Keyword Research for Google Ads | Updated for 2024

Nov 16, 2023

In this article, we'll delve into how to navigate Google's evolving landscape for keyword targeting, addressing recent changes and providing a roadmap for effective keyword research in 2023 and beyond.

Understanding the Shift in Google Ads Targeting:

If you've been in the Google Ads game for more than two years, you're likely aware of the substantial changes Google has made to keyword targeting. These alterations have a direct impact on how we approach keyword research.

Previously, Google's match types—Broad Match, Phrase Match, and Exact Match—operated in a more straightforward manner. However, with recent changes, Exact Match now behaves similarly to Phrase Match, and Phrase Match resembles Broad Match. Broad Match, in turn, has become exceedingly broad, extending its reach into similar and related keyword themes.

The transformation lies in Google's shift from targeting the exact keyword entered to focusing on the meaning behind that keyword. This means that even with Exact Match keywords, Google targets the inferred meaning or user intent, expanding the scope of relevant searches.

Real-world Experience vs. Google's Example:

While Google provides examples to illustrate these changes, real-world experience managing Google Ads campaigns suggests that the impact is broader than outlined. However, this shift isn't necessarily negative. Simultaneous to these changes, Google's underlying algorithm and targeting capabilities have significantly improved over the past 12-24 months.

Optimizing Keyword Research for Success:

For effective keyword research in 2023 and beyond, follow this proven process:

Utilize the Google Ads Keyword Planner:

  • Start your journey by leveraging the powerful Google Ads Keyword Planner. Explore relevant keywords and identify potential opportunities based on search volume, competition, and other relevant metrics.

Strategically Organize Ad Groups:

  • Break down 2-3 broad match keywords into single keyword theme ad groups. This approach allows for more targeted and efficient ad delivery, ensuring that your ads align closely with user intent.

Continuous Refinement through Audits:

  • Over the initial 1-2 months of your campaign, conduct regular search term audits every 72 hours. This frequent analysis helps refine your keyword list, allowing you to identify high-performing keywords and weed out less relevant ones.

Adapting to Google's evolving landscape is crucial for the success of your Google Ads campaigns. By understanding the shifts in keyword targeting and implementing a strategic approach to keyword research, you can position your campaigns for optimal performance in 2023 and beyond. Stay proactive, refine your strategies, and watch your campaigns thrive in the dynamic world of online advertising.