SMX West 2012: Beyond The Google AdWords Tool: Advanced Keyword Research Tactics

SMX West logoModerator: Christine Churchill, President, KeyRelevance (@keyrelevance)


Cameron Cowan, Product Manager, Adobe (@SEMCameron)
Patricia Hursh, president and founder, SmartSearch Marketing
Ted Ives, Owner, Coconut Headphones (@tedives)
Keri Morgret, President, Strike Models (@kerimorgret)

Ted starts and says that there was a good report on Predicting Bounce Rates in Sponsored Search Advertisements. The findings were:

  1. Quality Score is largely related to CTR.
  2. When CTR is unavailable, Google uses a proxy.
  3. Bounce rate is highly predictive of CTR.
  4. Variable that most correlates to bounce rate is relatedness of KW to creative.

The keyword [bicycle] is related in decreasing amount to:

  • itself, [bicycle]
  • stems
  • synonyms

The AdWords tool is unreliable. Protect yourself against it – use other tools. Is there anything that can automate this? Have you seen Kentucky Fried Movie? There’s a scene where a Bruce Lee type character comes to rescue a girl. The girl says he’s assuming too much. A bunch of guys with mics are all around listening to them. She says we’ll have to bribe the guards. He says money is no problem. But it would be wrong.

This is like Google – they say not to use other tools like scrapers, but they tolerate some. He says Ubersuggest is a good tool. LSI Keywords is a tool where top SERP results for a keyword are gathered and those pages are analyzed.

In WWII they wanted to figure out where on B17 planes were most susceptible to bullet damage that would take them down. Abraham Wald, a statistician for the military, said to paint a sample plane with dots every time a plane came back with bullet holes. Instead of saying that the areas with clumps of holes should be reinforced, he said to reinforce areas without holes. Those were the holes on data not observed, the planes not making it back to the ground.

Think outside the box of categories of data you can look at.

knowns and unknowns

Keri is next. She posted a negative keyword hacks post on the seoMoz blog. She also gave me her slide deck last week for me to include portions of in this coverage. Why use negative keywords? Let’s see.

Search for the movie [moving malcolm] delivers a lot of “moving” ads. These ads will get clicks but they’re not quality clicks. Don’t let your keywords battle each other. But don’t just apply these guidelines without thought. English words have multiple meanings a lot of the time. If you exclude Georgia the country, you may exclude Georgia the state unknowingly.

AdWords has a negative keyword list. Bing has a tool for adCenter that notes conflicts of keywords. Now we’ll leave the search engines’ tools and go out into the world.



She restricts her searches in IMDb search to TV and movies.


Worksheets for teachers are often done in text lists. When people search for movers they may talk about a couch or a sofa. Get ideas for additional terms that are relevant or not.


If you’re bidding on Whitney Houston, check out JC Whitney’s keywords and negative keywords for ideas.



  • Monitor with Google, Twitter Trends
  • Table2Clipboard
  • OutWit Hub

Patricia will talk next about organizing, analyzing and prioritizing keywords once you have them. She looks at several parameters related to keywords:

  1. Business relevance
    • specificity
    • uniqueness
    • small set
    • top priority
  2. Search volume: what’s the potential opportunity
    • volume
    • cost
    • rate
    • have to look at all of them
  3. Competition: find low-hanging fruit
    • Compare volume and competition
    • If you can find kw with decent amount of volume but lower competition, should be easier to compete.
    • Focus on positions 2-1, 3-2, 4-3. As you select kws look for the biggest bang from your buck
  4. Conversion: what kw drive business results
  5. Current visibility: improving a kw’s visibility, what will it do to bottom line?
  6. Searcher intent: where is the searcher in the buying cycle?
    • Reach people throughout the buying process

The vast number of queries are informational. Sometimes you can tell someone’s trying to navigate and asking around it.

foundation: business releavance. Above that, you consider conversion and volume, then look at competition and visbility and then searcher intent.

We’re here because we have a problem, Cameron says. Customers have thousands or millinos of keywords. The biggest problem he said sas deadweight keywords. Zero impressions, or impressions but no clicks, or no conversions.

The asnswer is relevance, business relevance. What you can prove based on traffic volume and overall conversions.

Pockets of opportunity:

  • broad match
  • high CPC
  • high click volume

Beyond PPC:

  • If you can do that for paid search, do it for organic. Look at how users are entering your site from organic search.
  • Internal serach terms: leverage hyper relevance
  • Social keyword monitoring: understand how others talk about you. A cloud of words will develop. Use it to expand reach. Refine terms and ideas and phrases you don’t want to be associated with.

Virginia Nussey is the director of content marketing at MobileMonkey. Prior to joining this startup in 2018, Virginia was the operations and content manager at Bruce Clay Inc., having joined the company in 2008 as a writer and blogger.

See Virginia's author page for links to connect on social media.

Comments (1)
Still on the hunt for actionable tips and insights? Each of these recent PPC/Pay-Per-Click posts is better than the last!

One Reply to “SMX West 2012: Beyond The Google AdWords Tool: Advanced Keyword Research Tactics”

Whew thats is ton of information. PPC is really frustrating at times. I have used it but I have not had much success. I am starting to realize my strategy needs some serious evaluation. Thanks for all the hard work you put into this great post.

James G.


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