Creating Relevant Keywords

In this page, we will cover the following:

  • Using keyword matching options effectively
  • Finding relevant keywords
  • Analyzing competitor keywords from and similar tools
  • Generating negative keywords
  • Identifying keyword duplicates
  • Multiplying keyword phrases
  • Changing broad keywords to broad match modifier
  • Adding new keywords to an existing ad group
  • Editing, pausing, or deleting keywords


Keywords are the backbone of your account, setting the stage for those who see your ads, as well as those who do not. They’re a powerful method to connect to potential customers at the moment they are searching for you. Advertisers choose their own keywords in Google Ads, and this process of choosing relevant keywords is vital to marketing success.

Many advertisers think that adding as many keywords as possible will boost traffic and generate more sales. However, that’s not necessarily the case for Google Ads, where adding too many irrelevant keywords can actually hurt you in the long run.

Keep in mind that some keywords are more relevant to your website than others and also have different conversion potential. If you choose to run ads on irrelevant keywords you might end up spending money on clicks that are unlikely to convert.

What’s more, adding keywords in Google Ads that are too general and irrelevant to your website will likely lead to low Quality Scores and might hurt your chances of being profitable on even the more specific keywords. Google Ads punishes advertisers who historically choose low quality keywords, in order to protect the user experience and ensure relevant ads are shown on Google.

I recommend starting with smaller, targeted keywords lists, and adding to them as you learn what works to build your Quality Scores.

Using keyword matching options effectively

Keyword matching options allow you to control who sees your ads by broadening or restricting what searches your ads appear in. They range from broad to specific. The broader match types are designed to generate more traffic and show your ads on related searches that you may not have thought to add to your campaigns. The more specific match types restrict the queries that your ads show on and typically bring fewer impressions, but potentially more targeted traffic.

How to do it…

To add keywords in different match types, perform the following steps:

  • Click on the Campaigns tab, go into a specific campaign and ad group where you wish to add keywords.
  • Navigate to the Keywords tab and click on + Add keywords.
  • Add keywords according to the parameters outlined in the following table. For example, if you wish to use exact match, add brackets around each keyword, such as [red roses].
  • Click on Save.

The following is an example of how to enter the example keyword red roses in each of the match types to your Google Ads account:

Keyword match typeHow to use it
Broadred roses
Broad match modifier+red +roses
Phrase“red roses”
Exact[red roses]

How it works…

Ads will show on close variations but not synonyms or related searches.

  • find red roses
  • red beautiful
  • roses

Broad match is showing your ads on irrelevant queries and you need to restrict traffic. Broad match modifier is a great in-between option when broad is too general but phrase too restrictive.


  • “red roses”

Word order is preserved and the phrase with its close variants will trigger your ads. Words used before and after the phrase you entered might be eligible for the auction.

  • buy red roses
  • redrozes
  • red roses for sale

When you’d like to preserve the word order and take the keywords out of the broad match expansion.


  • [red roses]


  • -pictures

The exact keyword and its close variants will trigger your ads. Your ads will not show on synonyms and other variations.

Prevent irrelevant searches from triggering your ads.

  • red roses
  • redrozes

When you’d like to limit traffic to only the specific search term you are entering and do not want your ads showing on any other variations.

You are getting irrelevant traffic and need to improve ROI.

The default match type in Google Ads is broad, and broad is what most advertisers use throughout their accounts. However, you might find that you get better ROI from some of the more specific match types, such as phrase and exact. If you are using broader keyword match types, you can see what other queries your ads are appearing on by running a search terms report.

I recommend most advertisers start with mostly broad match combined with negative keywords. Over time, you can refine and optimize your campaigns based on results and search query reports.

There’s more…

I recommend using your most important keywords, as well as your highest traffic generating keyword in various match types, so you can adjust bids based on performance. For example, you might find that your exact match version of a particular keyword converts at a more profitable CPA than broad match, and you can then increase the bid on that exact match keyword.

