Keyword Research and Selection for Google Ads

Have you ever wondered why some Google Ads campaigns soar while others plummet? The secret often lies in the keywords. But how do you find the right ones? How do you make sure they align with your Google My Business listing? That’s what we’re diving into today. So, if you want to elevate your Google Advertising game, you’ve come to the right place.

What is Keyword Research?

Keyword research is the practice of identifying and analyzing specific search terms that people enter into search engines. It’s not just about finding the most popular terms; it’s about understanding the intent behind those terms and aligning that with your business offerings. This pivotal marketing activity serves as the cornerstone for SEO, content marketing, and paid advertising campaigns like Google Ads.

So, what does it entail? The research process often involves using specialized tools and methodologies to gather data on keyword metrics like search volume, competition, and relevance. You’ll also be looking at long-tail keywords, short-tail keywords, and the ever-important buyer intent keywords that signal where a consumer is in their buying journey.

Why does keyword research matter? Well, consider this: 15% of daily Google searches are questions that have never been asked before. If you don’t regularly update and optimize your keyword strategy, you might miss out on a substantial portion of your potential audience.

Why is Keyword Research Crucial?

Keyword research is far from a one-time event. It’s an ongoing process that needs to adapt to market trends, consumer behaviors, and other variables. The right keywords can elevate your content and advertising strategies from ‘good’ to ‘excellent,’ ensuring your hard-earned money isn’t being wasted on ads that never get seen by your target audience.

For a deeper dive into what keyword research is and why it’s indispensable, check out this comprehensive guide by Moz.

So, ready to get into the nitty-gritty of keyword research? Great, let’s move on.

By understanding what keyword research is and how to do it effectively, you can optimize your Google Ads and GMB listings to reach your target audience more precisely. This will not only improve your visibility but also increase your chances of converting clicks into customers.

Further Reading:

By incorporating keyword research into your marketing strategies, you not only optimize your chances of ranking higher on Google but also enhance your overall online presence, leading to higher ROI.

How Do You Conduct Keyword Research?

Conducting keyword research is like mapping out the terrain before embarking on a journey—it gives you direction and helps you avoid costly mistakes. Though it may seem daunting at first, a step-by-step approach can simplify the process and set you on the right path.

Step 1: Define Your Goals

Before diving into keyword research, define your business goals. Are you looking to increase brand awareness, drive more traffic, or convert more leads? Each goal requires a unique set of keywords to target.

Step 2: Understand Your Audience

You need to know who your target audience is and what they’re looking for. Create customer personas and think about the kinds of search queries they might use.

Step 3: Start with a Broad List of Keywords

List down terms that are relevant to your business or industry. These could be words that you think your target audience might use, or even words that describe your product or service. Tools like Google Keyword Planner can offer initial suggestions.

Step 4: Use Keyword Research Tools

There are several tools to help you get more in-depth data. Tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs can provide detailed metrics like search volume, keyword difficulty, and more.

Step 5: Analyze the Competition

Find out what keywords your competitors are ranking for. This will give you an idea of the competitive landscape and how hard or easy it would be for you to rank for certain keywords. You can do this manually or use tools like Moz’s Keyword Explorer.

Step 6: Evaluate Keyword Metrics

Once you have your list, you’ll need to evaluate each keyword for its relevancy, search volume, and competition. Tools like KWFinder can help you with this.

Step 7: Select a Mix of Short-tail and Long-tail Keywords

Short-tail keywords are often more competitive but have higher search volumes. Long-tail keywords are less competitive and more specific. A mix of both can help you cover all your bases.

Step 8: Implement and Monitor

After selecting your keywords, integrate them into your content and advertising strategies. Then, use analytics tools to monitor their performance.

For a more detailed walkthrough, check out this insightful guide by HubSpot.

Further Reading:

How Do Keywords Relate to Google My Business (GMB)?

If you thought Google My Business (GMB) and keywords operate in isolation, think again. The interplay between your Google Ads keywords and your GMB listing can have a tangible impact on your online visibility and click-through rates. Here’s how:

1. Local Search Queries

Keywords with a local intent often trigger GMB listings. For instance, if someone types “best Italian restaurant near me,” Google is likely to show local business listings along with standard search results. Ensuring that your GMB profile is filled with keywords relevant to your business can help you appear in these local search results.

2. Local Extensions in Google Ads

Google Ads has a feature called Local Extensions that allows you to link your Google Ads account with your GMB listing. When your ad shows, it could also display your business address, phone number, and other GMB details. This can make your ad more trustworthy and enticing to click on.

3. Reviews and Keywords

The reviews on your GMB listing can also affect your keyword strategy. For example, if many reviews mention that your “vegan pizza” is exceptional, that’s a keyword you might want to consider targeting in your Google Ads.

4. Relevancy and Quality Score

Google Ads uses a metric known as Quality Score to determine the relevancy of your ads. A well-optimized GMB listing filled with relevant keywords can contribute to a higher Quality Score, thereby reducing your cost per click.

