Image with a list of words

Keyword Research Guide for Digital Advertising Challenges


Keyword research is a crucial aspect of running successful marketing campaigns. By now, everyone probably knows that the first few results on search results pages get the most clicks and traffic. Hence, everyone is trying to position their company website, blog, or web shop in the first few results. To be able to rank high for a particular keyword, you need to do some proper research first.

Keyword research is a crucial aspect of any successful Google Ads campaign. With the right strategy, you can target the right audience and drive valuable actions.

By delving into the world of keywords, you can precisely target your audience and increase profits. The right keywords are like magic keys that unlock the door to your potential audience. By selecting the most relevant keywords, your ads have the potential to reach the people actively searching for what you offer.

Let’s get started with some basics first.

What is keyword research?

Birdview of a table with 2 people discussing marketing analysis

Marketing analysis and planning

First, let’s define what we mean by “keyword research”. Keyword research is the process of identifying and analyzing the search terms that people enter into search engines to find information. In simpler terms, it means showing your ads to the right people at the right time to capture valuable actions.

Why is keyword research important?

Without proper keyword research, you risk targeting the wrong audience, wasting your advertising budget, and missing out on revenue. Thorough research empowers you with valuable insights into your target audience’s needs and wants, enabling you to craft highly effective campaigns that deliver optimal results. If you’re struggling with identifying your target audience, read our blog post on what to do before starting your marketing campaigns.

To ensure your ads appear at the right moment to the right person, you need to focus on targeting and bidding on specific keywords relevant to you. If you sell handbags, targeting search terms associated with handbags will yield the best results.

Keyword research basics

There are various elements that impact what keywords you should use and in what format.

We’ll take you step-by-step through each element and explain how each affects your strategy.

Understand keyword match types

Let’s start by explaining the different match types you can choose from in Google Ads:

  • broad match – this is the default option for keywords. The main benefit is that it shows your ad to searches that include your keyword or a variation of it (think synonyms, misspellings, and related searches). This match type provides the widest reach but may result in irrelevant clicks.
  • phrase match – this match type shows your ad for searches that include your keyword phrase in the exact order you specify, with additional words before or after the phrase. Use this option to achieve a more targeted reach.
  • exact match – with this setting, your ad shows only for searches that exactly match your keyword or your phrase, without any additional words. This match type provides the most targeted reach but may result in higher costs. 

A combination of each of these match types empowers you to control the reach and relevance of your ads, ensuring they show to the right users.

Consider search volume

The second factor to keep an eye out for is search volume. Keyword search volume indicates the number of times a search term is searched for within a specific period, usually a month. A keyword worth targeting should generate a sufficient number of searches so that your ad can show results. A higher volume of searches indicates there is an interest and demand for that particular keyword.

High search volume keywords can drive more traffic to your website, but they are likely to be more competitive and drive up your costs. Low-volume keywords may have less competition and lower costs but may not generate enough traffic to be worth targeting. To balance this, consider using a mix of broad, phrase, and exact match types to get a wider range of relevant searches while balancing costs.

Keyword difficulty

Considering keyword difficulty is another important ingredient for your keyword research process. Keyword difficulty will tell you the level of competition for your chosen keyword. High difficulty means there is high competitiveness of bidding on that keyword. This means many advertisers are targeting that keyword, resulting in increased competition for ad placements and increased costs to show up for that keyword in the first place. Basically, you need to bid higher to rank for that keyword, which drives your costs up.

How to do keyword research?

Before you can start with the process of finding the keywords to target, you need to find the balance of all the factors we mentioned, search volume and keyword difficulty, and pair these with keyword match types in your PPC campaigns.


The next stage of keyword research is about finding the actual keywords to bid for.

How to find keyword ideas?

If you feel stuck, rest assured we’ve all been there. Finding the right keywords that are relevant to you takes time. It is an ongoing process that can be time-consuming, but if executed well, it can bring in more revenue. While you need to know what keywords are relevant for you, take advantage of the vast pool of information Google has to find some keywords you didn’t think of.