By default, Google Ads will include plurals, misspellings, and other close variants of your phrase and exact match keywords. However, you have the option to opt out of this in your campaign Settings page, under Advanced settings for Keyword matching options. I do not recommend excluding close variants, since the additional traffic will be very close to the keywords you have chosen.

Finding relevant keywords

Choosing the right keywords to show your ads can make or break the success of your Google Ads account. The keywords you select, if properly researched and are relevant to your website, can bring highly interested visitors to your website, or if too general, can cost you a lot without generating any sales.

Getting ready

Ask your customers what terms they use on to find you. Note down the top phrases that are used consistently and save them for future research and keyword development.

Also, brainstorm key terms, which you think describe your business. Do not worry at this step if they are too general or specific enough for Google Ads. Simply note the general keyword ideas.

How to do it…

Once you have brainstormed a list of potential keywords, research and develop them further with Google’s keyword tool. The tool is free and is available to all advertisers within their Google Ads account.

If you do not yet have an Google Ads account, you can access the keyword tool by visiting To access the tool via your Google Ads account, go to Tools and Analysis and choose the Keyword Tool option.

You can research keywords you brainstormed earlier via Google’s Keyword Tool to find out potential traffic, costs, and the level of competition:

  • Type in the keyword you’re considering using in your account in the Word or phrase box in the Keyword Tool window.
  • Choose your location under Advanced Options and Filters.
  • Select the Keyword ideas tab in Keyword Tool.
  • Click on Search to get data on your original search term and additional keyword ideas. The keyword tool will provide you with additional phrases related to your original search that can serve as ideas for new keywords to add to your campaigns.
  • If many of the related keywords suggested by the tool are not relevant to you, your original search query may be too general. Instead, use some of the other, more relevant suggestions from the keyword tool.
  • In the previous example, a family lawyer looking for new customers is considering running on keyword lawyer. When we review the related keyword ideas in the keyword tool, we can see them most of the related searches are not relevant to a family lawyer. So, the keyword lawyer is not the best choice for an attorney specializing in family matters.
  • Next, we can refine our search by entering a more specific query, such as family lawyer. The keyword tool provides additional suggestions, including keywords with location pre-qualifiers and other ways of saying family lawyer, such as divorce attorney. The list in the following screenshot is looking more relevant to a family attorney and has some specific keyword options we can work with.
  • We can further pre-qualify our search by excluding terms from the keyword analysis. Enter any words not applicable to your business in the Exclude terms box to leave them out from the keyword ideas results.
  • Review the monthly search data and competition columns to get data on how many people are searching related terms, and whether the competition on your keywords will be Low, Medium, or High. If competition is high, there are a lot of other advertisers bidding on those keywords.
  • The Approximate CPC (Search) column will give you an idea of how much each keyword costs, or how much advertisers on average pay for each click. Keep in mind that these are rough estimates and actual CPCs will vary greatly.
  • Sort by Global Monthly Searches or Local Monthly Searches to review the highest traffic search terms first.
  • Check the box next to the keywords you like to save them to My keyword ideas.
  • Once you have a list of keywords in your saved keyword ideas, you can add them to your account directly, download them, view as text, or view in Traffic Estimator.

For those of you who are not sure where to start, the keyword tool will also provide keyword suggestions based on the content of your website. Here is how to use this feature:

  • Type in your website’s URL in the Website box in Google’ Keyword Tool.
  • Click on Search.

Not all keywords suggested by the system will necessarily be right for your business. You should still review them carefully and only add phrases that are relevant.

How it works…

In general, one-word keywords tend to be too general, as we can often not be sure what the users typing them in are actually searching for. For example, someone searching for accountant on could be an actual accountant who is looking for salary information or a new job. Or, it could also be a business that’s looking for an accountant to hire.

The more general keywords will tend to have lower Quality Scores, they can be more competitive with more advertisers eligible for the auction, and they will potentially cost more than the specific keywords.

