I had a reader email me yesterday to ask: “Do misspelled keywords still work?” The short answer is yes. I went back to try to quantify just how well they do work, and for one campaign I found a single misspelled keyword had generated $16,189 in just the last 12 months! That’s revenue that would have been missed if not for adding misspelled keywords to the campaign. So I would say they definitely are still working.
Even though services like Google show the “did you mean” line with the correct spelling of the searchers keyword, your ad still runs on the initial misspelled search. That search is usually less crowded than the main keyword. Google, Yahoo and MSN all recommends you should add misspelled keywords to catch more impressions and clicks.
How to run misspelled keywords.
I like to break out misspellings into their own adgroup, or sometimes even their own campaign. Keep in mind misspelled keywords in ads are technically not allowed, so your quality score might be lower for these groups because the keyword won’t exactly match the ad/landing page. That’s why its good to separate them from your main groups or campaigns.
Misspellings can run on any PPC service, but they seem to work best on Adcenter. (I’m not sure what that says about MSN users). The percentage of misspelled keyword clicks that actually lead to conversions is higher than Google or Yahoo.
How to find misspelled keywords.
Some services like MSN Adcenter have their own free tool.
If you search for “free misspelled keyword” there are many online tools that will generate common misspellings.
SEObook has a great example here.
I’ve been using Keyword Discovery for over 3 years now, and it seems to be the best at finding misspellings that actually convert. The $16,000 keyword I found was generated by the program.
Misspelled keywords are no secret, they have been working for years and should continue to work in the future. So don’t overlook this important staple of any pay per click campaign.
I get a lot of questions about using long tail keywords. There is a very fine line to walk when using long tail keywords because of 2 opposite forces working in a PPC campaign.
1. Long tail keywords convert very well, when the finally get impressions.
2. If they don’t get impressions and clicks, they can hurt your account.
So knowing when to keep them and when to remove them is critical to the health of your PPC account. This is one of those areas that is more art than science. I wish there was an exact formula to use, but no matter what a “guru” might tell you, there is not. There is a pretty strong consensus though that keeping a keyword in your account that doesn’t get impressions will hurt the quality of your account.
Personally, I don’t use a lot of very long tail keywords. When sorting through a list, I usually delete keywords that are more than 4 words, and phrases longer than 40 characters. The odds of hitting a phrase that long, especially on an exact match are pretty remote.
I also like to run a tight ship in my campaigns – if something hasn’t got any clicks and minimal impressions in about 3 months, its time to go.
I focus a lot on shorter tail high volume keywords, but long tails are definitely part of a winning campaign if used correctly. What is your take on long tails?
Keyword research and tools have changed a lot since I started with affiliate marketing. Tons of new services have popped up – some are good, most are not. My own use of tools has changed completely in the past 2 years. Back then I used Wordtracker and Keyword Discovery as my primary tools. As more tools came on the market I tried them all, but none were worth switching for me.
Lately though the best tools out there, in my opinion, are free. The top of the list is the Google keyword tool. They have made significant updates to the tool, especially in the last 6 months. The keywords it pulls and the way you can group them together is very good. If I had just one tool to use, this would be it.
In addition to the Google keyword tool, MSN adcenter excel plugin has always worked very well. It pulls some different words than Google which can give you a good mix to add to any campaign.
Of course your brain is the best keyword tool. There are some things out there to help with thinking of keywords like an online thesaurus and dictionary. Lastly, a simple but amazingly effective freeware keyword tool that I love is by Overware software. It may not look like much, but it works perfectly for combining words and phrases together to generate new key phrases. Plus its pre-loaded with all the sales words.
With all the great free options these days, I don’t think its really necessary to pay for keyword service.
So what are your favorite tools?
There are a ton of keyword tools out there both free and paid. But, some of the best and most innovative tools these days are coming from MSN. Yes, I said MSN not Google. Their Adcenter Labs site is really putting out some cool gadgets lately that I am using a lot.
Here’s some examples:
Demographics predictor You type in a keyword, and it shows you the predicted demographics of who might be searching for this term. That is really important information for targeting you campaigns and ads, as well as good data to use for Google content network targeting;)
Keyword Mutation Detection This is a great misspelling and typo tool.
Keyword Group Detection This tool finds groups of keywords related to your original keyword. Great data.
Ad Text Writer Type in a URL and this tool will write text ads based on the content of the site. Doesn’t always work great, but fun to play around with.
Entity Association Graph This one is really cool. Type in a keyword and the tool show other entries that co-occur within the same user session. You can adjust your hop levels and edge strength with sliders. This kind of info is gold for search marketers.
These are just a few of the many tools MSN has. If you really want to dive into your niche and learn everything about it, these free tools are a great place to start. Remember, to dominate your niche, you have to know everything there is to know about it. Research is the key.
