One of the most common questions we are asked about PPC advertising relates to the number of keywords integrated into a single campaign. How many is enough? What about too many?

Google doesn’t provide a lot of direction when setting up an AdWords campaign, which is probably why the vast majority of first time PPC advertisers either blow a LOT of money and receive no results, or spend hours setting up a campaign and get no clicks. Here are some things to consider when designing your campaign that might help.

Core vs. Longtail

For a single AdWords campaign, it’s recommended that you have between 5 and 20 core keywords. These are the major terms being searched for by your prospects. So, if you are selling refrigerators via Amazon, your core keywords might include:

“new fridge”

“new refrigerator”

“replace fridge”

“fridge reviews”

“amazon refrigerator”

Those are very basic terms that will likely have thousands upon thousands of searches per month, which means very high cost per click rates and hard to crack quality score restrictions.

Which is why we turn to longtails. Once you have your core keywords, create an ad group for each term and start gathering longtails. You should never bid on the core keyword unless you A) have a lot of money and B) have an authority site that will match quality score.

For each ad group, a good number of longtails is between 100 and 200. If you’re doing the math, you realize that this means between 500 and 4,000 total keywords for your entire campaign – that’s a lot of research.

The Longtail Paradox

Sure, you need a lot of terms, but here’s where it gets a little easier. The following are different terms:

“new fridge reviews”

“new fridge review”

“new fridges reviews”

Every one of those terms is a unique longtail, and if you tack on a brand name you’ll have another set of longtails. As you can see, it won’t take a lot of research or time to reach the 4,000 keyword mark.

Is All This Necessary?

Yes and no.

The problem is that if you want to get significant traffic, you need a large audience, and for a single keyword to have a large audience, you’ll need to spend a LOT per click and have a good landing page in place.

On the flip side, if you use longtails that get less than 500 searches per month, you’ll need a LOT of them to reach a larger audience. The good part here though is that you are:

A)  Diversifying risk by using lots of low cost keywords

B)  Spreading out your lead generation to split test what converts

C) Gathering HUGE chunks of data so you know where to focus SEO efforts

It’s time consuming, it doesn’t always work, and it can still be quite costly, but if you play your cards just right, a good longtail PPC campaign can be a difference maker for your business .


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