low search volume warning in adwords

Not every person in the PPC world gets to work with big-budget, well-known brands. I consider myself lucky to work with clients both international and local to build their search engine performance. Since I have experience with all kinds of clients, and this is my personal experience alone, I’ve found that it was much easier working with larger clients that already have a very positive brand awareness. It’s much more of a challenge to work with a client when a desired, target audience has no idea your services even exist. Overcoming these challenges and helping a niche company grow is extremely rewarding. If you’re having trouble with low search volume AdWords accounts, use these ideas to help get over the no-traffic hurdle.

Test True Broad Match. Yes I’m Serious.

It’s shoved in your face all the time. “Never use broad match. Make sure you are at least using modified broad.” That’s fine. I agree 100% that it’s a necessity to use specific match types for accounts with a good stream of traffic. But that’s not you. Your business is so niche that it’s hard to pull any traffic sometimes. So in this case, let the search engines help you out! I have one manufacturing client that ran into this same issue when we first started working together years ago. Their situation is that they are the only business that does what they do. They have no competitors. One might think that’s a gold mine, but it also makes it harder to expand on keywords beyond the brand name.

I set up a new campaign with a very small budget to see what new search queries I could capture. This allowed me to see all the new search queries this company was receiving and add all of the converting queries as new ad groups and keywords (with corresponding landing pages of course) in my more focused campaigns. By keeping your budget and bids small on pure, broad match keywords, we can easily find new keywords to add at a lower cost. I admit, you have to monitor this campaign more and focus more on negative keywords, but this does give you the easiest way to find new search terms that keyword planner and other tools won’t give you. Below is their results for broad match, not modified broad, keywords for the same clients whose average closed leads bring sales of $4,000 or higher. Not bad, huh? The results from pure broad are not always a disaster if you have the time to monitor them.

true broad match type results

If You Have a Sales Staff, Pick Their Brains

This tactic may be more on the B2B side, but it’s a good one. A colleague of mine, Eric Vallee, wrote a blog called, “Salespeople Are an Untapped Resource for Content Creation.” I’m going to take it one step further and say that your clients’ salespeople are also an untapped source for new search terms. A sales staff most likely has direct interaction with not only your clients’ current customers, but also every lead that comes from your efforts. They have the information of what your target audience is not only searching for, but also how they are searching. By this I mean lead submissions or direct conversations that your sales team has with people could lead to different terms your core audience is using instead of what you are already targeting. If you don’t have time or resources to perform a massive persona study, then go to the people who have contact with the source…your salespeople. And sometimes they buy you lunch if they know you’ll bring them more leads so hooray!

Utilize the Queries from Your Site Search

Besides talking directly to your audience (which might not be possible through your website), one of the best ways to find out how your audiences search for your products or services is by utilizing your own site search field. If your website has a search box, you can set up Google Analytics to track what people are looking for on your website.

example of site search terms in google analytics

Within the Admin section, choose the “View Settings” under the View column. Further down you can tell Google Analytics how to track the search queries performed on your own site.  Once you have that set up properly, you can view the search terms in Google Analytics under Behavior > Site Search. Take the onsite search queries that make sense and test them out in your PPC campaigns. You could find out that people call your services/products something completely different than your initial targeting.

Check Google Webmaster Tools

In one of my previous blogs on how more SEO knowledge will help your PPC accounts, I talked about using Google Webmaster Tools to get more search term ideas. That exact same tactic applies to sites looking to add more target keywords to their accounts. Google Webmaster Tools still shows webmasters a small percentage of search queries that are driving organic traffic to the site. You can sort the search queries by organic impressions, clicks, CTR and position to find new keywords you can add to your PPC accounts.

The search queries within Webmaster Tools has a rolling start date. You can only view the past 120 days of search queries. So make an effort to export the previous month’s search terms on a monthly basis to keep a log of how users are finding your site organically. It’s very common to find new gems with reported search volume that you aren’t targeting yet.

These are just a few of my favorites. What other strategies have you used to boost traffic on your barren accounts?