Rules, rules everywhere! Ask ten different paid search marketing experts how many keywords you should have in a single campaign, and you’ll probably get ten different answers. All of which will likely be in a range of no more than fifty.
The question is, why would there be a limit on the amount of keywords you’d want to target in any single campaign? The answer comes in a few forms. So let’s look at them, and then discuss why sometimes none of it matters.
- Manageability – Remember that you’ll be using a combination of match types for your keywords. This could mean 3 keywords for each term you wish to target. Stuffing a campaign full of keywords can make it more difficult to process the information and manage the campaign.
- Budget – An oft forgotten practice is to be sure you have enough budget to cover a sufficient number of clicks each day. Only have a $10 budget? Makes no sense to have 100 keywords that require $5 per click to compete. You just won’t have enough money for Google to get your keywords into, and out of the auctions fast enough with such a low threshold.
- Focus – Your keyword sets should be narrowly focused for a variety of reasons. Relevance being one, which heavily effects your quality score, which effects your bid for position and cost per click etc. Too many unrelated keywords can torpedo your effort.
With all this in mind, I’m now going to give you some examples of when you should break the rules. Having serviced a variety of paid search lead generation campaigns across various industries I’ve learned that there is in fact a time and a place to stuff that campaign full of keywords. Here are three for you to consider.
- Testing – Sometimes you have some ideas of keyword sets to target that are loosely related, but making a bunch of campaigns to test them is time prohibitive. In this case it’s ok to load up a campaign full of these terms and see what rises to the top. When you’ve identified some winners, break them off into their own campaign.
One practical example of this is when a paid search client was targeting specific equipment they wanted to finance for other businesses. There is a limitless amount of industrial equipment out there. So it made sense to load a list into the campaign to see what prospects were in fact searching for and let the cream rise to the top.
- Local Businesses – Local paid search lead generation campaigns can sometimes be the most difficult. Your market is smaller and user behavior is certainly unique. Many prospects will search using geographic qualifiers. Sure your broad or modified broad match keywords may pick them up. But if you want to reduce non relevant clicks and widen your net a little bit, it might be a good idea expand your keyword set using those geographic qualifiers.
A great example is the work we do for a local carpet cleaning company. The highest volume of search tends to be around ‘carpet cleaner’ or ‘carpet cleaning’. But the broad search picks up traffic from users searching for how to, chemicals, rentals and a whole host of terms that waste spend. Instead, modify the term by adding a location, just as users search, because it changes the intent. If I’m searching for ‘carpet cleaning manchester nh’ it is more likely I’m looking for a professional to do the job.
- Heavy Qualifier – Similar to the above, there may be times when your main search term is pretty general, but something prospects do indeed search for. In these cases, create your keyword matrix using additional qualifiers to get in front the search intent you are looking for. Then pack your campaign to the gills with these terms and monitor performance.
In these instances it is not unusual for us to have two to three hundred keywords in one single campaign. But by keeping them both relevant and specific we are able to widen the net while tapping into traffic that converts and generates leads for your business.
Have some additional ideas on when it’s the right call to break the keyword limit rules? Let us know, we’d love share it with our audience!
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