Everything Keywords

This week Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro) hosts PPCChat with another great question set titled “Everything Keywords.” The following is the transcribed Streamcap from the live chat:

Q1: How have your keyword research tactics changed over the years (if they have at all)?

  • The research tactics haven’t changed much – but the tools have. – Mike Crimmins (@mikecrimmins)
  • Replacing phrase match with broad match modified keywords has been one of the biggest changes. – Jeremy Krantz (@JeremyKrantz)
  • It’s been since BMM came out. Best keyword research tool. – Michael Fleming (@SEMFlem)
  • I don’t spend as much time upfront researching all of the keyword variations…I let broad modifier do that for me. – Matt Umbro
  • It’s started to incorporate more competitor research tools (digging answerthepublic.com currently), BMM, and DSA! – Gil Hong (@_GilHong)
  • Use more long-tailed tools like Google’s autocomplete or UberSuggest to see what people are actually searching for. – Joe Martinez (@MilwaukeePPC)
  • I may be in the minority here, but I like how the Adwords KW tool now creates ad groups for us. Helpful. Also, we now have to account for voice search. Didn’t exist in 2002 when I started doing KW research. – Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
  • BMM, DSA and starting simple and building from data instead of trying to do it all pre-launch. – Kyle Crocker (@kacrocker)
  • Yes, keyword research tactics have changed a bit over the last few years, specifically keyword granularity & more focused. Also using different tools besides just Keyword Planner. – Heidi Smith (@heidinksmith)
  • I probably do less. Google has really strangled the ability to be creative with keywords. – Steve Gibson (@stevegibsonppc)
  • I use more tools for initial keyword research than I did when I started. e.g., Ubersuggest, Moz KW Explorer, Fiverr, KW Planner. Low Search Volume LSV term flags seems to have increased over the years. I focus less on ALL THE LONGTAILS, too. – Kirk Williams (@PPCKirk)
  • I tend to focus a lot more heavily on learning from the data I get vs. expecting up-front kw research to carry a campaign. – Timothy Jensen (@timothyjjensen)
  • Agreed. I also love Answer the public. Although that is more for organic than PPC. – Steve Slater (@TheSteve_Slater)
  • The problem I have is finding the terms that aren’t as mainstream. For example, industry jargon that a SQR or BMM might not pick up. – Matt Umbro
  • Hasn’t really changed much, but modified broad allows for a more safe net casting. – Alberto Merola (@AlbertoMerola)
  • I use more BMM for discovery–always looking for that one, great kw. – Theresa Zook (@I_Marketer)
  • I also like to look at the top keywords that competitors spend on for each theme. If they’re spending on it. – Michael Fleming
  • I try to use a wider variety of tools and run more competitor analysis pulling keywords mapped to them. – Orlando Valencia (@ValenciaSEM)
  • I tend to use BM do a bit more research more me than I before it was out. – Kurt Henninger (@KurtHenninger)
  • I use tools like Übersuggest & Keyword Tool Dominator during initial research, to weed out negatives from the get go. – Mary Hartman (@PPCHartman)

Q2: Do you generally set keyword level final URLs? Why or why not?

  • Hell no. Way too much work for enterprise accounts. If a KW needs its own URL, it goes into its own ad group. – Melissa Mackey
  • Never. They’re the work of the devil. – Steve Gibson
  • Very rarely. Most of the time the ad group is tight enough that a single landing page works. – Kyle Crocker
  • Not usually. If the keyword is important enough it’ll usually get it’s own adgroup. – Gil Hong
  • Rarely find reason to. Occasionally for VERY specific product/service and low volume keyword. – Timothy Jensen
  • No. If the keyword is that different, it should have it’s own ad group and ad set anyway. – Joe Martinez
  • Very rarely…I will if I’m uploading 1000s of SKUs that will receive few impressions and only need generic ad. – Matt Umbro
  • Depends on a client’s tracking as well as the CRMs in place. 90% of the time I would say no. – Jeremy Krantz
  • Did not see the value here. Recently I’ve found it improves QS. Easy to do with AdWords editor. – Steve Slater
  • I do, especially with brand campaigns for ecom clients. At least until it needs it’s own ad group. – Mike Crimmins
  • I’ve never had the occasion as I prefer to do highly specific adgroup with a single keyword. – Lucile Fauquet (@brehlux)
  • No. It adds a level of complication to ad perf analysis. If a kw needs a diff URL, I put it in a different Ad Group. – Theresa Zook
  • But I have used KW specific URLs to do dynamic KW insertion on landing page titles/headers to align with the search. – Kyle Crocker
  • I had a client w/ KW level URLs once- They sold vinyl records. It worked ok for 1000s of specific album & artist searches. – Mary Hartman
  • If you’re using a bid tool, you’re using keyword-level urls. – Nate Knox (@nateknox)
  • No, if I have to have a different url for the keyword, it will go in it’s own ad group at that point. – Steve Seeley (@SteveSeeley)
  • Never for any of my clients. As others have noted, if it needs its own URL it goes in a separate ad group. – Heidi Smith
  • Nope, nope, nope. If you have to consider using KW-level final URLs, then your ad groups aren’t tight enough. – Erika Schmidt (@erikapdx)
  • Not often, but I will for product pages when using SKU specific bottom of funnel keywords. Improves conversions a bit. – Paul Bradish (@PaulBradish)
  • One thing I can say for certain about KW URLs is it makes LP testing a real burden. – Kevin Klein (@kkwrites)
  • One final note on KW level URLs, when auditing an account make sure to include this column. – Matt Umbro

