How To Build Your Basic Keywords List

Finding the right keywords is vital. This is where one can tell whether your AdWords™ campaign has any chances to succeed or not. This article offers you the basics in building your broad keywords list.

If you already have an AdWords™ account, you may remember that the program requested you to first create the ad and only afterwards select your keywords. Practice has proven that things work out better the other way around.

In our previous section we were saying that it is still important to have your account running before brainstorming for keywords, because it is the only way you can have access to the traffic estimator tool — that will be quite indispensable in keyword tracking. The solution is to set only one ad group, have the account created and come back after you've created your keywords list.

What's a Keyword and Why Is It Important?
Understanding how keywords work is the most important step in using Google AdWords™. Simply put, a “keyword” is actually a phrase that the user types in a search box. But why would the user do that?

Sometimes, analyzing what people type in search boxes, there's no way to tell why they do it, or what they are looking for. Why would someone search the letter “a”? Or “m”? These letters are among the most frequently searched terms on the web. But the truth is, there's always a reason. Usually the search term represents a wish, a need, a desire, a curiosity expressed in one to several-word phrases.

Why Is It Important to Know How People Search?
The bottom line for any online business is giving people exactly what they search for, as an extension to giving them what they want in the real world. That is how a search engine “thinks”. Through keywords you can find out what people want.

Keyword research is important because it tells you: people express their desires and interests on the web many people search for the same thing

the two numbers to approximate your target market.

Brainstorming for Keywords

The easiest way to start is to write down all the phrases you can think of, that relate to your business. Don't exclude anything, on any reason.

Don't stop at this point, because the trap is to find phrases that your prospects would never search because they don't know your business from inside, like you do. On the other hand, you could be missing exactly the keywords that most people would search — the common ones.

When creating your gross list of keywords, use the following methods:

* word stemming (espresso, nespresso, etc.)
* write both plurals and singulars (espresso machine, espresso machines);
* discover synonyms (espresso maker, espresso brewer);
* figure out the most common misspellings (expresso, expreso, etc.)
* figure out different punctuations (espresso machine, espresso-machine, etc.)
* do not limit your search to one word phrases; find two word phrases, three word phrases, etc;
* think about specific problems that can appear related to your business; use them as keywords (espresso machine repair).
You can find more details about these methods here

How many keywords do you need? At this stage, you need all the keywords you can find. Follow the basic rules of a brainstorming session and give all the keywords their own chance. Usually, a list of several hundred keywords is considered a good start. Remember that in the end you'll only choose a fraction of them; also, you'll probably figure out brand-new keywords on the way.

Keyword Research Tools
Figuring out the keywords list by yourself is OK, as long as you have enough time for a long trial and error process. A better way is to use keyword-research tools right from the start. The advantage is that you have access to real-time statistics like:

* related terms that people search
* keyword popularity — how many people search the same phrase
* competition search — how many sites compete for the same keyword

AdWords™ has a Keyword Suggestion Tool, but it doesn't indicate the popularity count of each search phrase. But use it anyway, because it's free and at this point any suggestions are really helpful.

Overture's Inventory is another tool you can use. Although it's free, it has some limitations, too:

* it doesn't distinguish among singulars and plurals
* does not use word stemming, counting words from the same family as one and the same
* counts correct and misspelled keywords together

The most widely used service in the industry and by far the best keyword tool around is WordTracker. Most serious advertisers use it with great results. They have a flexible pricing policy, starting as low as $6, so we strongly recommend you to give it a try, if you can afford it. It will make a huge difference.

If you use SiteBuildIt, you can benefit from its own keyword generator, which is quite good.

The Basic Keywords List Is Ready. Now What?
Join all the keywords you've found in one place. We suggest a spreadsheet, because it's easier to manage and you can use additional fields.

The next thing is to figure out which keywords you rule out, and group the remaining ones into clusters. Most probably you'll want to create a campaign for each cluster (group), so this is a very important step. Actually, this is the subject of our next thread: how to plan your AdWords™ campaign (the smart way).

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