Two to three word keywords are generally a better choice for Google Ads. They pre-qualify your users better, tend to get better Quality Scores in Google Ads, and may be less competitive with fewer advertisers bidding on those terms.

If you’d like to use one-word and more general keywords, start by entering them in exact match to restrict any additional expansions to irrelevant variations.

There’s more…

There are a number of tools outside of Google that help you research and develop keyword lists. Following are a few options:

  • WordStream –
  • Bing Ads Intelligence –
  • Wordtracker –

Analyzing competitor keywords from spyfu. com and similar tools

Google Ads does not provide information on what keywords your competitors are bidding on. However, there are a number of tools outside of Google that can help you analyze who’s ranking on specific terms, as well as what keywords individual domains are showing up for.

Getting ready

Several competitor keyword tools provide free basic searches but do require monthly subscriptions to access the full data. You’ll need to sign up for the free trial, if available, or purchase a subscription to download all of the keyword data.

The following are some competitor keyword tool options you may wish to consider:

  • AdGooroo –
  • Compete –
  • KeywordSpy –
  • SEMrush –
  • SpyFu –

Not all of these tools will work well outside the US, so consult a few to find one that works for your region.

How to do it…

We shall use SpyFu’s SEM keyword tool to demonstrate how to access and review a list of keywords for a specific domain.

  • Go to
  • Enter a domain’s URL into the Classic search box and click on SEARCH to see keywords a specific domain’s ads are showing up for.
  • You’ll get a general pay-per-click (PPC) summary with spend trends, as well as organic and paid keywords this domain is showing up on.

Creating Relevant Keywords

  • Choose to Export CSV at the bottom of the paid keywords list.
  • If you purchased a subscription, you’ll be able to download a full list of keywords a domain ran on.
  • You can sort this keyword list by clicks or cost per day to figure out a domain’s best keywords.
  • Not all of the keywords from these reports will necessarily make sense for you. Make sure you scrub the list and only add the terms most applicable to our business.

How it works…

Competitor keyword tools do not access private Google Ads accounts, and individual domains are certainly not sharing this data. Tools such as SpyFu gather public information provided by Google based on what’s showing up on their search results pages.

There’s more…

Remember that tools such as SpyFu do not have access to your competitors’ accounts and that their keyword reports may not be 100 percent accurate. If a competitor is using a lot of broad match in their keyword list, keyword spy tools will pick up domain activity on keywords that are not necessarily in your competitor’s Google Ads campaigns.

Generating negative keywords

Adding negative keywords to your account is one of the best methods you have at your disposal to improve your Quality Scores and weed out irrelevant clicks. A good list of negative keywords will ensure you are not paying for traffic that you already know will not convert to sales and leads.

Getting ready

You’ll need to do some research to generate a thorough list of negative keywords. Part of this process is using your common sense and thinking of potential related queries that will not be relevant. Aside from brainstorming potential negatives, you can also use the following tools:

  • Google’s keyword tool: Type in the most general keywords you’ll be running in your campaigns to see other related terms that people are typing in. Anything that does not apply to you is a good potential negative keyword.
  • Search your most general keywords and pay attention to both ads and search results. Are some of the ads and search results that come up related to products and services that are different from what you offer? Also, pay attention to the search box as you type in your keywords. Are some of the suggested searches irrelevant?
  • Search term reports: Once your campaigns are up and running, you can run search term reports in Google Ads to see actual search queries that triggered your ads. This will be a great source of ongoing negative keyword ideas that directly relate to your campaigns and keywords you have chosen.

Run search query reports once a week to identify new negative keywords to add to your campaigns. You’ll get negative keyword ideas from actual searches that triggered your ads.

How to do it…

You can add negative keywords to individual ad groups or to an entire campaign, if the negative terms are applicable to all of the keywords within this campaign. To add negative keywords, perform the following steps:

  • Go to the Campaigns tab, and click on the Keywords tab.
  • Scroll down to the bottom of the keyword list until you see Negative keywords.
  • Use the column on the left to enter ad group specific negatives and the column on the right to enter campaign level negatives.
  • If you are choosing to add negative keywords at the ad group level, clicking on Add will prompt you to choose an ad group.
  • If you are adding negative keywords to an entire campaign, click on Add and choose

Add keywords.

