PPC Analysis for Conducting Keyword Research: the Answer Lies in the Long Tail

PPC analysis should be an ongoing, iterative practice, as should your keyword research. Beyond using modern techniques like geo targeting, device targeting, time segmentation and a real-time bidding algorithm, maximizing your ROI through long-tail keywords is a smart strategy to keep your search marketing campaign relevant and profitable.

Internet searches are commonly becoming long-tail questions. Users are getting increasingly specific when entering a search query online. And in the marketing world, this implies that mastering long-tail keyword advertising is necessary in order to capitalize on this growing trend. Long-tail keywords – which are often indicated by queries of 4 terms or more – deliver little traffic on an individual basis. But traffic isn’t the only PPC benchmark we should be looking at. In aggregate, these long-tail queries become an important source of clicks and conversions.

In fact, according to Udi Manber (Google’s VP of Engineering), 20 to 25% of queries today have never been seen before. While the average search still consists of around two words, queries that are longer than four words have been gaining popularity over the last couple years.



So, what about PPC competitor analysis? Digital marketers that focus only on hyper-competitive “head” terms when creating SEM campaigns are missing incredible opportunities. These neglected, long-tail keywords offer amazing ROI. While they have lower search volumes, there is much less competition for these search queries. As a result, it’s easier (and cheaper) to win these auctions. Other benefits of long-tail keywords include higher-converting visitors, lower bounce rates, and better time-on-page metrics.

Still not convinced? One of the biggest benefits of targeting long-tail keywords is the possibility of understanding user intent. You don’t need to perform in-depth PPC campaign analysis to realize that long-tail keywords are outstandingly revealing, allowing you to grasp what the user is actually looking for.

Now that you understand the importance of keywords in the long tail for your PPC analysis, the next step is to find the set of long-tail keywords that are relevant to your website and your brand. Here are some tips you shouldn’t miss in conducting your keyword research.

  • Take advantage of existing data: Sometimes the answer is right in front of your eyes! Your own website analytics provide relevant, accurate, and self-renewing information that can be one of your best sources of keyword research – so why not start your PPC analysis here?
  • Competitive intelligence: When conducting PPC competitor analysis, it’s important to understand your competitors and their keyword strategy, both for your whole business and for the individual segments you target. Processing this information is becoming more and more critical to design a winning move, particularly in the arena of enterprise SEM.
  • Use broad modifiers: Identifying long-tail search terms might require you to improve your initial keyword list by finding modifiers that you have left aside in the beginning of the campaign. Revisit and revise. This is an important part of PPC campaign analysis, and like so many other aspects of paid search engine marketing, it tends to be a continuous process.
  • Group: In large-scale search campaigns, it’s all about segmentation. Organize your long-tail keywords into small semantic groups. This will allow you to make adjustments both accurately and effectively, using the PPC benchmarks that make sense to you – revenue, conversions and whichever other metrics are most important.

Needless to say, keyword research is a big topic. We hope that these recommendations give you some initial ideas of how to expand your keyword set. Still craving for more tips? Sit tight! We’ll be expanding on this topic in future posts to expand your PPC analysis toolbox.

Brian Bird

A proud Stanford graduate, Brian Bird is the COO and co-founder of QuanticMind. He has built, managed and grown partnerships with digital marketers worldwide, and previously served in leadership roles at NexTag in sales, business development, customer success and product management.