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What To Consider When Building A New Keyword List: A Beginner’s Guide

If you’ve been tasked with creating a keyword list from scratch, you might be scratching your head as to where to start. Developing a quality keyword list with little information can sometimes prove to be difficult. But don’t fret, this post will cover what you should be looking for as you begin your quest for new, high quality, high value keywords.

However, before we begin it should be noted that I’m a huge Denver Broncos fan and in light of their recent record shattering offense, I’ll be using them as an example throughout this post. Raiders fans, bear with me.

Target Audience

What Is Your Target Audience Searching For

If you want to come up with the most relevant keywords for your customer, you have to think like a consumer. What do YOU type into Google when you’re looking to buy something? Make a list of the main categories you want your new keywords to cover and then start thinking like a consumer!


Let’s say that I sell Broncos apparel and let’s say within my Denver Bronco Jersey campaign in Adwords, I have different ad groups set up for well known offensive skill players (running backs, quarterbacks, wide-receivers). Specifically focusing on creating new keywords for wide-receiver Demaryius Thomas, I would want to consider the following when building out new keywords:

  • Misspellings of his name (his first name is a doozy)
  • His football nickname (in case you’re curious - It’s “Bay Bay” and was given to him by his uncle in reference to the bad kids from the movie Bebe's Kids)
  • His jersey number (probably would need to consider negative keywords here)
  • Utilizing words like gear or apparel in addition to jersey
  • His initials (again, keep up with the negatives)
  • His college team (should you want to get that granular)

Simply adding the keyword “Demaryius Thomas Jersey” won’t produce optimum results.


Google has historically done a good job of explaining the importance of relevant keywords. In short, your keywords should relate to your website. For example, you wouldn’t want to bid on the keyword “Chicago Bears jersey” if you’re trying to sell Denver Broncos jerseys.

Something to be thinking about when searching for new keyword is Google Adwords’ Quality Score. Quality Score is defined by Google as, “A formula that Google uses to measure how useful your ad, keyword, and website are to a customer. Relevant ads tend to get higher Quality Scores.” Essentially, If your keywords have low quality scores, Google will rarely show your ads.

You want your keywords, ads, and landing pages to all be in sync. For example, if you have the keyword phrase, “Denver Broncos jersey” that triggers an ad about women's soccer and drives traffic to a basketball website landing page, Google won’t bother showing your ads. Ideally, the keyword phrase “Denver Broncos jersey” would trigger a Denver Broncos ad and would drive traffic to a highly targeted page showcasing Denver Broncos jerseys.

Be Specific (Use Longtail Keywords)

A good keyword will avoid low quality clicks (someone just browsing) and increase high quality clicks (someone that has their credit card out and is ready to buy a Denver Broncos jersey today.) An effective way to get specific with your keywords is by using longtail keywords. Let’s run through what longtail keywords look like and their importance.

What is a longtail keyword?

A longtail keyword is three or more keywords that create a highly targeted search. Keeping with our example, one such keyword might be “Demaryius Thomas home Denver Broncos jersey”.

It varies from standard keyword which is under three keywords. “Sports jerseys” would result in more overall traffic, but is not as targeted as the example above.

What is the importance of a longtail keyword?

  • Delivers to a more targeted audience
  • A user searching for “Demaryius Thomas home Denver Bronco jersey” already knows exactly what he/she wants and is usually ready to buy
  • Higher ROI
  • When properly bidding on longtail keywords, your site may receive less paid search traffic but your ROI will be higher because you’re bringing in higher quality traffic
  • Less competition
  • Your specific user targeting efforts will lead to less competition
  • You will show higher positioning, reach the right audience, and pay less per click
  • In general, short, standard keywords will cost more due to higher bid competition
Dt Longtail

So Why Even Use Standard Keywords?

The one plus from using standard keywords is improving your reach. If your goal is to gain more brand awareness vs. actual sales, then you want your ad/brand to show on Google as many times to as many people as possible.

Keyword Match Types

Before you begin constructing a list of the best standard and longtail keywords, it’s important you’re aware of all Google Adwords match types. This will affect how you construct your keyword list. Google has five keyword match types. Below is a table highlighting the five match types.

Keyword Examples

Remember, all keywords are not case-sensitive so there is no need to worry about capitalization. Additionally, match types only apply to the Search Network and do not apply on the Display Network.

So What Next?

Become familiar with all of the different keyword match types, then start brainstorming your keyword lists. Keywords should closely relate to the categories and sub-categories on your website to keep your landing pages and ads as highly targeted as possible.

Once you have a pretty good structure, start thinking about how to break out your keywords into those that will get you more reach (standard keywords) and those that will get you highly targeted visitors hopefully closer to achieving an identified goal on your site (longtail keywords.)

Looking Ahead 

Next up I’ll be identifying some great tools to use to get some fresh, high quality keyword ideas. The list will include your basic AdWords Keyword Planner all the way to utilizing Wikipedia as a keyword building tool.

Until next time!

  • Paid Media

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About the author

Morgan Oakes

Morgan is the Paid Media Director at Marcel Digital, specializing in creative ways to provide solutions in paid advertising platforms for all types of goals.