  • Enter one negative keyword per line.
  • Click on Save when you are finished.

If you would like to exclude all related job searches from seeing your ads, make sure that you enter that word alone, rather than combined with your actual keyword, which may not exclude all possible variations of the negative you are using.

-job-accounting jobs
-jobs-accountant jobs

How it works…

Negative keywords are phrases that prevent your ads from showing on certain search queries. For example, if you add a negative keyword free to your campaign, any search that contains the word free will not trigger your ad.

Negative keyword lists should be thorough and include all possible variations, since Google Ads does not include any variations of a negative phrase you add to your account. Expand your initial list of negative keywords to include singulars and plurals, synonyms and similar words. For example, if you decide that you would like to add the negative keyword jobs, you can add the following additional negatives:

  • Job
  • Jobs
  • Career
  • Careers
  • Employment
  • Resume
  • Resumes

There’s more…

You’ll likely be able to utilize some of the negative keywords you generate across your campaigns (such as free, images, and reviews). To automate the negative keyword generation process, you can create campaign negative lists to add to your account’s shared library. You can then easily access these campaign negatives when you are creating new campaigns. In your Google Ads account, go to Shared library and click to view Campaign negative keywords. Here, you can name your new negative keyword list and enter the specific terms that should be excluded.

Identifying keyword duplicates

Having duplicate keywords in your Google Ads account is generally not recommended, as they compete against each other and make account management and analysis more difficult.

I recommend going through your account periodically to identify duplicates, clean up, and get rid of any low performers to maximize performance.

Getting ready

The easiest way to identify if you have duplicate keywords in your account is by downloading your account to Google Ads Editor. Google Ads Editor allows advertisers to easily manage campaigns, keywords, and ads in bulk. You can do all of the work offline and typically much faster than through the Google Ads interface. You can download Google Ads Editor by visiting Adseditor/.

How to do it…

To identify keyword duplicates:

  • Open up Google Ads Editor and sign in to your account by entering your Google Ads customer login and password.
  • Make sure to get recent changes before you proceed to download the latest version of your account. You can choose the Basic (faster) option. The download tends to be pretty fast, so the basic option may not be necessary.
  • When you get the option to select which parts of the account to download, select
  • Go to Tools and select Find duplicate keywords.
  • Choose the campaigns that you’d like to compare.
  • Decide if you’d like to preserve the Word order. It usually makes sense to choose

Strict word order.

  • Under Match types, select if you’d like to compare keywords with the same match type or different match types.
  • Under Location of duplicates, choose if you’d like to analyze the same ad group, the same campaign, or across selected campaigns. In most cases, you’ll want to choose

Across selected campaigns.

  • Under Optional: Hide duplicates, you can choose to hide the deleted, paused, and ended campaigns and ad groups. This will ensure any old campaigns or ad groups that you decided to pause are ignored by the analysis.
  • On the next screen, you’ll see all of your duplicates filtered out by campaign and ad group. The Select duplicates by tool will allow you to select and delete duplicates based on your chosen criteria, such as low CTR or average position. If you have duplicate keywords and one is getting a better CTR, keep the better performing instance.
  • You’ll likely see some differences in performance between the duplicates in your account, and you will want to go through this list and pause or delete lower CTR or lower converting duplicates, so the better performing instances of your keywords get more exposure.

How it works…

Google Ads discourages advertisers from using duplicate keywords across campaigns and ad groups. Only one keyword can trigger an ad per search in the auction. Identical keywords compete with each other, and the keyword with the higher ad rank will show and trigger the ads it is associated with.

There’s more…

In some cases, it might make sense to have the same keyword in multiple campaigns, such as if you have different campaigns targeting desktops and mobile devices, or different campaigns for different location targets.

