them together.

That's a whole lot of manual work that will take you forever.

Oh no, what can we do now?

Machine learning comes to our rescue.

By now, you are all very well familiar with Keyword Cupid and how amazing it is, so let's cut to the chase.

With Keyword Cupid, you have the opportunity to rest easy and have all of those SERPs scraped and not just the first ten results.

No, we are not joking around here.

More like 5-10 pages.

Afterward, you are presented with an interactive visual mindmap that tells you exactly which set of keywords are semantically related to each other, according to our friend Google here.

Keyword Cupid Mindmap
Keyword Cupid Mindmap

The tool breaks down your huge keyword list into digestible groups of tightly related terms, which are in turn broken down into smaller groups forming a nice hierarchy.

The only thing left to do is export all of that data to an Excel sheet and start creating your ad groups.

Plus, the tool has other very cool features that will make your life so much easier to create your landing pages.

Keyword Cupid not only analyzes the SERPs for clustering keywords but also for writing the best-performing copy that's optimized to the nines.

So you have data on the average length of the page, the average amount of subheadings, the number of contextual outbound links, the number of images and a lot more.

If you are interested to learn more about how Keyword Cupid works and all of its awesome features, head over to our full-on guide on how to use KC.

Final Words

That's pretty much it.

I hope you enjoyed the ride.

PPC keyword research can be a lot to deal with sometimes, especially when you have to count in the competitive landscape, search intent, the organic search, your budget, and many other factors when choosing the perfect keywords to run ads on.

But having a well-structured account with targeted keyword groups can be the easiest way to a successful paid ads campaign that works like a well-oiled machine.

And don't forget to try out Keyword Cupid and see its awesome features in action.

Jump on a 7-day-trial right and test out the best keyword clustering tool there is.

See you in the next one!

Jasmine Melikyan

Jasmine is a digital marketer with an avid passion for content creation, SEO, and the newest technological advances. She loves creating engaging content and scaling start-ups through creative growth strategies.

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