Punching Up With Your PPC Keywords

07 December 2020
by Archie Williamson
5 mins
Punching Up With Your PPC Keywords

Search engine Pay-Per-Click (PPC) is one of the best methods of online advertising. Though as with all advertising, it only lives up to its potential if you know how to make the best use of it. Harnessing it properly can allow small businesses to take customers from even the largest international corporations.

Keyword research is by far the most complex and troublesome part of setting up a new PPC campaign. Even if you are aware of what to look for, it can be a time-consuming experience. And if you aren’t, then you’re wasting not only advertising potential, but time and money.

Long-tail keywords

To describe something as a ‘long-tail keyword’ is simply to state that it is a longer, more specific search term. Searching for wooden ornament, for example, returns a little under 320 million results from Google. It’s also a term used by people looking for ideas, just generally browsing for availability, or even ‘fantasy’ shopping as we’re all inclined to do now and then, with no intent to buy.

Wooden elephant statue on the other hand returns just over 9.9 million results. In addition, someone searching for this term is far more likely to have made up their mind and be interested in purchasing from the site they click through to. These are known as ‘buyer intent’ or ‘high commercial intent’ keywords.

Traffic is good, but traffic doesn’t pay the bills. Ultimately – in the vast majority of cases – you’re interested in your conversion rates. Long-tail keywords are likely to see much higher click-through and conversion rates than general search terms.

The other major benefit is that they will carry significantly less competition than high-traffic keywords. Not only does this make it easier to win bids on them, but at a massively reduced cost. If your marketing budget is limited, and you need to maximise conversion rates from your PPC, long-tails are a solid choice.

Reactionary bidding – a defensive strategy

You’ve probably seen this scenario before with large companies. You search for their company name (their ‘brand’) and receive a sponsored ad from your target.

At first glance this seems somewhat redundant – if a user searches for you directly, odds are they’re interested in your service specifically, after all. You’re also incredibly likely to be ranking top for your own brand term. That said, there are a few completely valid reasons you might consider this.

Firstly, to outrank competitors. Search for Pizza Hut and you’re almost sure to see a PPC ad for Domino’s or Papa John’s. Bidding on brand names for direct competitors is a common practice – you know that you offer a similar service, and that the buyer is likely ready to purchase. Bidding on your own in turn, assures that your competitor can’t tempt your clientele away with discounts or a well-written advert.

Targeted landing pages

Which leads nicely to the next key reason – PPC ads offer a lot more customisation options than organic rankings. The ad can be structured in a way explicitly designed to catch the eye, as well as taking your traffic to a specific destination page. One can, in this way, push a particular offer or page. 

This time of the year is rife with such ads – limited-time Christmas themed goods, foods or services. You want to convert those clickers into buyers at the highest possible rate – working out what pages are your highest converters and sending your traffic there is enormously helpful.

Other sources state that you may be overthinking how much attention many searchers are paying to their results. Many users will click the first link, regardless of what it says. Even accidentally bidding on an unrelated search terms can lead to massive click-through rates, though of course you’ll also see a near-100% bounce rate, so it’s not at all an advisable tactic.

Suppose a competitor is outranking you artificially using PPC, and their products are similar enough to your own that your competitor might tempt them to stick around. In that case, being in the #1 ranking PPC spot may be enough to save yourself from losing customers due to impatience on the customer’s behalf.

There is a nice cherry on top of bidding on your branded keywords. They are likely to cost you next to nothing, unless you’re a serious top-dog like eBay or Amazon, whose names are used by plenty of smaller businesses to drive traffic.


You should now have a decent understanding of long-tail keywords and branded bids, as well as the benefits of each. Remember that choosing your keywords is a complex process, and this is only one facet of the larger picture. The process can be time-consuming, and requires ongoing management as times and search trends change.

Digital marketing

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