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Choosing the Right Keywords for B2B Search Ads

In this blog, we're going to take a look at how to choose the right keywords for your paid ads campaigns.

This blog is designed as an accompaniment to our PPC training videos, but can also be read as a stand-alone blog.                             

Watch the PPC training video here:


How to Select the Right Keywords for B2B Search Ads

PPC Toolkit for SaaS & Technology Companies

So once you're in the Google Ads platform, head to the keyword planner as usual to discover new keywords. For the sake of this blog and video, we're going to use 'HR Software' as an example. This is our generic search term, then we'll download our keywords onto a Google sheet.

You'll have a big long list of all kinds of search queries that come with the keyword 'HR Software' in the Google sphere. Now before we dive into tactics or structure there are three key focal points to keep in mind while doing keyword research. The first one is to always put yourself in your customer's shoes, as it rules out any type of guesswork.

You can never know what your customers are going to be searching for. So why not let what they search dictate the content, keywords and search queries that you bid on? Because at the end of the day, it is what they search for and the type of intent that they put into their search queries, that is important.

Another tip is to be wary of search volume over search intent. A quick example is 'HR Software', which has huge amounts of search volume. But these types of keywords will most likely be more expensive without giving much return. So we'll go further down the list where you have a more specific term 'Employee Onboarding Software'.

If it's specific, it's got a different level of intent and has less volume, but we would most likely see a better ROI on this type of keyword. So on that note, diving into a few tips on the 'Traffic Light System' for discovering keywords for a campaign, I like to start off with identifying keywords at the 'Top of the Funnel'.

Using the Traffic Light System 

So take out from the generic pile any keywords that are top of the funnel. Using the traffic light system to go through opportunities, we can see that all these top-of-the-funnel keywords have been trending over the past three months. This is good news. This means people are looking for this type of product more and more over the past three months and over the past year.

Moving on to the next point, we have a couple of keywords here that have low volume and a low level of competition as well. Then we look at the cost per click (CPC). So here we have green across the board, meaning these keywords are good to use. So 'HR System' turned out to be a better keyword to go forward with in this campaign. Using the keyword 'HR System Software' as well, we see this keyword is green across the board.

So we would recommend going forward with these keywords and testing these, first of all, as they seem to have the highest level of opportunity at this stage. Moving to the next ad group in our campaign. We would go for more of the 'Middle of the Funnel' keywords at this stage that are longer tail, slightly less volume and have a higher level of buyer's intent.

The key phrase 'HR Software for Small Businesses' has got a specific message behind the keyword. It is focussing on small businesses looking for HR software, therefore has a higher level of buyer intent than the previous ad group. Now we can identify a couple of keywords here across the board.

Because this ad group has a higher level of buyer intent, the CPC can be slightly higher because we would see a better ROI from these keywords. Then moving right into the 'Bottom of the Funnel', we can see 'Construction', 'HR Software', 'HR Software for Construction Companies'. These are very, very specific.

These types of specific keywords are used by someone who's looking for a very niche type of service or product. We can see that it's trending and has a low level of competition for this type of keyword and a fairly low average CPC. Therefore, we would see a maximum return from these couple of keywords at the bottom of the funnel. So we would bid more aggressively at this stage.

Expert Keyword Management 

These are the tactics we use here at Digital Media Stream for discovering new keywords at the very beginning stage of a campaign. Always remember that campaigns evolve and at each stage, we will take search queries and we will use negative keywords throughout the entire campaign.

But we will also take search queries from each ad group and add them to whichever stage of the funnel is most fitting for our search query. The idea is to push what we can to the bottom of the funnel and gain maximum return from those keywords. 

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Still looking for more PPC insights for your Tech or SaaS company? We’ve got you covered. Find out more through one of the article below: 

Or, why not check out our PPC Toolkit for SaaS & Technology Companies.