Properly optimising your website for your chosen keywords can be a grueling, time-consuming process. Not to mention the time it takes to rank highly for those keywords!

The good news is that if you’re looking for new keywords to focus your SEO efforts on, Google AdWords is perhaps the quickest and most efficient way to figure out which ones are worth the work.

Here’s why: A keyword may look GREAT on ‘paper’. It may get a lot of searches, and you may get lots of traffic if you rank for it. But, if those keywords don’t lead to conversions, it’s pretty much useless traffic. And now you’ve wasted thousands of dollars and months’ worth of work to rank for a keyword that doesn’t earn you a lick of money!

Testing your keywords with PPC before you optimize your site can also help you determine actual traffic levels you’ll receive if you rank for a keyword. Although the free Google keyword tool is helpful, it won’t give you entirely accurate numbers.

So next time you’re trying to figure out which keywords to focus your SEO efforts on, follow these 5 steps for maximum benefit and minimum pain!

How to Test the Value of Your Keywords Using AdWords

1. Don’t use broad match.

Choose a number of keywords you’re thinking of targeting. Run exact and phrase match ads for these keywords, as well as modified broad match.

I’d definitely recommend not using broad match, however. Broad match will likely end up showing your ads for many irrelevant keywords that are outside the scope of what you’d want to rank for organically.

2. Choose your landing page wisely.

When running an AdWords campaign, I always encourage you to create a unique landing page (or pages), just for your AdWords campaign.

When using AdWords for SEO research, however, we need to do things a little bit differently: make sure to send your PPC traffic to the page you’ll be using for SEO, NOT to a unique AdWords landing page.

The reason is this: you want to see how well your organic search traffic will perform on your optimized landing page, NOT on your AdWords landing page.

3. Match your ad copy to your Meta tags.

To mimic organic results as closely as possible, try to match your ad’s headline to your landing page’s title tag and ad description to the Meta tag of your page. You want the results to be as close as possible to what searchers will see in the SERP’s.

For instance, let’s say you sell specialty bicycles. Your landing page – the page you want to rank organically – has the following title tag and meta description:

Title: Unique bicycles | Sydney Bike Shop
Meta Description: Looking for unique, hard-to-find bicycles? Mike’s Bike Shop is Sydney’s premier retailer of one-of-a-kind bikes.

Your ad copy should resemble these tags as closely as possible; the normal rules of AdWords ad copy don’t always apply here. Remember that your main goal with your ad will be to mimic what searchers would see in the SERP’s. So your ad could look something like this:

Unique Bicycles Sydney
Looking for hard-to-find bicycles?
Visit Mike’s Bike Shop Sydney.

4. Get on the first page.

When testing potential keywords, it’s important to make sure you’re bidding enough to get on the first page of results, preferably in the top few positions.

You need to make sure you’re getting good exposure for your ads in order to accurately determine which keywords are bringing the most traffic, and are resulting in the highest conversion rates.

5. Use conversion tracking.

If you’re properly using conversion tracking, you should be able to see which keywords are converting and which ones aren’t.

Take a look through your search query report, and see which ones are currently converting the best for you. Use this data to determine which keywords you’re going to focus your SEO efforts on.

Testing new keywords using Google AdWords may seem like a lot of work at first, but when you realise how much time and effort (and money!) it can save you in the long run, it becomes quickly apparent how worthwhile it is.

Rather than working for months to rank for keywords, only to have them disappoint, why not do a bit of grunt work at the beginning and save yourself loads of time and money?

Do you use AdWords to test out new keywords? Do you find it worth the effort? Let us know below!

Photo courtesy of jscreationzs


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