Advanced Pay Per Click (PPC) Program

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Introducing Keywords, Part 1: Keyword Basics & Keyword Organization Tutorial

Welcome to the fourth lesson ‘Introducing Keywords, Part 1: Keyword Basics & Keyword Organization’ of PPC Advertising Tutorial which is a part of Advanced Pay Per Click (PPC) Certification Course offered by Simplilearn.

In this lesson, we're going to introduce keywords which are essential to an adwords account, as they determine when your ad displays. It's often called a keyword-based advertising method.

Let us look at the objectives of this lesson first.


After completing this lesson, you will learn to:

  • Explain the difference between search queries and keywords

  • List and give examples of three types of search query intent

  • Name different types of keywords and explain how various keywords can tell a story

  • Organize and group keywords with the effective adwords account structure

In the next section, we will try to understand what are the search queries and keywords.

Search queries and keywords

A Search Query is what a user types into a search engine. The Keyword is what you put into your adwords account. Now depending on match types, when a user's search query matches your keywords, that's when your ad can be displayed.

As explained in Buying Funnel, you'll have some keywords which show users at the interest phase. Others that show they're at the shopping phase and others at the buying phase. So look first at how people buy from you before you want to pick keywords.

  • If you have lots of types of keywords during the learning phase, you probably get a massive amount of traffic, but not a large return on investment for those same words.

  • If you have a lot of words at the buy phase, you probably have a great return on investment but not a lot of total conversions. This is very industry-dependent and does change, based upon the Buying Funnel for your company type.

So always look for the Buying Funnel first, and think about how users progress through your funnel before you pick keywords.

Let us now look at user intent when they're searching

Search Query Intent

Jim Jansen, a professor at Penn State University, and his colleagues put together a white paper, on how users search and what they're looking for.

They looked at many, many queries and classified them into user intent and when they did this classification, about 25% of words were so ambiguous, they actually couldn't figure out intent. This search query intent can be shown as below.

- Diagram search query intent

Now, we also have navigational intent words. This is about 7.5% of the volume. Navigational words are words where someone's trying to find a specific page of the web might be a page they've been to before.

So a search for yahoo mail, they want to get to yahoo mail home page. A search for IMDB, Sean Connery, the user wants the Sean Connery page of the internet movie database site.

These are tough words to monetize if they're not yours because the user has a specific destination in mind and about 7.5% of words are transactional. The user has determined they want to do a transaction of some type and are easy words to monetize.

The vast majority of keywords though are informational. This doesn't mean they can't be monetized. But when you think about the buying funnel, you have to match the user where they are, and then you can help them progress to the next step, based upon your market, and you're on page content.

So while most words have an informational intent to it, if your landing page answers their question, and then pushes them to the next stage of the buying funnel, you can monetize informational intent words.

Now let's try to understand the Search Sessions.

Search Sessions

Now you should also keep in mind, that if the user is eventually looking to perform a transaction, they often take multiple site visits before they conduct an action. This can be explained in the table below.


Average site visits per purchase

Number of different sites visited per purchase

Average number of visits to each site









Mobile Phones








Car Insurance








Overall Averages




For instance, in the travel industry, the average user will make 21.6 site visits as shown in the above table. They're going to visit 9.4 different sites 2.3 times each before making a purchase.

This means there's several informational queries, some shopping queries, and finally a buy query before they finish a transaction.

While there are 21 site visits, that doesn't always correlate to 21 searches. Some users will search, look at your site, come back directly to your site, or they'll register for your email, and they'll come back through your email ora different channel.

These are averages, some users will take 40 visits, others will take 3, and this does change by the category type. So in loans, the average person only visits 4.2 sites.

They visit 2.8 unique sites and visit them 1.5 times each. So 1.5 times each is not that many. So it's a much more direct response industry than travel, which is a much more keyword research-based industry.

Let us now look at the types of keywords.

Types of Keywords

When we start thinking about keywords from a very high conceptual level, there are several different types of words that are easy to classify and start to focus on for your advertising efforts.

So, the easiest keywords to think about and research are explicit keywords; these are words that directly describe what a user is looking for.

There are mainly four types of keywords: Explicit keywords, Problem keywords, Symptom words, and Product parts and product numbers. They are explained below in detail.

Explicit keywords:

  • Plumber

  • Chicago plumber

  • Plumber websites

  • Certified plumber

It's obvious the user is looking for a plumber or plumbing services from these queries.

