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Hack 82. Generate Google AdWords

You've written the copy and you've planned the budget. Now, what keywords are you going to use for your ad?

You've read about it and you've thought about it and you're ready to buy one of Google's AdWords. You've even got your copy together and you feel pretty confident about it. You've only got one problem now: figuring out your keywords, the search words that will trigger your AdWord to appear.

You're probably buying into the AdWords program on a budget, and you definitely want to make every penny count. Choosing the right keywords means that your ad will have a higher click-through rate. Thankfully, the Google AdWords program allows you to do a lot of tweaking, so if your first choices don't work, experiment, test, and test some more!

7.5.1. Choosing AdWords

So where do you get the search keywords for your ad? There are four places that might help you find them:

Log files

Examine your site's log files. How are people finding your site now? What words are they using? What search engines are they using? Are the words they're using too general to be used for AdWords? If you look at your log files, you can get an idea of how people who are interested in your content are finding your site. (If they weren't interested in your content, why would they visit?)

Examine your own site

If you have an internal search engine, check its logs. What are people searching for once they get to your site? Are there any common misspellings that you could use as an AdWord? Are there any common phrases that you could use?


What do people think of when they look at your site? What keywords do you want them to think of? Brainstorm about the product that's most closely associated with your site. What words come up?

Imagine someone goes to a store and asks about your products. How are they going to ask? What words would they use? Consider all the different ways someone could look for or ask about your product or service, and then consider if there's a set of words or a phrase that pops up over and over again.


If you've brainstormed until wax dribbles out your ears but you're no closer to coming up with words relevant to your site or product, visit some online glossaries to jog your brain. The Glossarist ( links to hundreds of glossaries on hundreds of different subjects. Check and see if they have a glossary relevant to your product or service, and see if you can pull some words from there.

7.5.2. Exploring Your Competitors' AdWords

Once you've got a reasonable list of potential keywords for your ad, take them and run them in the Google search engine. Google rotates advertisements based on the spending cap for each campaign, so even after running a search three or four times, you may see different advertisements each time. Use the AdWords scraper to save these ads to a file and review them later.

If you find a potential keyword that apparently contains no advertisements, make a note. When you're ready to buy an AdWord, you'll have to check its frequency; it might not be searched often enough to be a lucrative keyword for you. But if it is, you've found a potential advertising spot with no other ads competing for searchers' attentions.

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