Did you know your most valuable content marketing data is hiding in your Google search terms report?

As content marketers, we often don’t properly leverage the opportunities that AdWords provides. Instead, we rely on keyword tools like Moz or Longtail Pro to make our decisions on what keywords we should target.

These tools are great, but they only tell you the organic side of the story and lack conversion-based data.

While these tools will let you know everything from search volume to keyword opportunity, they don’t highlight which keywords are driving the most conversions or revenue for your business.

To gather that data, we need AdWords.

With that in mind, let’s dive into how you can identify profitable keywords within AdWords to then increase market share for your most profitable queries by having multiple results on your ideal search engine result pages (SERPs). All with the power of content.

How to Setup an AdWords Campaign for Keyword Discovery

using adwords broad match keywords for content marketing research

Image by Acquisio

Not every content marketer has an active AdWords campaign that they can use to gather data. While this might be a difficult request for some, a great way to collect data for your content strategy is to launch a campaign targeting some of your most desirable keywords.

For us at Directive Consulting, for example, that would mean that we might set aside a $1,000 budget to test which long-tail keywords around “SEO company” converts the best.

To test this, we would launch a single keyword match type around a broad match modified keyword: +SEO +Company.

By doing this, AdWords will show your search ad whenever someone searches a query that contains both “SEO” and “Company.” Due to Google’s matching, it will also pull for the plural and close variations of the terms, as well.

From the clicks you receive, you can start to see if, say, “best SEO companies orange county” is your top keyword, or if it’s “top SEO companies.”

Using this data, you’ll be able to develop a content strategy that has a business case. You can come to management and say that: “After running a detailed ROI test on different keywords, we’ve determined that if we can attain the #1 result for “top SEO companies” (estimating a 23% click through rate and a x% conversion rate) that we will generate $y In new revenue from this project.”

Now that’s the type of analysis that gets executive buy in.

Want to mix other content brainstorming strategies in with AdWords research? Here are a few more to try!

How to Mine Your AdWords Search Term Report for Keyword Opportunities

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While we now know how to setup a broad match modified AdWords campaign to gather keyword data, it’s now time to mine that data for your greatest content opportunities.

We’ve created a video documenting our process for mining AdWords for keyword opportunities based on conversion data. Based on the information presented in the video walk-through, here are some additional items to consider:

  • Don’t worry about statistical significance too much. You do not need to spend thousands of dollars to get more than 100+ clicks to determine a keyword’s true value. Instead, use this method to gather intent and learn about how your users search and convert.
  • Look for a trend that you can implement into your keyword research. For example, in the data set from the video, we learned that “adoption agencies near me” is the highest converting query that’s modified for location. We can then add this variant to our state pages. Based on this data, we can then adjust titles to: “California Adoption Agencies Near Me.”
  • Modify by number of keywords to get your easiest wins. In the search terms report, you can find big wins and opportunities by diving into keywords with 4+ words. These are easier to rank for, and if driving significant conversions, are great for not only generating paid conversions but also, organic.

How to Layer Your Data with Organic Keyword Research

organic food joke

So now we’ve identified our keyword opportunities with the best cost per conversion in our AdWords account. Now, it’s important to get an understanding of the organic ranking potential of that keyword. By going one step further, you can layer your data with organic keyword research.

With the information discussed in mind, here are some additional items to consider:

  • Search volume isn’t as important as conversions. To get a hyper-targeted list of your greatest opportunities, filter your keywords in Excel before uploading. Only show keywords with a certain cost per conversion or a certain volume of conversions. These are your most profitable keywords and should be targeted first.
  • Quick wins go a long way. Often times, your content marketing efforts need executive buy-in. There’s nothing worse than explaining that your results “are coming, but this stuff takes time.” While that is true, by targeting quick wins at first (meaning keywords with the lowest difficulty and most volume) you can show progress, increase budget, and go after more challenging terms.

Conclusion

Not getting conversion data for your content marketing efforts should no longer be an option. With a small budget and the correct setup, you can now make a business case for your efforts and start to base your decisions on conversions not vanity metrics like potential traffic.

If you enjoyed the post or have a different approach for blending paid and organic data, please feel free to leave your comments below.

Garrett Mehrguth is the CEO of Directive Consulting, a Google Partner and MozLocal Recommended Agency serving small to enterprise level firms. He’s been published in Moz, Ahrefs, Convince & Convert, WordStream, Raven, Local Search Ranking Factors, and more. He’s spoken at MozCon Ignite, General Assembly, PeopleSpace Innovation Labs, SoCal Code Camp, and others.

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