Doing keyword research is part of every profitable PPC strategy. There are many different ways and techniques out there for choosing what keywords to use for your campaign.

NOTE: This is not a strategy you should use to find out what SEO keywords your website should be targeting. This method is only valid for PPC and finding keywords you want to bid on.

The simplest place to start for finding keywords is to spy on your competition and see what they are bidding on. With this method you have to pay for a service such as SEMRush or spyfu. Most professional PPC agencies use these kind of spy tools in combination with research to put together a PPC campaign.

In this video/ Guide and we are not going to focus on paid tools but rather free methods of finding keywords.

Here is the video

We will cover 3 great ways of creating keywords

  • Adwords Keyword Suggestion Tool
  • Google Search Suggestions
  • Your Brain

Your Brain

We start with this method so you can get some root or foundation keywords. These are common industry terms around your businesses as well as top level services or products that you offer.

Our test campaign has been around a Denver Dental practice. From this we can come up with several high level keywords as well as some root keywords

Root keywords: Dental, dentist

Top Level Category (Services/Products): teeth whitening, teeth cleaning, cavity, emergency dental, cosmetic dental, kids dental, kids dentist, emergency dentist, children’s dentist

Now that we have a relevant search terms to go off of we will be using the Adwords Keyword Planner Tool to expand.

Adwords Keyword Tool

Located under Tools -> Keyword Planner


Now select Search for new keywords under the Find New Keywords section


Enter in the root keywords and category/product/service keywords into the search box.

You may also want to include a few city keyword combinations is you service a particular area or just pick a location such as Denver in our example.


Select Get Ideas button.

You can now sort the keyword by Adgroup Ideas or Keyword Ideas. In most cases I recommend just viewing the by Adgroup because in this manner the keywords are already grouped together for what Adwords thinks is relevant. When it comes time to building or ads we can use these already sorted keywords to build out ads that Adwords really likes. We will cover more of this in the up coming guides.


Take all the adgroups even if they do not seem all that relevant and add them to the planner by clicking the >> button under the Add to Plan column


You can now download the plan by selecting the Down arrow button. Feel free to play with the other keyword options as well. It’s good to use the interface and learn about all the options you have. For the purpose of this guide we are just focusing on keyword research and prepping for building out our ad groups and ads.

I will be downloading the file in Adwords Editor CSV format. This will make it easier to import into Adwords at a later date.

In our case we have around 600 keywords to go through. Here are some of the Adgroup examples

Teeth Whitening  Dentistry  Local Dentist  Emergency Dental Teeth Cleaning
laser teeth whitening dentistry for children
local dentist
emergency dental phoenix dog teeth cleaning
teeth whitening dentist laser dentistry find a local dentist emergency dental surgery deep cleaning teeth
free teeth whitening family dentistry find local dentist emergency dental omaha how much is a teeth cleaning
cosmetic teeth whitening aesthetic dentistry local emergency dentist 24 hour emergency dental care cleaning teeth 
led teeth whitening cosmetic dentistry procedures
local dentist offices
emergency dental no insurance ultrasonic teeth cleaning 
teeth whitening dentists sleep dentistry  local dentists emergency dental care indianapolis dentist teeth cleaning
laser teeth whitening reviews esthetic dentistry  emergency dentist detroit  laser teeth cleaning 
teeth whitening los angeles cosmetic dentistry boston emergency dental surgery clean teeth 

The .csv file we downloaded already sorts all the keywords into adgroups for us making it easier to go through the list. Here is a link to the exact file I downloaded if you want to play along. That or watch the video as we cover parts of it.

It’s important to note at this stage that we need negative keywords just as badly as we need good keywords. Negative keywords are used to tell Google we don’t want our ad showing when certain search phrases are done.

From the list above I can see “dog” under teeth cleaning. As a human dental practice this is not ideal. From that I know I will want to add the keyword dog to my negative keyword list. Remove all the keywords from your list that you think won’t be relevant and add them to a new text file and call that file negative keywords.

You can also add in other negative terms your brain comes up with. I have “dog” so I might as well put in “cat”.

Negative keywords from my list for an example.

dog, cat, hygienist, jobs, job, school, free, dental insurance for individuals

We are not doing anything with these negative keywords at the moment. When we cover negative keywords you will learn how best to use these.

Google Search Suggestions

Lastly we are going to take the keywords from the Google keywords tool and go to Google and enter manually start to type them in 1 letter at a time. What will happen is Google will try and finish our search for us by offering suggestions.

Can you tell what state I live in?



Now finish out a few of the searches and scroll way down to the bottom of the search results. There you will see other related keywords you can use


search-results-2Rinse and repeat this for a few dozen keywords from your download keyword list and you will quickly build up your own keyword list with lot’s of nice long tail keywords.

I now also found another negative keyword. Chances are I don’t want to bid on “university”.

This task can be a slow process. It’s not something you have to do all at once. It can be done over the course of a week or two. Don’t let not building out your keywords stop you from launching your campaign.

There is a reason why experts charge so much to build out campaigns and do all this research.

This guide is part of a series on Adwords Search training.  Be sure to watch the other videos and read the rest of the guide located at


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