If you are a stock trader, you watch the market trends all day. If you are a pay per click marketer, you should be keeping up on keyword trends every day too. The keyword marketplace is always changing and new keywords are surging for different reasons. I have posted before how the savvy marketer can capitalize on surging keywords to make huge profits. Fortunately this data is readily available, and the best source is the Google Hot Trends feed. This is updated usually about 10 times a day so the info is very fresh. If I could keep only one feed in my reader this would be it. No other site has ever helped me make more money than this feed.
I guarantee this RSS feed will make you money!
Enjoy and good luck!
If you have found a campaign and offer that is converting well, you probably are already running customized landing pages based on the keyword used. For example is someone searches for “carbon fiber golf clubs” you have the word “carbon fiber golf clubs” on the landing page. You probably grab the search term and display it on your page with PHP. Pretty common sense stuff. But I like to take it one step further to squeeze a higher conversion percentage from my landing pages. It’s all about choosing the type of landing page based on the intent of the keyword. Certain keywords are used by searchers at different buying stages of the buying cycle. So you don’t want to send someone looking for general information to the same landing pages as someone ready to buy. To determine what type of landing page would be best, you need to determine the web searchers intent for term they typed in.
It’s probably best described with an example:
Say you are pushing an offer on CJ for DVD players. If someone searches the term “Blue Ray DVD players”, to me that says the person is in an information gathering or comparison mode. So it makes sense to send them to a comparison type landing page. That kind of page could list different models, pros and cons, the “editors pick” (of course all of are your affiliate links). On the other hand if a person searches for “Sony BDP-S550”**, that is a person ready to buy. Model numbers are super high converting keywords and those searchers don’t need a lot of pre-sellling, if any at all. In fact, this would be a great term to direct link to the offers sales page if you can get away with it. If you have to go through a landing page, a minimal pass-through page should convert best.
There are no tools out there that will tell you the intent of the searcher typing in a keyword, and which landing page would go with it. That’s where your creativity comes in as an affiliate. But if you just put yourself in the mindset of the consumer, it should guide you in the right direction, and lead to better converting campaigns.
**(If this was a brand restricted keyword you could try leaving off the “sony”, just bid on “BDP-S550″ and phrase match it to grab the impression based off a “Sony BDP-S550″ search)
With all the keyword tools out there, it’s very easy to generate a huge keyword list in a short amount of time. By the time you grab all the short terms, long tail phrases, an every possible permutation of buy words, geo terms, and mis-spelling errors, your list can be totally unmanageable in size. So the first step I always do when I am building out a new campaign is to scrub down my keyword list.
Scrubbing the list is basically removing any non converting keywords from your list, before inserting them in your campaign. Negative keywords are great, but not having the keywords in your account to being with is even better. What I do is first gather all possible keywords from every source I can find. Keyword Discovery is my first tool of choice, but I also use all the free tools from Google, Yahoo, MSN, and others to make sure I have grabbed every possible word. I place them all into my keyword slicing/dicing program. (Sorry I can’t provide a link, I searched all over for a good one and never found it, so I had a program coded based on what I needed).
Here are some examples of things I scrub out:
1. Dupes. First thing is to remove all duplicates from the master list.
2. 50 characters and longer are deleted. I have never had terms this long convert well enough to keep them in my campaigns, so I axe them at the start.
3. I run a number search, 1-9 on the list. Often these are really bad keywords, like people typing their account numbers or phone numbers into the search field. Odds are they will never be searched on again.
4. Profanity/sexual terms. Most PPC providers will decline these, so best to remove them yourself.
5. Spam terms. I have a whole list of the common spammy terms people append on to common search terms. I don’t want those on my final clean list.
6. GEO terms. If you are running a US based offers, you want to scrub all other country related terms from your list. I remove all terms relating to the non-converting countries, and cities in those countries.
These are just a few examples of things I scrub. The more you can scrub your master keyword list before beginning to build your campaigns, the less work it is for you down the road. Plus your campaign will have an overall better quality score. Remember, we are all working with essentially the same keywords, it’s how you use them, and don’t use them that will make you successful.
This post is keeping with the contrarian theme of the last post. When people talk about keywords these days, all you hear about is long tail keywords. These generally refer to the low volume, low cost, higher word count keywords in a niche. I am all for using these words to your advantage; I certainly do. But it seems people have forgotten the importance of the “short tail” or top keywords. There is usually a group of 10 terms or less that account for 95% of the search volume for a given niche. So much time and energy is given to working that long tail, that some people seem to ignore that the vast majority of money to be made in a niche is in the top keywords. They are definitely harder to rank well in, and more expensive, but you can make your margins in sheer volume working the “short tail” keywords.
So my advice for the day is, let everyone talk about the long tail, but don’t forget about where the real money is made = the “short tail”!