When you start a new AdWords campaign do you choose your keywords and then let Google do the rest? One of the most important (and overlooked) parts of AdWords management is regular keyword research. You could be missing out on hundreds or thousands of clicks if you aren’t updating your list. There’s no shortage of ways to find new keywords, so I’ll highlight a few for you in this post.

Google’s Keyword Tool

The built-in AdWords Keyword tool is a simple and fast way to highlight keywords for your campaigns. Simply type in a few keywords that you’re already using and make sure they’re related or your results will be too broad; work through one targeted ad group at a time. Google will generate a list of keywords you could use, give you an estimated click-per-cost (CPC) and tell you the number of searches which use the term each month. If you want to target a specific country you can use the advanced options in the Keyword Tool to select languages and devices.

Use Your Website

This should be the first place you look for keywords when you begin your pay-per-click (PPC) campaign, but it’s a good idea to take a second look later. If you update the content on your website regularly, you’ll probably find terms on your site that you want to be searched under and aren’t using.

Use All Match Types

The easiest way to triple the number of keywords you have is to use ‘phrase’ and ‘exact’ matches, in addition to the traditional broad match. This keyword wrapping tool makes this easy; just copy and paste your keyword list then wrap your words up. You can then copy and paste the ‘phrase’ and ‘exact’ matches back into your keyword list. Why are these match types helpful? ‘Phrase’ matches only trigger your ad if the searcher uses the right combination of words in their query. ‘Exact’ matches trigger the ad if the searcher uses that precise keyword.

For instance, ‘men’s cowboy boots’ is your keyword term:

As a broad match a query like, ‘boots’ or ‘cowboy’ could theoretically trigger your ad.

As a phrase match, ‘size 11, men’s cowboy boots’ or ‘brown, men’s cowboy boots’ could trigger it.

As an exact match, only ‘men’s cowboy boots’ will trigger your ad.

Implement Negative Keywords

When you run a search query report (you run those regularly, right?) you’ll probably see that you’re getting clicks from people who aren’t necessarily searching for what you’re offering. One great element of AdWords is that it lets you turn those search queries into negative keywords. In other words, you can ensure those keywords never trigger your ads again. Using the cowboy boot example, if your boot store only sells men’s cowboy boots, you should make ‘women’s cowboy boots’ a negative keyword. Take some time to think about some search queries that might unintentionally bring up your ads and then turn them into negative keywords. This is really important because you pay for every click on your ad, whether it’s what the searcher is looking for or not.

Remember that keyword research isn’t a one-time affair. To be the best advertiser possible you need to analyze your approach and innovate as much and as often as possible.

Trace Ronning is the social media coordinator for WordWatch. WordWatch are dedicated to delivering excellent AdWords management to small businesses everywhere. You can follow him on Twitter @WordWatchPPC.