Easy ones to think of, easy ones to use, but because they're easy ones, they often have more competition on them.

Problem keywords:

Problem keyword is the actual problem the user is trying to solve. So they have:

  • Flooded basement

  • Water in their basement

  • How do to get water out of the basement?

Symptom words:

These are the keywords to understand what caused the problem like:

  • How to fix that problem?

  • Broken pipe

  • Fixing pipe

  • Pipe repair

  • Basement pipes

Product parts and product numbers:

  • P-1011 ¾

  • ¾ inch copper pipe

  • Copper Basement Pipe

Now, these four types of keywords tell stories like you have a broken pipe that caused your basement to flood. Now you need a plumber to come out and fix it, and the pipe type that broke is a P1011.

So, by kind of thinking through stories, use case scenarios for users, you can often come up with good keywords to use.

Let us now look into some keyword considerations.

Keyword considerations

When you think about the Searcher, in the United States, about 250,000 times per year, someone's watching a game on a Saturday, and they live in Chicago, the temperature is ten below outside.

So their pipes freeze, they break, they need a plumber to come out and fix it. This is a fairly common scenario.

The ways the user could search are dramatically different. You can range from flooded basement to geographic queries like Chicago plumber, to local plumbing services, to pipe repair.

So you need to, to think about Searchers and how they're thinking and what they're looking for, as you go through your keyword research and think about how you want to reach users.

Let us now understand how to know your keywords better.

Do You Know Your Keywords?

As you do your keyword research, you also want to keep in mind, when you see something that doesn't make sense, you might need to separate this out or be more different with your ad copies.

Let us consider a scenario with Search Query - Bleach.

Query: Bleach

Gender: Male - Oriented with the following confidence.

Male: 0.62

Female: 0.38

For instance, the word bleach, up until over a decade ago, the word bleach was primarily searched for by a female between 25 and 40 years of age. Essentially, how do you make your whites whiter?

Age: 18- 24 Oriented with the following distribution.

age-wise-orientation-in-keyword-considerationNow that has not been the searcher, the primary searcher, for this word for over ten years. The primary searcher is a young male, and it's not because young males are suddenly doing all their laundry.

There's a Japanese show called Bleach, it's changed these search results, so if you search for bleach, you'll see some things about laundry. You'll see others about DVDs and the TV show.

When you have these items that describe multiple industries, you want to make e note so that you can change your ads for them, and we'll get into ads in a later module. If you have an ad that says, “are you looking for bleach information? We have all your bleach information here.”

That spoke to two completely different demographics with two user intents. If your ad says, “get your whites whiter,” talk about laundry, you've now spoken to one demographic. If your ad says “buy Season 7 DVDs”, it's a different demographic.

So, as you're doing your keyword research, if you see words that  don't make sense to you, like, “why is this in my suggested list?” Take a deeper look, and it's not that the word might not be a good word to use, it's that it needs to be very specific in the ad which of your demographics and which user intents you're trying to address.

Search Query Frequency & Length

You are never going to find every keyword. It's not possible. The statistics from Google is that 20% of search queries each day are either new, or they haven't been done in the last six months.

So when you consider that Google processes billions and billions of queries per month, you're not going to find every one of these queries if 20% are unique words.

On Google, about 54% of queries are more than three words in length. So there is a lot of links to longer words, as well. So don't think it's one-word keywords you want to use, you want to think of more the universe which we'll get into.

Let’s look into another concept ‘Search Volume’ to be aware of on search queries is how often it's searched for.

Search Volume

Not every keyword is searched the same. Some words have a huge volume. Others have very small volume because of the more specific the word, the smaller the search volume.

The more general the word, the higher the search volume. Now we'll examine how to find keyword search volume, when we get in, into our practices module.

Note that when you find a word that's very specific and high volume, that's a great search query to use, because the user has shown what they want in that intent.

When you see words that aren't as specific with super high volume, you might not want always to use them, and this gets into budgeting and so forth., which we'll cover throughout this course. But if you see a word like hiking boots, it's got 60,000 searches per month, and you've got a $1,000 monthly budget.

Well, that's probably not a good word to use, because you can spend your budget on much more specific words, like waterproof hiking boots. Now if you've got a huge budget, then you want to use them all.

So as you do your keyword research, you have to keep your budget in mind when you look at volume, how much or how little you want some of these words, based upon how much they can spend and their potential conversion rates.

