Oct 2012

This summer while working full-time at Happy Marketer, I picked up a lot of skills and one of the tools I learnt to use is “Google AdWords”  I must say, it requires a lot of exploring to get started with it. A very important step even before diving into Ad Words is to actually create ads and ad campaigns is “keyword research”. Hence it is very good to know how to use the AdWords Keyword Tool.

For people who are wondering what Google Ad Words is, let me give you a brief introduction. Google AdWords is an online advertising tool provide by Google. Do you remember seeing ads near your search results or on various websites? Yes, those are created using Ad Words  These ads are created based on certain keywords that a business wants to target. These keywords determine when your ads will be displayed along with the other search results. For example, if your ads have the keyword “MBA Singapore” then your ads are more likely to be displayed when people search about MBA in Singapore. Hence, you can see how important keywords can be and therefore, the very first step is to identify the right set of keywords to target. The Ad Words Keyword Tool is just the thing you need for this. The Keyword Tool suggests various keywords appropriate for your business and helps you choose the best ones by providing various metrics for each keyword.

Now that things are a bit clearer, let me tell you about the few basic steps to come up with a list of suitable keywords for your business. I am a believer of learning through hands-on experience. Hence, I would suggest you to follow the steps that I am about to tell you as and when you read them. Note that you do not need an Ad Words account to use the Keyword Tool.

To make things interesting, pick something that you want to create ads for. For instance, I love chocolates and maybe I want to promote my home-made chocolate business (slurp!). So, I want to create ads to promote my “Home-made Chocolates” business.

Now that we know what we want to promote, let’s explore this tool!

Step 1: Choose a phrase/keyword

For a basic keyword search, enter a relevant word or phrase for which you would want your ad to be displayed. In my case, something like “Home-made chocolates in Singapore” will be very relevant since my business is based in Singapore.

Step 2: Customizing your suggestions

In order to get highly customized results, you can

  • choose a “category” and “location”

In my case, something related to “food” will be a suitable category and “Singapore” will be an appropriate target location.

  • choose the devices you want to target your ads on

I want to target “Laptops and Desktops” and hence I chose that.

  • change the “language” if the preferred language of your audience is something other than English

On the left-hand side, there are a set of other options that can help you get highly relevant results. Usually, it is a good practise to check the “exact match” option since this gives a better estimate of how popular your keywords are.

Step 3: Understanding the metrics for the suggested results

Once you click on “Search” you will get a list of keywords with their local and global monthly search volumes by default. But you can also add other columns for some other metrics like CPCs (Cost Per Click) which will make your results more meaningful. Let me explain a little about some of the important columns that I am talking about:

Global Search Volume:

The number of times the suggested keyword/phrase was searched on Google globally. This metric is useful when you are targeting more than one country.

Local Search Volume:

The number of times the suggested keyword/phrase was searched on Google in the country you selected. This helps you find out the popularity of the keyword among the local audience.


This metric shows how many people are targeting a particular keyword in their ads to promote their business i.e how many businesses are actually bidding for the same keyword.

Estimated CPC (Cost-per Click):

This metric is only available if you use the keyword tool after signing into your AdWords account. CPC is actually like one of the pricing schemes in AdWords where Google charges you a certain amount only when someone clicks on your ads. Each keyword has a different CPC and sometimes CPCs vary from person to person for the same keyword also.

Step 4: Picking the best keywords

Usually, the best keywords are the ones with high/medium search volumes (local), low estimated CPCs and low competition. But there is no hard and fast rule to pick keywords. Sometimes keywords that might have low search volumes might just be so important to your business that you cannot neglect them. It also gets easier to find the good keywords if you sort the search results based on any one of the above metrics.

You can also download the list of suggested keywords for your own use. For my homemade chocolate business, I settled for the following keywords. As you can see, many of them have low search volumes but they are very relevant to my business and hence I feel they should be targeted.

There are many ways of choosing keywords like; you can rate the list of keywords on a scale of 1-5 based on their relevancy (1 being the least relevant). Another interesting way is to use Google Trends to find some “search trends” information for your keywords which might help you in making your decision. You can also read up a little about this in blogs as well as the Ad Words Help Center to find out the other methods.

What next?

Once you have decided on your keywords, you are ready to start with AdWords, create ads and launch your ad campaign. From my experience I would say that working on mock/real-life projects will make it so much easier to explore AdWords. AdWords help centre is also a good place to get started.  If AdWords interests you and you would like to take up AdWords projects professionally, you should definitely consider our Google Classroom training course wherein certified trainers from Happy Marketer will help you gain a deeper understanding of Google Ad Words and Analytic’s.

Hope these simple steps gave you a better understanding of the Keywords Tool. The quality of the keywords you choose makes a big difference to your ad campaign. So make sure you invest enough time in picking the right ones!