Google Is Going Through a Ton of Changes: The Opportunity for Long-Tail Keywords
Google has been rolling out a lot of big changes with huge implications for pay-per-click marketing. Just this year, we have expanded text ads, third-party reviews in the local pack, and new keyword data restrictions.
Google’s decision to restrict keyword data in their keyword planner tool from exact numbers to ranges created a lot of buzz in the PPC community. Marketers were outraged Google would change their own data, but is that really a huge deal? I think it’s a good thing. I believe it simplify how we analyze our data and force us to start focusing on what truly matters…business KPI’s.
The issue with keyword research, before Google’s decision to limit keyword data, was whenever people talked about keyword research, they first worried about volume, then difficulty, and then finally (if at all), about how effectively the research would convert their audience.
Restricting access to exact data might be the best thing that could have happened to keyword research. The obsession over bidding on only the long-tail keywords with the most volume will come to an end.
Today, we’ll talk about how we can identify and target the long-tail keywords that (actually) convert, shall we?
Identifying Long-Tail Keywords
Identifying the long-tail keywords most likely to convert is not only important for pay-per-click advertising, but for content as well. Unfortunately, as we mentioned before, these terms are mistakenly seen as less valuable because they have fewer searches.
However, the conversion value they hold is priceless.
Watch the video below as I walk you through exactly what this means.
Key takeaways from the video
- Your best long-tail keywords don’t necessarily have the most volume
- Tools like Moz, SEMrush and Google keyword planner often don’t have data on long-tail search volume
- Use the _ “wildcard” after your primary search term to learn user intent
- Optimize around these keywords to take marketshare quickly and drive more conversions
Selecting the Best Long-Tail Keywords
We’ve gone through how to identify your best long-tail keywords, but how do you prioritize them?
The key here is finding a healthy balance between conversion impact, brand impact and search volume. To help you, we even created a tool that can do this for you. Click here to check it out!
Luckily, you do not have to rely on guesstimations for this to work, nor do you have to tirelessly append valuable terms with a _ “wildcard” (although it is recommended). Instead, you can launch broad match modified campaigns around your top performing keywords. Using broad match modifiers in your campaigns allows you to quickly gather data and better understand the impact/ROI of each keyword.
For example, if you created a single keyword ad group (SKAG) around “PPC agency,” you could test which match type converted best:
- [ppc agency]
- “ppc agency”
- +ppc +agency
From here, you can mine your search term report and identify keywords like ppc agency pricing and ppc agency costs. As you start to notice the ROI these terms deliver, you can create unique ad groups for your top performing keywords.
These ad groups should have unique ad copy, extensions, and landing pages. This will improve quality score, decrease CPC, and improve overall return.
Optimizing for Conversions
Conversions are the quintessential goal of advertising campaigns. “How much will we make if we spend this much money or time?” is the universal question.
The key is to focus far less on the answer to this question, and instead focus on the aspects that drive the actual conversions. I call this “optimizing for inputs” instead of the output. We can’t control output, though we are in complete control of inputs.
Here are my favorite inputs to optimize for in PPC that can make an impact on conversions (organized in no particular order):
Adjust Bid Levels
- Optimize for spot number four in Adwords
- We have found that the decrease in CTR rarely hurts you as much as the decrease in CPC helps your overall return. It’s a fine balance, so monitor carefully.
- We’ve found this to be helpful across multiple accounts in various industries.
SKAGs (single keyword ad groups)
- We talked about single keyword ad groups earlier, but SKAGs allow for robust control of what ads show up for each keyword so that each query is optimized.
- SKAGs allow for the landing pages of each ad group to be optimized to match the intent of that exact keyword.
- While this approach might seem impractical and take “too much time,” we highly advise testing at least on your most valuable keywords.
Custom Landing Pages
- Optimizing for long-tail keywords is entirely useless if the landing page you send the ads to:
- Has bad copy
- Doesn’t match the searcher’s intent
- Loads slowly
- Has more than one external link
- Isn’t unique to that campaign
- Has images that couldn’t tell the story without any copy on the page
- Has higher than expected prices
- Has no shipping or return info
- Has no reviews, case studies or testimonials
- Has the words: “Get/Request/Sign-up for a Demo”
- To avoid these things, we always try to:
- Write custom copy
- Design graphics or take unique photos
- Avoid blocks of text with more than four lines
Optimize Titles Beyond CTR
- Prequalify users to save money on bad clicks and increase conversions
- Show off our pricing and policies
- Get lots of reviews
- Use video
- Use demo video as a CTA for software
- If you have a video, one of the best ways to test if it’s working or not is to create a custom segment in your Google Analytics for anyone who’s watched a video.
- This is easy to do with video marketing tools such as Wistia or Vimeo. Wistia automatically creates an event if people watch a video. Then, compares the conversion rates of people who watch your video to those who don’t.
- We’ve found a 200% increase in conversion rates when people watch a video. So how do you optimize for inputs? Make more and better video content.
The key takeaway from this post is to start changing your perspective so that you can improve your approach. From SEO services to PPC management, if you perceive search volume as your most important metric, then you will continuously optimize for the wrong thing.
If you only rely on keyword tools instead of time-consuming SERP (search engine results page) analysis, then you will be missing your best long-tail opportunities. Identify your keywords with the _ “wildcard,” select your keywords based on conversion, brand, and then volume, and lastly, optimize for conversions with tight campaigns and exceptional copy + creative.