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Let’s start with two questions: what are keywords; and why do they matter? Simply put a keyword are the words you use when searching for anything on the internet. For example, in the search phrase “how to cook spaghetti squash” the main keywords would be ‘cook’ and ‘spaghetti squash’.

Keywords can be a single word, several words, or even a phrase. They are a crucial element in search advertising. That leads us to–why do keywords matter?

Keywords matter because one of the things that determine your ads ranking on search engines is keywords. So, how do you decide what keywords to use and make keyword lists? Here are 5 steps to creating a keyword list.

5 Steps to Create a Killer Keyword List

1. Choose your keyword

The first thing to do is to jump in and start coming up with words that describe your business, your services and/or your products. The best way to do this is by putting yourself in the consumer’s shoes. What are the possible phrases they would use to find your content? From there, you’ll be able to create a list of words and phrases. Also, keep in mind that there’s no such thing as too many terms!

2. Use research tools

Once you’ve created a list of keywords, its time to narrow it down. By using keyword research tools, you’ll be able to see which keywords will be more or less effective. These tools help you see impressions, cost-per-click (CPC) and click-through-rate (CTR).

3. Find variations

Once you’ve narrowed down your keyword list (or have added more) add common variations. An example of this would be words like travel agent and travel agency or web site and website. However, don’t add keyword variants comprised of different punctuation as these will be flagged as duplicate keywords.

4. Utilize ad groups

To optimize your ad campaigns and increase return on investment (ROI), organize keywords into groups of related keywords. Yet, you want to be sure you do not use the same keyword in more than one ad group. If you do this, you’ll end up competing against yourself for ad placement.

5. Incorporate negative keywords

What are negative keywords? They are terms and phrases that you don’t want your ad to rank for. For example, if you sell girls running shoes, one of your keywords will most likely be “running shoes”. It would be a good idea to then add “boys running shoes” as a negative keyword as this is irrelevant to your targeted search phrase. This makes your ads more helpful and useful to customers, which can increase ROI.

Keywords play a critical role in whatever online ad campaign you run. SEO is another huge factor in online ranking and sales. If you want expert advice on your specific projects, contact our Google ad and SEO experts.


Allemande After earning her degree at Simon Fraser University for New Media Journalism and Editing, Allemande has become an accomplished writer and editor. She is also certified in strategic social media marketing, Google Ads, Google Analytics, and digital sales.

Allemande fluently identifies the channel and content mix that is precisely right for your business and audience. She conducts in-depth analytics for continuous improvement in your audience engagement and generation of sales leads through strategic planning and search engine optimization (SEO), establishes KPIs and related metrics and prepares meaningful reports that you can quickly action. Connect with Allemande.