How Many Keywords Should I Have?

How many keywords should I have? This is the question advertisers should consider more. Instead many ask: Where can I find more keywords?

More is better, right? Hell, it’s the American Way.

“If I have more keywords, I can cover more bases when customers do a search for my products. The more I have, the wider that net is and that means I’ll be seen more. Where can I find more keywords?” Tell me if this sounds familiar?

This is a very logical point of view. In fact, it’s not a bad strategy at all when you set limits and don’t spread the keyword mix too thin. That plan will work fine until you’ve gone too far. That’s when things get out of hand.

Here’s the rub. When you have X amount of budget to spend monthly/daily on keyword clicks, X gets distributed throughout all the keywords you bid on. Keywords that don’t have many clicks and impressions don’t have a high population of statistical data. When the distribution is over a vast amount of keywords, a higher percentage of the budget becomes lost to all the many keywords that don’t produce enough volume of clicks. There won’t be sufficient data to make any assessment to whether the keywords are in fact performing greatly, poorly, or even average. That’s when you’re stuck!

The more of the budget that gets spread over these types of keywords, a higher percentage of your budget is rendered “non-actionable” and potentially wasteful. The only way to assess these keywords would be to wait it out for months or even years. One keyword by itself is not a great danger to your bank account. It’s the aggregate of all the other keywords accruing little data over time that makes this situation expensive and problematic.

When you find yourself here, you become paralyzed in your choices to improve your keyword performance. You simply won’t know where to start. You’ll bleed money through your keywords but you won’t know exactly which ones are killing you.

It is a silent dilemma that goes unnoticed in so many accounts. Advertisers have little understanding how to solve this because they don’t know what they’re looking for. They only know their conversion costs are high and they aren’t as profitable as they would like to be.

cable keywords

In table above, you’ll notice that the highlighted keyword data is substantially low in clicks. If this were taken from a period over a day or two, it would not be long before we could make an assessment on how “most” of these keywords were performing. The bottom four keywords which have only accrued 1or 2 clicks might take some time. If this were data taken from one day of activity, it would be several months before the population of clicks was large enough to assess.

We are not advising that you should pause or delete all low traffic keywords. The recommendation is that you try and keep the percentage of budget spent on low traffic keywords to a minimum.

Take the bottom 4 keywords for example and imagine that 40% of your budget was spent on these types of low traffic keyword variations. Let’s also assume that at least half of these keywords would end up being poor performers. That would mean that 20% of your overall budget allocation would end up being wasteful. The dangerous part is not only that you find out you have been wasting this money but also that it’s taken you months to find out.

This is how advertisers become paralyzed in their accounts. But where does this type of scenario root from? How do advertisers get pigeon-holed into having so many keywords with little traffic?

It’s because more is better, right? Not in this case. Focus the budget more toward higher traffic keywords with good conversion costs and limit the keyword expansion on low traffic words with no conversions that get less than 100 clicks a month.

Chances are you won’t know which keywords work until you test them. Lower traffic words tend to have lower quality scores anyway so just keep an eye on how many you have. Some advertisers have separated high performing keywords into separate campaigns so they receive as much budget as they need. Low performers are then segregated from the high performers and given a smaller budget.

The bottom line: You have to spend within your means. If you have a set budget, spend on keywords that you know to benefit you. If your budget is limited, you won’t receive more traffic by simply having more keywords.

About Peter Dulay

Advertisers choose Conversion Giant because we know that conversions, revenue, and profit come from more than just your marketing. It comes from thinking “BIG” about your business.