Question mark and a dark headshot of a person

Question mark and a dark headshot of a person

We recommend you do the following steps for the best results:

  • Brainstorm: brainstorm a list of keywords relevant to you. Start with your core products and think about how your users might search for them. Consider different variations, synonyms, and related terms.
  • Google Autocomplete: use Google’s Autocomplete feature to generate keyword ideas based on what people already search for. Start by typing in the keyword and see what suggestions come up. Select the ones you see as relevant and potentially profitable.
  • Competitor analysis: analyze your competitor’s websites and PPC campaigns to see what keywords they are targeting. Analyze their landing pages and ad copy and look for common themes, messaging, and phrases that might signal what they’re competing for.

Luckily for all of us, we are not alone in this process. There’s a pool of various tools you can use to assist you with generating ideas and finding the right keywords for your advertising campaigns.

Google Keyword Planner

One tool that can greatly assist you in this process is Google Keyword Planner. It is a free tool provided by Google that offers valuable insights into keyword search volume, competition, and cost-per-click. It helps guide your research to identify high-potential keywords for your business.

Let’s say you own a gym and want to run PPC campaigns to promote your gym. You’ll enter the search term “gym” to get started, and Google Keyword Planner will generate a list of related keywords and phrases that you can use. You can sort the list by search volume and competition to strike a balance between popularity and competitiveness. During this process, refer back to the keyword basics we mentioned before.

The tool also has historical data and forecasting features so you can see the performance of the keyword over time and its predicted future performance.

Overview of a select keyword

Overview of a select keyword

Google Search Console

Google Search Console is another free tool from Google. It helps you monitor your website’s performance in search results. It provides data on your website’s search traffic, including what keywords people use to find your site, your website’s click-through rate, and average position in search results. By going to the reports section, you can find a list of queries users have used to get to you. Sort this by clicks, impressions, CTR, and position to find keywords with potential.


Google Trends

Complement these tools with Google Trends to discover trending topics related to your keywords. To continue with our previous example, type “fitness centre” into Google Trends. Here, you can:

  • explore search trends – explore the search graph, which displays the popularity of the term. You can adjust this by location and time range to see variations in popularity.
  • discover related topics – there are also related topics and queries associated with your keyword. Use these to compare the performance of keywords and find new ones to rank for.
  • compare search terms – compare the popularity of multiple search terms to see how they relate and find any new searches you can use in your campaigns.
Graph showing interest for a keyword over time

Graph showing interest in a keyword over time


Uberssugest is another keyword research tool. You will get data on monthly search volumes, cost-per-clicks, and traffic estimates. We’d recommend you give this tool a try as it helps you:

  • generate keyword ideas
  • analyze search volume
  • analyze your competition
  • discover related keywords
  • get content ideas


There are many different elements that affect your results, so you should always monitor your campaigns as things change constantly. But keep in mind that keyword research is part of a larger strategy, and all these elements interlink and affect each other. Make sure you are aware of these relationships and how having the right approach can make or break your business (hint: there are some things you definitely shouldn’t do in your digital strategy).


1. How often should I conduct my keyword research?

Keyword research should be an ongoing process.  Search trends and user behaviour change over time. We urge you to do keyword research at least once a month to ensure your website and PPC campaigns are optimized for the most relevant and effective keywords. But the frequency may vary depending on your campaigns, industry, and competition. Don’t take our advice as set in stone. Frequently monitor your keyword performance for best results and research your competition to stay competitive.

2. How do I prioritize my keyword list?

When prioritizing your keyword list, consider search volume, keyword difficulty, relevance to your business, and the potential ROI as your metrics to guide you in this process. Target keywords that have a good balance of search volume and competition to ensure the best spend of your advertising money.

3. How do I optimize my Google Ads campaigns for keywords?

To optimize your campaigns and ensure they deliver optimal results, include them in your ad copy and landing pages. Use relevant keywords in your ad headlines and descriptions, and ensure your landing pages contain the keywords you are targeting in your campaigns. Set up your main campaign metrics to guide you in this (you also need to fully understand what campaign metrics you should keep an eye out for) to ensure your campaigns are optimized for the best results.