Let us understand adwords account Hierarchy in a keyword organization in the next section.

AdWords Account Hierarchy

So, when we think of keyword organization, we have to go back to our adwords account hierarchy first. Adwords account Hierarchy in a keyword organization can be explained below.

account-hierarchy-in-an-keyword-organizationSo, we have an adwords account. Then in the account, we have a campaign. Campaign levels are display settings, such as your geography.

Then you have an ad group in a campaign. An ad group is a collection of ads and keywords. These ads and keywords need to be related to each other.

It's not always about finding keywords; it's about also grouping them appropriately with ads, which we'll look at.

Now you can have more than one ad group, and you can have more than one campaign and so, this is when you start to think about not  your keywords, but it can mean more useful to start thinking about your ad groups such as:

  • How many ad groups do you want?

  • How are these ad groups different from each other?

  • How to populate ad groups with keywords after that.

Potential Keyword Groupings

So, there's a lot of different ways you can group keywords, and none of these are right and wrong. They have different advantages and disadvantages.

Keyword Types

You could do it by keyword types:

  • Direct keywords

  • Symptom keywords

  • Part numbers

This is a really easy way to group them because you group the keywords by their keyword type and then you subsegment them, which we'll get into in a second, and then your ads are all related to your keywords.

Buying cycle

You can also group them by buying cycle such as:

  • Awareness and Interest

  • Learning

  • Shopping words

  • Buying words

That's an excellent way of grouping them by intent. So a buying word needs to go to a product page or a direct response page, a shopping keyword needs to go to a category, a way of comparing items. So, these aren't right and wrong. They're different ways to sort of think about organization.

Let’s now look into the Ad Groups.

Defining Ad Groups

When we think about this organization, and we look at our ad groups, our keywords and say, what keywords should we use, and how granular should these ad groups be.

So let's say we're selling Nike shoes and sandals, and we have this initial list of words:

  • Shoes

  • Nike Shoes

  • Nike Sandals

  • Nike Running Shoes

  • Hiking Shoes

  • Tennis Shoes

  • Sandals

  • Hiking Sandals

  • Running Sandals

First off, shoes and sandals are generic words, because when someone searches for a show, you don't know if they want shoe repair, dress shoes, they want to find a cobbler, and so these words have such basic intent that it could be anything. They're usually not good words.

Now once you get some experience, you have some data on your more specific words, you might try them, but they're not good ones to start with. So when we think about Nike running shoes and running sandals,some people would group them.

They're running, but they're not the same. First off, a shoe and sandals are different items or different footwear. One of these is a brand, Nike. The other is not a brand.

So we want these to be different ad groups because their ad is going to be different for them. One needs to talk about shoes and the brand, and one needs to talk about sandals.

Now, hiking shoes, it's different. No longer running, different activity, hiking and should be a different ad group. Hiking sandals are different footwear and so different ad group.

In reality, these aren't keywords; they're ad groups. Now the ad group might have that same keyword in it along with some others, but this is where we need to think about our ad group structure first before we populate it with keywords.

In the following section of this Keyword Organization Tutorial, we will try to understand the “two-word” rule for choosing your ad groups.

The "Two Word" Rule

So an easy rule,  to sort of work with from a very beginner level, is the Two Word rule. When you put words into Ad Groups, or you put words from your Ad Groups as actual keywords in that Ad Group, do they have two words in common.

  • Hiking shoes

  • Nike Hiking shoes

  • Red Hiking shoes

  • Size 11 Hiking Shoes

  • Trail Hiking Shoes

  • Hiking shoe boots

  • Hiking shoes waterproof

For instance, every one of these words has the word hiking shoes in it. Now one's hiking shoes; one's Nike hiking shoes, one's trail hiking shoes. So they're different words, but they have at least two words in common. So, this gets into time versus possibilities.

So from a time standpoint, starting with the two-word rule is an easy way to begin, and then once we get data, we can start to do some segments past that.

You might look at this and say, they all have hiking shoes. So Nike hiking shoe. It's a brand. It's more specific and you want to make that a different ad group.

But red, green, blue they can, they're adjectives of hiking shoe, they're not significantly different so that we can make those keywords. Size 11, size 10, size 12, again a modifier, same Ad Group. But a hiking shoe waterproof that's more specific.

