A Clear-Cut Guide To Choosing Winning AdWords Keywords

Choosing the right keywords on Google AdWords can mean the difference between creating an efficient and cost effective campaign, or an inefficient and expensive one, so it’s important to know what you’re doing before you jump in!

At Add People we help thousands of small to medium sized businesses with their AdWords campaigns so we’re familiar with common mistakes that businesses make when selecting keywords.

The AdWords dashboard can look intimidating to say the least, but it doesn’t have to be difficult!  In this blog we’ll simplify the process to help you choose winning keywords and get more positive results for your money.

What are keywords?

How can you choose keywords if you don’t have the foggiest what they are or what they’re used for?

Let’s get down to the basics.

Your keywords are words or terms that you think people will be typing into search engines when looking for products or services just like the ones that you offer.

installbathroomFor example, if you were a plumber in Berkshire you may want your website to appear when people search for ‘install bathroom Berkshire’.

It’s essential that you make your keywords highly relevant to your business, products, or services to ensure that your ad is displayed to relevant people and you’re not wasting your money showing your ad to people with no intention of buying.

Common Mistake 1
You should aim to choose keywords that are extremely relevant and fairly specific. Far too often we see businesses choosing extremely broad keywords that attract views from all the wrong people and are extremely competitive to rank for.

Remember. Specific keywords = less competition, less money and generally easier to rank highly for.

However, if your keywords are too specific it could mean that fewer people are searching for your key terms and so your ad is not displayed very frequently, so it’s important to reach a sensible medium.

Researching keywords

If you’re feeling a little daunted at the prospect of selecting suitable keywords for your AdWords campaign then don’t worry, Google has plenty of useful resources to help you get started. One of the most useful tools is the Keyword Planner which helps you to search for new keyword ideas.


Use the Keyword Planner to search for a few key terms to do with your business, product or industry, and it will present you with alternate terms.  The keyword tool will give you metrics on how popular each suggested keyword term is, how expensive it is, and how frequently it is searched for each month.


Use these insights to help you to choose specific keywords and keyword terms for your AdWords campaign.

To ensure that you cover as much ground as possible don’t forget to include different synonyms of your keywords and key terms as well as alternative spellings and plural as well as singular versions.

Keyword match types

Once you’re happy with the keywords that you’ve chosen you’ll need to choose a keyword match type for each.  There are 5 keyword match types on Google AdWords, these are:

  • Broad match
  • Exact match
  • Phrase match
  • Broad match modifier
  • Negative match

Common Mistake 2

Another mistake that we see businesses new to AdWords making over and over again is leaving all of their keywords set at the default ‘broad match’ option.  This is usually not the best setting!

Broad match

If you select the broad match type then your ad will be shown to people who have searched for variations of your keyword or phrase and single words from your key phrase combined with other search terms.  This can mean that your ad is shown to a lot of people, many of which are likely to be completely irrelevant to your business, making your ad very inefficient.

Specific and highly targeted match types such as phrase match and exact match are more suitable for most SMEs.

Exact match

This option only shows your ad when someone types in the exact key term that you have specified or very close variations of this term.

Phrase match

Phrase match is less strict than exact match.  Phrase match will show close variations to your phrase and allows for additional words to be added before or after your keyword or phrase.

Modified broad match

If you choose modified broad match then your ad will appear when people search for your keywords in any order, or for close variations of your keyword.  However it won’t show your ad if synonyms of your keywords are searched for.

Common Mistake 3

Most SMEs don’t have time to read through realms of information about AdWords before setting up their campaign and are guilty of skipping over parts that they don’t understand.  One very important area that is frequently skipped is negative keywords. Never skip negative keywords!

Negative keywords

This match type is used for eliminating irrelevant search terms or words.

This makes your ad more targeted and means you spend your budget on showing your ads to people who are more likely to click on them, rather than people who are looking for products or services that you don’t offer.

Entering negative keywords will make your campaign more efficient and targeted whilst saving you money and improving your return on investment.


If you’ve followed the advice in this guide then you’re probably already one step ahead of most of your competitors as you’ve successfully dodged the commonest mistakes made when setting up an AdWords campaign for the first time.

Learn more about AdWords mistakes and how to avoid them by reading our blog ‘Avoid These 9 Fails & Become an AdWords Ninja’.

If you still don’t feel confident about setting up your own AdWords campaign or need further advice then please get in touch to speak with one of our Google accredited AdWords advisors.