How to Take Your PPC Keyword Research to the Next Level

How to Take Your PPC Keyword Research to the Next Level

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While many marketers seek to refine keyword lists for their PPC campaigns, the truth is that expanding this PPC keyword list can be just as impactful to your PPC marketing strategy. Not only should you identify new keyword verticals that you haven’t previously explored with your campaigns, but you should also review your existing campaigns for new keyword opportunities.




Below, we’ll give discuss why keyword expansion is important and offer you some powerful tools for enhancing your PPC keyword research.

What is Keyword Expansion, and Why is it Important?

Finding the right keywords for your PPC campaigns is a vital part of your paid search marketing strategy. A stagnant keyword list can lead to stagnant PPC campaign results, which often translates to lost money and opportunities. Keyword expansion is the process of expanding your PPC keyword list through research and review of your own PPC account. By adding new, relevant keywords to your current keyword list, you can work to rank for more keywords and bring more traffic to your site.




It’s important to continuously expand your keyword list through PPC keyword research if you want to remain competitive and consistently improve campaign performance. Though you may already have what you consider to be a great PPC keyword list, there is a good chance that there are new opportunities that you’ve yet to discover. You may even be able to get lower cost-per-click (CPC) rates for these new keywords than the keywords that you’re currently bidding on.

Keyword Research

It’s important to note that expanding your keyword list does not mean just adding any old keywords. The new keywords need to be relevant if you want the traffic to your site to be relevant. The more relevant the site traffic that these new keywords bring in, the more conversion potential exists. In the end, more conversions lead to more revenue for your business. In other words, you want to ensure that the new keywords you add to your PPC keyword list are relevant so that they bring in the right kind of website traffic.

PPC Keyword Research Tools

PPC keyword research tools will play a significant role in your keyword expansion efforts. Below, we’ve put together a list of our favorite keyword research tools to help you expand your PPC keyword list:

Google Keyword Planner

Most marketers are pretty familiar with Google Keyword Planner, which can be a great resource for quickly expanding your PPC keyword list. To get started, all you need is a phrase, website, or product category, and Google takes care of the rest! One of the greatest benefits of this keyword planning tool is that it tells you what the traffic for the terms is most likely to be. It also provides bidding suggestions based on these keywords.

Remember, it’s important to revise the keyword list that you get when using Google’s keyword planning tool for keyword expansion. Just because Google suggests certain keywords does not mean that you absolutely must add them to your keyword list. The goal is to use the tool to generate new keywords and then choose the most relevant keywords suggestions to add to your list.

Google Insights for Search

Google Insights for Search is a lot like the Google Trends tool, but it provides more than just basic search trend data. With Google Insights for Search, you can also see top related search terms and rising search terms, making it a valuable tool for expanding your PPC keyword list. By bringing together keyword research with trend data, you can find more keyword phrases related to your current search terms as well as related searches that have recently increased in volume.

This tool is not only great for finding new PPC keywords, but it can also help you take advantage of recent trends in search terms. You can also use this tool for negative keyword research. If you find related search terms or rising searches that are not relevant to your company’s offering, you can add these to your negative keyword list to help reduce the irrelevant traffic that might be attracted from these keywords.

Bing Ads Intelligence

While Google certainly offers a number of awesome free tools that you can use for keyword research, don’t discount other free and insightful keyword research tools like Bing Ads Intelligence. This tool works as an Excel plugin that you can use while creating your keyword lists in Excel. Once you’ve installed the plugin, you are able to use it any time that you open up your Excel keyword spreadsheet.

To start using the tool, enter the keyword or group of keywords, select the appropriate cells, and then choose an option from the Ad Intelligence menu. Ad Intelligence will then deliver your results in a new tab in the Excel spreadsheet, making it easier than ever to upload this new keyword list into your PPC accounts.