However, if the duplicate keyword is not on purpose and needs to be consolidated, use performance data when deciding which instance of the keyword to keep or remove.

Multiplying keyword phrases

As you build your keywords lists, you will find that you’ll continue to use some of the words throughout your campaigns. For example, as a furniture business, you might combine the word furniture with specific furniture brand names. This process can be time consuming when done manually; however, there are a few free tools outside of Google that can help you streamline keyword expansion.

Getting ready

Build out your core terms and modifiers that you’ll want to combine. I usually do this in Excel or Notepad, noting the structure, or what campaigns and ad groups the keywords should be added to.

How to do it…

To multiply keywords:

  • Access one of the multiplier tools in your browser. For the purposes of this example, I will use keyword-list-mashup/.
  • Copy and paste your primary keyword phrases and desired words to multiply by.
  • The tool in the following example also allows you to select phrase and exact match variations. Leave them checked, if you’d like the additional keyword match types created, or uncheck if you’d like broad match only.
  • Click on Create List of Keywords when done.
  • Copy and paste the newly created keywords into the desired campaigns and ad groups in Google Ads.

How it works…

There are multiple free tools outside of Google that can help you multiply search terms with a click of a button and will help you create hundreds of relevant keywords. Here are a few options you can explore:

  • Keyword Multiplier Tool – keyword-list-mashup/
  • Search Phrase Builder –
  • Keyword List Generator – generator.php
  • Keyword Deduper and Multiplier Tool –
  • The Keyword Combinations tool – keyword_combinations.html
  • Combine Keywords – keywords-combiner/word-combinations.php
  • Keyword Lizard –

Some of these tools may require you to create an account, while others do not even require a log in and can be used instantly from within your browser.

There’s more…

Before you create hundreds or thousands of keywords using all the possible variations, make sure that you are not spending time adding keywords that people are not likely to search for. Make sure that the phrases you are combining make sense when put together. You can also check traffic patterns and if they will receive impressions using Google’s keyword tool.

Changing broad keywords to broad match modifiers

Broad match modifier may be the right match type for customers who are seeing poor ROI from their broad match keywords. It’s also a good option for those who are mainly using phrase and exact match and are not receiving enough traffic, but are wary of using broad match.

Getting ready

As a first step, I recommend running a search term report to see what actual queries your ads are appearing on. In your Keywords tab, go to Details and select All from the SEARCH TERMS drop-down menu. If the report shows a large percentage of irrelevant queries that are triggering your ads, broad match modifier may me the right keyword option for you.

How to do it…

To enter keywords in broad match modifier:

  • Add + before each word within your keyword string.
  • Make sure you do not enter in any extra spaces after the + sign; however, do add a space after each word within a keyword phrase.

The following are examples of correctly broad match modified keywords:

  • +buy +halloween +costumes
  • +halloween +costumes

The following are examples of incorrectly broad match modified keywords:

  • + halloween + costumes (extra spaces should not be used)

Halloween+ costumes ( “+” should be used before each word you’d like to preserve, not after)

  • +halloween+costumes (you need to use a space between each word)

You can change keywords to broad match modifier in bulk by using Acquisio’s free tool, available at the following link: Ads-modified-broad-match-keyword-tool/

Paste the keywords you wish to modify and generate modified broad keywords with a click of a button.

How it works…

Broad match modifier is a match type in Google Ads that gives you more control than the default broad match, but is still less restrictive than phrase match. It will show your ads on very close variations of your keywords, such as singulars, plurals, misspellings, abbreviations, and acronyms. Synonyms are not considered close variants. For each word that you put a + sign before, the user will have to type in a close variant in order to see your ad.

There’s more…

Changing your keyword match type from broad to broad match modifier could potentially cut down on some valuable relevant traffic, since broad match places you in auctions on keywords you did not think to add to your account, and broad match modifier restricts this expanded matching. To test the effects of implementing broad match modifier, you may want to run two identical ad groups, one with broad match keywords and another with the same list of keywords in broad match modifier. You can run both of these ad groups at the same time. Make sure that they have the same bids and ads, so that you are not introducing other variables into this test aside from the match type. Compare the two ad groups and review your key success metrics, such as conversion rates and CPA, before you change all of your broad keywords to broad match modifier. You can also test different match types with Google Ads experiments.

