AdWords keyword sources

How to find keywords for your AdWords campaigns

There are lots of different places you can find keywords to build out your AdWords campaigns using our Keyword Funnel tool. Most of these keyword sources are free.

Google AdWords 'Search terms' report

The keywords in your campaigns won't be the same as the search queries that generate clicks (unless all your AdWords keywords are exact matches and you have enabled Do not include close variants in your campaign settings). You can find out what keywords were actually used in the very useful AdWords Dimensions>Search terms report. This report is particularly useful for finding negative keywords to add to your campaigns.

Click on the AdWords Dimensions tab then select Search terms.

AdWords dimensions search terms report

Set an appropriate date range and click on the down arrow button to download the data.

Download AdWords search terms report

If you download the report in Excel .csv format you can easily open it in Excel and copy the Search term column. You will probably find that there are some really weird and wonderful search terms in the data! You can cut down on the 'noise' if you sort by the Clicks column and ignore any searches with only 1 click. You might also want to consider ignoring searches with <10 impressions.


Google Adwords keyword planner

Log in to Adwords and select Tools>Keyword Planner. Then click on Search for new keyword and ad group ideas. Type in a list of seed keywords, set the country you are targeting and click Get ideas.

Adwords keyword planner

Click on the Keyword ideas tab. Click on the Download button to download your keywords.

download AdWords keyword ideas

If you download the report in Excel CSV format you can easily open it in Excel and copy the Keyword column.


Google Adwords keyword suggestions

If you already have an AdWords campaign you can get Google AdWords to suggest additional keywords. Select an adgroup, click on the Keywords tab and click the +Keywords button

Add AdWords keywords

Suggestions will now appear on the right. Click on Add for any appropriate looking ones. You can then copy the keywords you added from the left text box.

AdWords keyword suggestions

Note that Google's suggestions are only added as broad match, may be quite poorly targeted and may be suggested for the wrong adgroup. So we recommend you don't add keywords directly via the AdWords interface. Click Cancel to exit the suggestion tool without making any changes.


Google Webmaster Tools

Many people tend to look at ads, rather than organic results, when shopping. So it is worth advertising on keywords that you already get organic search traffic for. This gives you two bites at the same cherry. Also you may be able to rank a lot higher in the ads than you do for organic searches. If you have Google Webmaster Tools setup for your website, you can easily find out which search queries are resulting in your site appearing in the search results (even if no-one clicks!). Select the desired website in Google Webmaster Tools, if you have more than one. Then choose an appropriate date range and select Search Traffic>Search Queries. Click on Download this table to download all the data. If you download it in CSV format you can easily open it in Excel and copy the Query column.

Google Webmaster Tools search keywords

As with the 'search terms' report, you will probably find that there are some really strange search terms in the data! You can cut down on the 'noise' if you sort by the Clicks column and ignore any searches with <2 clicks. You might also want to consider ignoring searches with <10 impressions.

Note that Webmaster Tools has not (so far) been affected by the Google 'not provided' changes.


Google Analytics

If you have Google Analytics set up for your website, you can use it to look at the search queries that have resulted in impressions and clicks. Choose the appropriate website and date, then select Acquisition>Search Engine Optimisation>Queries. Click on the Export button and choose CSV to download a .csv file. Only the rows shown will be exported, so you may need to change the Show rows drop-down list. You can open the .csv file in Excel and copy the Query column.

Google analytics keyword report

Note that, since Google's 'not provided' change, most Google search queries will be missing from the data. So Google Webmaster Tools (see above) is probably a better choice, if available.


Your web logs

If you have access to your web logs, but not analytics, you can use tools such as Sawmill and Web Log Storming to parse your web logs. Both these tools have free trials.


Bing Webmaster Tools

Bing and Google search engines have different audiences and use different algorithms. So it is worth looking at Bing Webmaster Tools as well as Google Webmaster Tools. Select the desired website in Bing webmaster tools, if you have more than one.Then choose an appropriate date range and select Dashboard>Reports & Data>Search Keywords. Click on Export to download all the data. Open the .csv file in Excel and copy the Search Keywords column.

Bing Webmaster Tools search keywords

Google Search suggestions

When you type keywords into Google search, suggestions appear. This can be a useful way to get early ideas, but it is a rather tedious way to build a long list of keywords.

Google search keyword suggestions

Curiously, you get more suggestions (10 instead of 4) if you search Images instead of Web.


Ubersuggest

Ubersuggest scrapes Google search suggestions and other services to provide a powerful keyword suggestion tool. Click on the green + buttons to add keywords to a list, then click the Get button to access them in a form you can easily copy. It's free. Having to type a captcha is a bit tedious though.

This post shows you how you can use ScrapeBox and Ubersuggest together to quickly create large keyword lists.


Suggester

Promediacorp suggester shows related terms people are searching on in Google. You have to type a captcha.


WordStream

Wordstream has some free keyword research tools.


Market Samurai

Market Samurai is a well known keyword research tool. It has a free trial.


Spyfu

SpyFu allows you to research keywords by domain, url or seed keyword. They have a limited free plan.


Alexa

The free website report on alexa.com will give you the top 5 search phrases for a website. You have to pay for their Pro plan to get more.


Your site search

If you have site search on your website, the logs may contains lots of useful keyword data.


Competitor websites

Look at the titles, meta tags, meta description and body text of competitor websites for keywords ideas.


Adding your keywords to Adwords

Once you have your list of new keywords you need to process them into a usable form. This means:

  • Removing duplicate phrases and foreign characters.
  • Removing unwanted words/phrases
  • Identifying negative keywords
  • Sorting the keyword phrases into ad groups.
  • Putting them into a format Adwords can import.

Keyword Funnel can help you with all of the above, saving you hours.

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