5. Insights for Keyword Strategy

GMB provides you with valuable insights into how customers are finding your listing. Are they typing in “bookstore” or “where to buy books near me”? These phrases can serve as additional keywords to target in your Google Ads campaign.

Further Reading:

So, the interconnection between Google Ads keywords and your GMB listing is more than just a casual relationship; it’s a powerful duo that, when optimized correctly, can yield exceptional results. Interested to know more about crafting the perfect ad copy? Make sure you read the next section on “Crafting Click-Worthy Ad Copies” to get a comprehensive view.

How Do You Choose the Right Match Types?

Selecting the right keyword match types in Google Ads can be the difference between a successful campaign and a money pit. Not familiar with the concept? No worries—let’s dive into what keyword match types are and how to choose the ones that will give your campaigns the highest chance of success.

1. Broad Match

The default setting, Broad Match, allows your ad to show whenever someone searches for that keyword, variations of the keyword, or even other related topics. It offers the broadest traffic exposure but can attract irrelevant clicks.


  • Maximum Exposure
  • Less need for a long keyword list


  • Can generate irrelevant traffic
  • Higher chances of exhausting your budget on non-converting clicks

📌 Recommended Reading: Broad Match Keywords in Google Ads – Google’s official guide on how broad match works.

2. Phrase Match

Phrase Match is more specific. Your ad will only show when someone searches for your keyword in the correct order, although other words can be before or after the phrase.


  • More targeted than broad match
  • Better control over search queries


  • May miss out on some relevant traffic
  • A bit restrictive

📌 Recommended Reading: Introduction to Phrase Match Keywords – WordStream’s overview on using phrase match keywords effectively.

3. Exact Match

As the name suggests, Exact Match keywords will only trigger your ads when the exact phrase is searched.


  • Highly targeted
  • Lower Cost Per Click (CPC)


  • Limited reach
  • May lead to lower traffic volume

📌 Recommended Reading: What are Exact Match Keywords in Google Ads – An in-depth guide from Search Engine Journal.

4. Negative Match

Negative Match allows you to exclude specific keywords from triggering your ads.

📌 Recommended Reading: How to Add Negative Keywords – Google’s guide to adding negative keywords to your campaigns.

5. Making the Decision

So how do you choose the right match type? Consider your campaign objectives. If you’re aiming for maximum exposure, go for broad match. For more targeted traffic, use phrase or exact match. A combination of all types often works best.

Further Reading:

Selecting the right match type isn’t just about understanding the definitions; it’s about aligning them with your campaign goals and continually optimizing for better performance. Stick around for the next section “Crafting Click-Worthy Ad Copies” to learn how to make your ads irresistible to click on.

Frequently Asked Questions – Keyword Research and Selection

What is the Importance of Keywords in Google Ads?

Keywords act as the foundation of your Google Ads campaign. They help in targeting your ads to the right audience, thereby increasing the chances of conversions and minimizing wasteful spending.
📌 Recommended Reading: Why Keywords are Important in Google Ads

How Do I Use Google’s Keyword Planner?

Google’s Keyword Planner is a free tool offered within the Google Ads interface that provides keyword ideas and traffic estimates to help you build a Search Network campaign.
1. Sign in to your Google Ads account.
2. Click on ‘Tools & Settings’.
3. Choose ‘Keyword Planner’.
📌 Recommended Reading: Google’s Keyword Planner Guide

What are Long-Tail Keywords?

Long-tail keywords are longer and more specific keyword phrases. They often have less search volume but tend to have a higher conversion rate.
📌 Recommended Reading: Understanding Long-Tail Keywords

Should I Use Broad Match, Phrase Match, or Exact Match?

The match type you should use depends on your campaign objectives. Broad match offers the most exposure but can attract irrelevant clicks. Phrase and exact match are more restrictive but usually yield more relevant traffic.
📌 Recommended Reading: Choosing the Right Keyword Match Types

How Often Should I Update My Keywords?

You should constantly monitor and update your keywords based on performance metrics like click-through rate (CTR), conversion rate, and return on ad spend (ROAS).
📌 Recommended Reading: Keyword Optimization Tips

How do Keywords Relate to Quality Score?

Google uses Quality Score to measure the relevance and quality of your keywords, ads, and landing pages. A higher Quality Score can lead to lower costs and better ad positions.
📌 Recommended Reading: Understanding Quality Score

What’s the Relationship Between Keywords and GMB?

Google My Business (GMB) listings can appear in local searches, and optimizing your GMB listing with relevant keywords can make your business more visible in Google’s local search results.
📌 Recommended Reading: How to Optimize Your GMB Listing

If you’ve made it this far, you’re now armed with the knowledge to undertake effective keyword research for your Google Ads campaigns. But don’t stop here; in our next installment, “6. Crafting Click-Worthy Ad Copies,” we’ll dive into how to make those keywords work in your ad texts.


  1. Google Keyword Planner
  2. SEMrush
  3. Ahrefs
  4. Ubersuggest

Remember, this is just one part of a comprehensive guide on Google Advertising. Stay tuned for our next section, “6. Crafting Click-Worthy Ad Copies,” to continue mastering your Google Ads strategy.

Roger Lopez
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