Could be a different ad group and so what you don't want is one ad group of 1,000 keywords. 1,000 keywords aren't related. But you also don't want to spend so much time creating ad groups; you never launch an adwords account.

So, starting with the two-word rule is a good starting place, especially for beginners. But as you get more experienced, you might look and say, waterproof should be its ad group and Nike, it's a brand, it should be its ad group.

So we can make a Nike hiking shoe ad group, an Adidas hiking shoe ad group, so forth. But from a basic standpoint, Two Word Rule, a great place to start and then work from data.

If you've got more experience then, and you're good at creating adwords accounts, you'll get some experience with that, then make these into three or four different ad groups would be a better way to start. But it takes more time.

That's the big thing with, with adwords account builds time versus possibility. As you're picking these keywords though, and as you're thinking of these ad groups, you have to consider that landing page.

You need to decide where are you going to send traffic to if the page does not describe the keyword, that product is not on the page, that service is not the page and needs to be a different ad group.

So, if you looked at your page and said, waterproof hiking boots are not on this page. We have a different page for this, different ad group and so all keywords in an ad group should be able to share an ad and a landing page. If they don't share these, needs to be different ad groups.

Let us now understand how we can organize Ad Groups.

Organizing Ad Groups

Organizing Ad Groups is important. If we have an ad that says payroll services, we pay and file payroll taxes for you, call for a free quote, we could have keywords, and payroll services.

Small business payroll, corporate payroll services, payroll software, and some people might say, these all are about payroll services, maybe not specific but they're able payroll services that ad works.

Now from an example standpoint, let's say that the user searched for corporate Payroll services. That's the user's search query, and you have:

  • The ad that says payroll services call for a free quote.

  • The ad that says corporate payroll services streamline your corporation.

The user's going to click on the ad that talks about corporate information more than the generic information. This is where being specific to the words in that ad on that landing page are important. So this really shouldn't be one ad group. This should be one for payroll services.

A different one for corporate payroll services, with a different ad, and then payroll tax services are different. Small businesses have different needs than corporations, and of course, software is different than a service.

So why these keywords initially might look related to an ad, in reality when you start thinking about that user, this is four or five different ad groups.

So a Workflow to start with then is have a landing page in mind, have an ad in mind, and then if does it match the ad, it needs to go to a different ad group.

If it matches the ad then but does not match to your landing page, then put in a different ad group.

So only keywords that match the ad copy and the landing page should be added to an ad group.

This is why determining your Ad groups first is a good step and then populate that Ad group with keywords based upon it matching an ad and a landing page.

Post Launch Organization

Once you launch, you're going to start to get statistics. So that's  click-through rate such as:

  • How often someone clicks on your ad or conversion rate?

  • How often they convert?

This is going to help you with your organization and can be explained better in the below table.



Conversion rate

Keyword 1



Keyword 2



Keyword 3



Keyword 4



Keyword 5



If this were one ad group, and all these keywords were in an ad group, we have this top keyword here; it's click-through rate 2%.

The other keywords are 2.4 to 0.3, that's our outlier. But it's a decent click-through rate which means the ad for that keyword is good.

However, it has a 0.5% conversion rate which is significantly lower than all the other keywords. This means the landing page is not good for that keyword. So this keyword needs to go to a different ad group.

Now if it's a high volume word, you've got an ad that works. It's got a 2% click-through rate. So you might make a new ad group with a different page for this keyword.

If you look and say, this ad or something very similar in this ad group but a different landing page, it can go to that ad group. So you may move it to an established ad group, or create a new one.

Now, we have this other keyword. It's got a 4.8% conversion rate. It's roughly in line with the other keywords with our outlier exception of the keyword one.

But, it's click-through rate is significantly less than all the other ads. This tells you the ad does not work for this keyword, but the landing page does.

So this keyword should be in a different ad group probably using the same landing page, but with different ad text and so, your initial goal then is to lay out your ad groups.

Then populate them with keywords, the more granular, the better. Then look at your statistics and look for the outliers:

  • Below norm click-through rate

  • Below norm conversion rates

They either may be words not good keywords for you and you can remove it from your adwords account. If you want to keep it, you can put it in a different ad group.


This brings us to the end of this Introducing Keywords, Part 1: Keyword Basics & Keyword Organization lesson. In the next lesson, we will look at the Introducing Keywords, Part 2: The Long Tail & Keyword Discovery

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