Here are just a few of the tools that Bing Ads Intelligence offers:

  • Keyword Wizard –With “Keyword Wizard,” you can generate a new list of keywords, including CTR, CPC, clicks, and impressions. This list can be generated from a list of keywords that you already have, by putting in a URL, or searching by Vertical. This tool is not only great for generating a new list of keywords, but it can also help you decide which keywords may not fit within your PPC budget.
  • Keyword Suggestion –Another great feature of Ad Intelligence is the “Keyword Suggestion” button. Type in a few keywords that you’d like to expand on and choose from three options – campaign association, related search, or queries that contain your keywords.
  • Choosing a Vertical –You can also expand your keyword list by category or vertical. Click on the “Popular Keyword” option and then choose either “Traffic Spikes-Search” or “Top Frequent Search Queries.” Once you have selected your category, the tool will then generate a list of the top keywords that are related to this category.

Facebook and LinkedIn

Though social media platforms may not be the first thing that comes to mind for PPC keyword research, these channels can be a great place to learn more about what your target audience finds most important. One way to find relevant keywords through Facebook and LinkedIn is to log on to the platform and start typing your keyword into the search box. This will show you a list of suggestions based on your keyword. These suggestions are a great place to mine for new PPC keywords.

Though the suggestions themselves may not translate directly to new keywords, they will give you a better idea of what your target audience is talking about and what they find important. This is also a great place to get negative keywords. If you get suggestions that are not relevant to your business, you might want to use these as negative keywords to avoid getting unqualified or irrelevant traffic to your site from your PPC ads.


SEMRush is a paid tool that you can use to spy on your competitors and see what they are doing with their PPC keywords. Much like some of the other tools on this list, SEMRush allows you to see the changes in trends for keywords and traffic as well as the cost of the suggested keywords. This can go a long way in helping you determine which new keywords are worthwhile and should be added to your PPC keyword list.

PPC Keyword Research Tools - SEMRush

However, SEMRush has the added benefit of estimating how much of your competitor’s budget is spent on the keywords they are bidding on in their PPC campaigns. This can be helpful for you as it allows you to better determine which keywords are worth bidding on. You can use SEMRush to strategically bid on the keywords that will allow you to remain competitive with your PPC campaigns.


UberSuggest is a great third-party tool that you can use to expand your keyword list. This tool pulls data from Google’s Autocomplete tool, allowing you to see what opportunities there may be for new keywords. UberSuggest allows you to crawl Google Shopping, Google Image, and Google News for new keywords, which makes for some unique options that you may not have found on Google Autocomplete alone.

PPC Keyword Research Tools - UberSuggest

Another interesting feature of UberSuggest is its Word Cloud. The Word Cloud creates a visual representation of the keywords that show up most often. This can be a valuable resource in determining what keyword patterns exist, which can help you identify which keywords are worthwhile and should be added to your expanded keyword list. is another useful third party tool that can help you improve your keyword expansion efforts. Like UberSuggest, it pulls data from Google’s Autocomplete, making it easier to get keyword suggestions without manually typing in keywords to the Google search engine. However, unlike UberSuggest, this powerful keyword research tool also pulls information from Amazon, Bing, eBay, and other sites.

PPC Keyword Research Tools -

The fact that allows you to pull information from ecommerce sites makes it a great tool for ecommerce businesses that want to expand their keyword list. Even if you aren’t in the ecommerce space, this helpful tool is still allowing you to quickly and efficiently pull keyword ideas from many different sources all at once. In the end, this tool can help you save lots of time in generating many new keyword ideas.

Final Takeaways

If you want to get the best possible performance from your PPC campaigns, it’s time to start expanding your keyword list to reach more potential customers. You can use the keyword expansion tools above as a starting point to enhance your PPC keyword research strategy. Your expanded keyword list along with an optimized bidding strategy and effective campaign structure creates a recipe for PPC success. 

Author Bio

Andy Beohar

Andy Beohar

Andy Beohar is VP of SevenAtoms, a Google and HubSpot certified agency in San Francisco. Andy develops and manages ROI-positive inbound and paid marketing campaigns for B2B & Tech companies. Connect with Andy on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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