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Samantha Noble

User Search Refinements – Super Keywords vs. “the rest”

18th Jul 2011 Paid Search, Google AdWords 2 minutes to read


Super keywords result in more clicks/conversions in your account, and will be the primary drivers of success within your account. Most accounts will experience the 80/20 rule where 80% sales come from 20% traffic.

Best practice would be to ensure that you target these successful keywords individually to really maximise this success – this would essentially involve creating tight ad groups, with their own ad copy and perhaps unique landing page. Great! Relatively straightforward so far.

Thorough optimisation would also need to be carried out, cutting out keywords which don’t appear to be performing and adding negatives wherever necessary. But wait! Before you start to gut your account to focus only on the Super Keywords, spare a thought for ‘the rest’ in there. Ok so they may not generate as much traffic or as many conversions, but there is a chance they have made quite a significant contribution to the overall success of the campaign.

Search Refinements

Consider this; a consumer wants to find a new camera. This may be an extreme example but, they could well start by simply searching for “cameras” . They would then go through a process, refining each time what they actually want to narrow results – for this example ignore instant search, product results etc, this is just about following a searcher’s thoughts. So they may undertake the following process…

cameras > digital cameras > Canon digital cameras … at this point they’ve found a brand they’re interested in – great!

Canon digital cameras > Canon digital camera reviews … as we all know user generated content is key to some purchasing decisions so they may go off for a few reviews on this brand.

low cost Canon cameras … they have now established they want a canon, they’re happy with the reviews but now the key point is ‘low cost’.

So which keywords would you advertise on out of the searches above?

There would be an argument to say only on “low cost Canon cameras” as this would be the one that converts. This might be what you would class as your Super Keyword. But let’s think about brand recognition here as well; if you can afford the impressions and some clicks, would it not be worth considering advertising on the earlier keywords in this search path?

To get from “cameras” to “low cost canon cameras” and also passing through ‘digital’ searches means this particular user did a lot of research, saw a lot of pages and made purchasing decisions as they went through – would it not be beneficial for your brand to appear within that path?

Search Funnels

So even though these keywords may not show reported conversions within the AdWords campaign interface you can still use Search Funnels to identify how beneficial a keyword has been.

Search Funnels conversion reporting

This feature can be found under ‘Reporting and Tools’ > Conversions, and then at the bottom of the left hand column you’ll see ‘Search Funnels’. This neat little reporting tool shows a variety of stats by Campaign, Ad Group, Keyword or Query – take a look and see what you can find out! Please note however this tool is only available if you have activated conversion tracking in your AdWords account.

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Samantha Noble
About the author

Samantha Noble

Sam is a talented multi-tasker, a dedicated mother to the gorgeous Theo and a big fan of cooking – word on the street is that she’s pretty good in the kitchen but we’re yet to know if this is true or not. Hint hint, we like cake, Sam.

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