Q3: What updates to the Google Keyword Planner would need to be conducted for you to have greater faith in the tool? Why?

  • Overall, just more relevant suggestions. Sometimes “relevant” suggestions are better as negatives. – Kirk Williams
  • The numbers they provide haven’t been useful since…well for a long time now. – Mike Crimmins
  • Less garbage. I get a ton of negative search terms from the tool. – Steve Slater
  • Better, more accurate forecasting numbers and projections. – Jeremy Krantz
  • Sounds counterintuitive, but take away the volume/CPC numbers – just give me keyword ideas and let me interpret how I want. – Matt Umbro
  • Definitely more accurate click and cost performance numbers. – Michael Fleming
  • Clearer methodology. I’ll hit refresh and get different numbers every time. – Gil Hong
  • If Google says bid $20 on a keyword, that doesn’t mean I’m going to start there…I’ll bid what I think is correct/efficient for me. – Matt Umbro
  • More accurate traffic estimates/bid estimates & better suggestions. – Alberto Merola
  • It’d be cool to have autocomplete-like features. Understanding most don’t have reported search volume but more helpful. – Joe Martinez
  • I’ve never seen “accurate” suggested bids on Keywords Planner! – Lucile Fauquet
  • I’m less inclined to think it is garbage data and more a reflection of how diverse (and ridiculous) searches are. – Kyle Crocker
  • Can we all agree the tool is there to make Google money and not give us good data? – Steve Slater
    • Yes, but to be fair, Google has made an effort to try and better the tool…for whatever that is worth. – Matt Umbro
  • Accurate data. Seach volume and estimated cpc are so far out, it’s frankly inexplicable. – Steve Gibson
  • I spoke to an Engineer at Google about the shitty keyword tool and he said the data set it used was pretty small and outdated. – Paul Wicker (@Wickerpedia)
  • 3 features Google should add: 1) Autocomplete searches 2) Related searches 3) Device searches like mobile vs desktop vs tablet. – Erika Schmidt

Q4: Re-engaging the age old argument, do you segment campaigns/ad groups by keyword match type? Why or why not?

  • Yes and no. I segment by purpose – discovery, control, maximization. – Michael Fleming
  • IMO this is entirely dependent on budget constraint. Tight budget? Segment. Wide open budget? No need. – Kevin Klein
  • I stick to themes/commonalities instead of match types because that translates into better trend insights and cleaner SQRs. – Jeremy Krantz
  • Depends. I don’t have a hard and fast rule. When something is working really well I’ll build around it. – Steve Slater
  • I have nothing against this segmentation type, but I use different match types in same ad groups and tier bids. – Matt Umbro
  • I have begun doing more with Campaign match type segmentation so I can even more tightly control budget on Exact terms. – Kirk Williams
  • Better forecasting tools & more accurate search numbers. Now that Moz’s new tool is counting KW volume I plan to compare. – Mary Hartman
  • No. We put all match types together & organize ad groups by how kws are related. Use bid management & other tactics to optimize. – Heidi Smith
  • Depends on the account size but usually split campaigns by match type. Especially for the rare case of testing pure broad. – Joe Martinez
  • If there’s enough volume I will split BM v P/E. Also, if it looks like the BM is behaving differently, it needs it own ad group. – Steve Gibson
  • For me, it’s more about segmenting granularly by theme and showing the correct, most relevant ad, regardless of match type. – Matt Umbro
  • I like to use campaigns as buckets of similar-performing keywords, so I use single MT campaigns. Helps me analyze performance. – Sean Murphy (@PPC_Sean)
  • Yes, since we want to keep bids on converting exact queries separate from potential discovery ones on BMM and Phrase. – Gil Hong
  • Really depends on the complexity of the account…But adgroup match type as much as I can and as much as needed! – Lucile Fauquet
  • The thing that must be remembered is we should be focused on queries, not keywords. – Michael Fleming
  • I segment match types by ad groups. I might make a top performer campaign of a single match type. – Erika Schmidt
  • Honestly, apart from budget control I don’t see point of this segmentation. If your groups aren’t themed you’ve already lost. – Kevin Klein
  • Used to but don’t any more. Eventually didn’t see the benefit. – Alberto Merola
  • Did @ my last job. Don’t at current agency-Trying to convince management to segment groups by KWs plz! – Mary Hartman

Q5: In your view, has modified broad match killed phrase match? Why or why not?

