7 Levels to Rolling out your Adwords Keywords to hit your Targets5 min read

Google Adwords Keywords is probably the most dangerous marketing tool in the world.

It’s so easy to get live and spending your advertising budget (you can be live within 5 minutes), but so difficult to build it to bring you the traffic that will hit your targets.

In this post I’m revealing the 7 levels of keywords that when built will hit those targets.

7 Adwords Keyword Levels

The Profit vs Volume Trade Off

Gone are the days when you could set up a few keywords, get lots of traffic, and it would convert.

Now everything you do on Adwords is a trade-off between driving enough volume and hitting your profit targets. Our 7 layers are designed to make it easy to manage that trade off.

At the bottom of the triangle are your Brand terms (eg “argos”) there is a limited amount of traffic here, but the profit will be very high. Those searching on your brand name are looking for you so they are likely to convert, and your quality score will be high so you will pay very little for your clicks. High Conversions + Low Click Cost = High Profitability, but the traffic volume is limited.

At the top of the triangle we have some very unspecific terms. The terms that your customers use when they start researching. In the example above the customer needs something in their meeting room to show presentations on – they haven’t yet decided if they want a projector screen, or a white board, or a large TV. So we have no idea if our solution is going to match their need. That means the conversion rate will be low, but because the terms are so broad the volume is enormous. High Traffic Volume + Low Conversion Rate = Low Profitability. Plus click cost will usually be higher too.

Not only are we trading off between cost per conversion and traffic volumes, we’re also trading our own effort to manage it and set it up. Whether you use an agency or manage adwords in house you must make sure you drive enough volume of orders to make it worth the effort of managing it all.

Understanding the 7 Adwords Keywords Levels

Let me walk you though the 7 levels:

1. Brand Adwords Keywords Level

In this campaign you will have only one adgroup, and very few keywords. Literally just your own brand name.

Your keywords will always appear in position 1, and you will pay very little for the clicks. So ring fence this activity in your reporting or it will skew your overall performance. This is really just an insurance policy – to make sure your customers find you.

2. Brand+ Adwords Keywords Level

The Brand+ campaign is full of keywords that tie your brand name to your key products and categories. “{your brand} gift”, “{your brand} skirts” etc.

Volumes vary a lot from business to business for this level  – depending on your brand awareness and the size of your customer base. But it will be a very profitable area for you.

3. Product Names Adwords Keywords Level

This campaign focus in on individual products’ names. In the example above a specific Samsung TV, but it could be a specific shoe, or jigsaw puzzle, or gadget.

This level takes a lot of trial and error to find the right products to bid on, so unlike the previous two levels it won’t be profitable right from the word “go”. But once you’ve found the products that work for you it will bring a solid stream of new customers.

4. Competitors Adwords Keywords Level

This campaign is where you bid on your competitors brand names.

This doesn’t fit with all businesses’ values, but usually brings conversions at a price worth paying for them.

Key thing to remember is that your adtext must make it clear you are who you are – don’t pretend to be your competition.

5. Product Descriptions Adwords Keywords Level

For this campaign we start describing the products (rather than naming them). “red dress”, “blue skirt”, “draught excluder” etc.

Again this will require a lot of testing and optimisation – please don’t just turn it on and leave it!

6. Category Phrases Adwords Keywords Level

Once we reach this level it’s time to stop thinking about products and start thinking categories.

Here we’re bidding on keywords that describe our categories on the website, not the products. “60th birthday gift”, “mobile phone gadget”, “dresses”. Just make sure you have a relevant landing page (category page) to drive the keywords too.

Once we reach this level the conversion rates overall really drop off and you are going to have to work hard to find the groups of keywords that will drive the right traffic. But there is LOTS of it!

7. Researching Terms Adwords Keywords Level

At the final level we get very wide ranging in our keywords choices.

Think of the terms people are searching on as they start their buying journey, “gift”, “party outfit”; and terms for alternative products – instead of B&B “holiday” etc.

Whilst the traffic at this level is very tempting do not go here until you’ve got the lower levels working for you.

Every Company’s Levels Pattern Will be Different

Please don’t think you should immediately go and roll out all 7 levels in your adwords. Start at the bottom, work up and see how it works for your business.

I have clients for whom we get all the orders they need with just levels 1-4, and others for whom we have to tap into all 7 levels to find enough good traffic.

The triangle doesn’t have straight sides! You will find a traffic bulge at some levels, and a traffic diet at others! I know businesses where level 7 works great, but 6 and 5 bring good quality traffic but at very low volumes.

As with everything adwords it’s a case of keep on optimising!

Becky Hopkin

As MD Becky works to ensure Digital Gearbox’s values are being lived, and that our customers are receiving the best service possible. A self-confessed Disney fanatic, Becky loves spending down time with her golden Labrador, Nala, and her young daughter, Emily.

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