What Is Google Ads Keyword Expansion?
Simply put, paid search keyword expansion is the practice of adding more relevant keywords to your PPC account so that you can attract more traffic and leads for your business.
In general, you can expand your keyword lists through mining your own account or through research. You can then incorporate those keywords into current campaigns or build out new ones using the new search terms as a base.
Following a keyword expansion framework is a great starting point. A dartboard framework, for instance, could help you keep growing through further keyword expansion by focusing on four key rings:
Branded keywords for prospects ready to buy with brand bias
Category keywords for people searching for your solution using words that describe their pain-point
Adjacent category keywords for users searching for closely related solutions who might be swayed to consider your solution as complementary/alternative
Ideal customer profile (ICP) keywords for people searching for terms that are unrelated to your solution but could strongly identify as your ICP based on the intent behind their search
Regardless of the framework you choose to follow, it’s vital to know that keyword expansion is not a standalone practice.
To grow your account, you will need to implement other PPC best practices, as well. These often include smart bid optimization, proper campaign structure, strong ad copy, and powerful landing pages.
The Power of Keyword Expansion and Intent-Optimized Landing Pages
A dartboard-like framework can also be a useful tool for illustrating how keyword expansion and query intent work together.
Simply put, as you move further out from the bullseye, you start to dilute the intent of the search query. At the same time, there’s still a certain click-through rate (CTR) and conversion rate that you can expect. The goal here is to keep expanding the keywords further and further away from the bullseye until you are no longer receiving a positive return on ad spend (ROAS).
It’s also worth noting that, when it comes to SaaS, going to adjacent categories and considering the adjacent intent can help you unveil massive keyword expansion opportunities.
Where many SaaS marketers tend to run into trouble is expanding those keywords without having a clear landing page strategy for each type of intent.
Regardless of what your brand does, however, remember that each type of search intent represents an opportunity for your business. Effectively, better intent optimization will result in more qualified and relevant traffic to your site, as well as improved conversion rates for your transactional landing pages.
Here’s a quick example to consider: In 2018, one of our top clients, Output, launched their first SaaS product – Arcade. A key element of the SaaS growth marketing formula for Arcade was leveraging keyword expansion with Google Search ads.
Expanding the keyword list helped immensely with uncovering more specific, long-tail keyword opportunities. By targeting adjacent keyword groups, we were further able to capture users looking for similar products, while testing new ad copies.
Creating personalized landing pages gave us more relevance for specific audience segments. With them, we were able to discover and capture sales from huge audiences unfamiliar with the brand, essentially leading to well over 100k subscriptions in just 16 months.
How to Get Started With Landing Page Expansion
In today’s highly saturated Google landscape, providing content that matches intent is key to ranking higher. In fact, according to Google itself, every single ad group in Google Ads should now have its own unique landing page, regardless of the account structure.
After all, having tailored ads will attract more potential customers, but they won’t stay long if they can’t easily find what they’re looking for (i.e. the product or service featured in your ad).
Ultimately, not keeping pace and sending new keyword clicks to old landing pages will hurt your conversion rates and result in missed keyword expansion opportunities.
One of the best ways to match keyword expansion with landing page expansion is to create landing page templates where you can plug in different elements.
You could, for example, start by scaling up creative changes above the fold (i.e. the immediately visible area of screen real estate). This could include changing the headline to match the intent, or swapping out images or videos.
Start Creating More Powerful PPC Campaigns
Surely, creating landing pages that speak to all those different types of intent for all expanded keywords is a time-consuming task.
Done well, however, keyword expansion – together with powerful landing pages and great campaign structure – can help you boost the performance of your PPC accounts.
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