Adding new keywords to an existing ad group

After you’ve set up an ad group, you may want to add additional keywords to boost clicks and improve performance. Adding new keywords can help you generate more traffic from your top performing ad groups, or it can help you boost clicks on ad groups that are not getting enough traffic.

Getting ready

Prepare the list of keywords you’d like to add to your campaign, if you have specific terms in mind. If not, Google Ads will automatically suggest some new keyword options based on your existing keywords.

How to do it…

If you already have a list of keywords you’d like to add to an existing ad group:

  • Click on the Campaigns tab, and select the campaign that you’re looking to add keywords to.
  • Click on the ad group you’d like to edit.
  • Click on + Add keywords.
  • Type in the new keywords or copy and paste the keywords you developed.
  • Click on Save to save your new keywords.

If you’d like to add new keywords to an ad group but are not sure what terms to add, Google Ads will provide suggestions based on the keywords that are already within your ad group.

  • Click on the Campaigns tab, and select the campaign that you’re looking to add keywords to.
  • Click on the ad group you’d like to edit.
  • Click on Add keywords.
  • On the right-hand side of the keyword box, you will see additional relevant keywords that are similar to your current list.
  • Click on Add to add a keyword you like to your ad group.
  • Click on Save to save your selections when done.

Editing, pausing, or deleting keywords

After you’ve been running your keywords for some time and have accumulated impressions on individual keywords, you may wish to pause or delete the low performing terms. You can also edit your poor performers to make them more specific, such as by changing their match type or by refining the search term with additional phrases.

Getting ready

First, analyze the current list of keywords to determine which keywords you may want to remove or edit. Following are the keywords to pay special attention to:

  • Keywords with low CTR. Low CTR means that users are not finding your ads relevant to the search.
  • Low Quality Score keywords. You’ll need to add this column to your reports through the Customize columns button in your Keywords tab. Optimize keywords that have Quality Scores below 4.
  • Keywords that are costing a lot but are not generating any sales.
  • Keywords that have a high cost per conversion.

How to do it…

To pause or delete a keyword:

  • Click on the Campaigns tab, and go to your Keywords tab.
  • Mark the checkbox next to the keywords you’d like to pause or delete.
    Go to Change status and select pause or delete.
  • You can also pause a keyword by clicking on the green button and selecting the Paused status.

To edit a keyword:

  • Click on the Campaigns tab, and go to your Keywords tab.
  • Mark the checkbox next to the keywords you’d like to edit.
  • From the Edit menu, select Edit in table or Edit in spreadsheet.

4.   Next, make changes to the actual search phrase, match type, or bids.

  • Click on Save.

Google Ads provides bid recommendations for any keywords that have below first page bids. This means that some of your keywords may not be showing on the first page of and your bids might need to be increased to improve your ad rank or you need to work on improving your Quality Score. You can edit any keywords with bids below first page estimates and have Google Ads automatically prefill CPCs to first page bids in the edit keywords table.

How it works…

Pausing or deleting keywords will ensure that your ads are not showing for terms that did not work for you. You can pause or delete poor performers, such as costly keywords that are not generating any conversions or low-quality keywords to boost ROI and account performance.

After you edit a keyword, Google Ads reads it as a new keyword and impressions are reset back to zero. This includes editing the keyword’s match type or altering the actual search phrase.

If you choose to delete a keyword, you will not be able to restore it if you wish to run it again, and you’ll need to re-add it as a new keyword, starting with a fresh history. Pausing a keyword has the benefit of being able to restore it again, resuming its history.

If you move a poorly performing keyword to a new campaign or a new ad group with a unique ad, you can boost Quality Score by achieving a better CTR with more targeted ad copy.

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