  • Not yet, because I still have some accounts where it works, but I use it a whole lot less now. – Mike Crimmins
  • “Broadly replaced”? yes. “Killed”? no need to get all murdery. – Kyle Crocker
  • It has for most of my English-settings and English-keyword campaigns. 3-tiered structure was much harder to manage negatives. – Sean Murphy
  • So “killed” is too drastic, but I would say I only use phrase match probably 5% of the time in my accounts. – Matt Umbro
  • Not where word order matters to intent. – Michael Fleming
  • Hell no. For B2B, phrase is still critical. Word order matters and controlling (or at least better controlling) close variants matters. – Melissa Mackey
  • Modified has just performed better for me for the past couple years. I don’t add phrase anymore. I also want more SQs. – Joe Martinez
  • Unless word order matters, is there another reason to use phrase match? I’m curious. – Matt Umbro
    • When volume is big enough that extra time to control bids on phrase is worth it to overall sales/lead volume. – Michael Fleming
    • Not that I can think of, but word order is a HUGE argument, when applicable IMO. Esp for brand terms. – Kirk Williams
  • Phrase is still useful sometimes. Question is, will it become more important with rise of voice search, like “near me” queries? – Mary Hartman
  • According to my client search queries, no Broad has not killed Phrase. I would even say: Phrase is sometimes killing Exact! – Lucile Fauquet
  • Without phrase match logic, we’d all be screwed. – Kevin Klein
  • Frankly, phrase match negative KWs save my life much more often than phrase targeted KWs. – Mary Hartman
  • Probably. Modified broad is too practical/flexible. – Alberto Merola
  • I’m way more likely to use phrase match as a negative match type than a positive match type. Beautiful control to sculpt traffic. – Megan Beatty (@megbeatz)
  • My final thought – I can see the rare case use for phrase match, but in general modified broad match has triumphed over phrase. – Matt Umbro
  • I would definitely use phrase match way more often than kw level urls. – Gil Hong
  • Do you think exact match would cover most branded terms? Seriously asking here. – Kirk Williams
    • Not all iterations, but mod broad would grab what you need (making sure bid was lower). – Matt Umbro
  • For those who use phrase a lot, have you tried pausing phrase in favor of mod broad? – Matt Umbro
    • My theory is that those conversions originating from phrase match would be made up in mod broad…but I don’t know. – Matt Umbro
      • They would, but BMM has so many other queries coming into it that see issue bidding, ad testing, etc. – Kirk Williams
    • Yes. Sometimes results in a ton of irrelevant SQR traffic. Like I said, the close variant thing is huge. We’ve seen spend go way up and conversions not go up by doing this. – Melissa Mackey
      • Interesting to hear, perhaps we have a future case study here? – Matt Umbro

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More PPCChats

Don’t forget to stay tuned for the next #PPCchat on Tuesday at 12 noon Eastern, 9 am Pacific and 5pm in the UK. Same Chat time, same Chat channel.


Check out the PPCChat Twitter list to see and connect with all current and prior participants.

• Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro)
• Paul Kragthorpe (@PaulKragthorpe)
• Alberto Merola (@AlbertoMerola)
• Erika Schmidt (@erikapdx)
• Gil Hong (@_GilHong)
• Heidi Smith (@heidinksmith)
• Jeremy Krantz (@JeremyKrantz)
• Joe Martinez (@MilwaukeePPC)
• Kevin Klein (@kkwrites)
• Kirk Williams (@PPCKirk)
• Kurt Henninger (@KurtHenninger)
• Kyle Crocker (@kacrocker)
• Lucile Fauquet (@brehlux)
• Mary Hartman (@PPCHartman)
• Megan Beatty (@megbeatz)
• Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
• Michael Fleming (@SEMFlem)
• Mike Crimmins (@mikecrimmins)
• Nate Knox (@nateknox)
• Orlando Valencia (@ValenciaSEM)
• Paul Bradish (@PaulBradish)
• Paul Wicker (@Wickerpedia)
• Sean Murphy (@PPC_Sean)
• Steve Gibson (@stevegibsonppc)
• Steve Seeley (@SteveSeeley)
• Steve Slater (@TheSteve_Slater)
• Theresa Zook (@I_Marketer)
• Timothy Jensen (@timothyjjensen)

Everything Streamcaps

This is a guest post by Paul Kragthorpe; works at WebRanking in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Connect with Paul @PaulKragthorpe, and Google Plus.

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