PPCMore Killer Keyword Techniques: Personas and Buckets

More Killer Keyword Techniques: Personas and Buckets

Learn how to use personas and bucket lists to create huge killer keyword lists like the pros.

Last week I provided an overview of the process pro PPC advertisers use to create keyword lists. This is often the best starting point for creating a new PPC campaign, since the exercise reveals not only the best keywords to start with, but also the optimal structure of campaigns and ad groups.

Let’s continue where we left off last week, when I described the concepts of “personas” and “keyword buckets.” We’ll use those concepts in a second, but first, it’s important to understand that successful PPC advertising the perfect PPC campaign is composed of perfect keyword lists, ads and landing pages:

  1. Lists of all the possible words potential customers might use to express a need/desire that the advertiser’s product/service might satisfy.
  2. Related to sub-groups of those words, advertisements that convince the searcher that the site linked to by the ad probably leads to the satisfaction of that need/desire.
  3. Landing pages that convince the resultant site visitor that he/she made the right decision by clicking on the ad, and that the best possible satisfaction of their need/desire is just a few clicks away.

A caveat: in this installment I’ll be describing the keyword list creation process — which relates to ad campaigns going to the search network. This process doesn’t apply to campaigns directed at the content network — as I explained in “Creating PPC Campaigns: the ‘Live or Die’ Settings,” and in great detail in my previous Content Advertising columns.

For now, I’ll focus on defining personas, and using them to create keyword bucket lists.

To do so I’ll use as an example the fictitious company, Krisp Guitars. Krisp is a boutique guitar manufacturing shop that carries a small line of hand-made acoustic and electric guitars. Their target customers range in age and other attributes — but mainly can be categorized in three groups:

  1. The teenager with a rock ‘n’ roll fantasy — to become the next Jimmy Page (oops, showing my age — Jack Black?), and whose parents can afford a pricey starter guitar.
  2. The 20- to 30-something working musician who can finally afford a well-crafted axe.
  3. The baby boomer that plays mainly for personal enjoyment, and has reached a financial comfort level such that price is not an object.

Now let’s define personas to represent each group. The teenager Franny (and her parents) want to keep the cost low, and are concerned that the guitar they buy can withstand the rough handling of Franny’s rowdy crowd. The working musician, Conrad, wants a guitar that sounds good when miked, and likes the convenience of a built-in tuner and equalizer. Roger, the boomer, wants a twelve-string guitar to round out his collection, and price is no object.

At our agency we use Excel to build out keyword lists. We usually start with six columns, labeled with two prefixes, two “root words,” (usually product names, often both nouns), and two suffixes. Here’s the beginning of such a list related to the Franny persona:

PPC Keyword List Franny

Here’s a starter set for the Conrad persona. Notice that it includes words we used in Franny’s:

PPC Keyword List Conrad

And here’s the set for Roger:

PPC Keyword List Roger

Don’t worry too much about filling every column, or whether you mix nouns, adjectives, and adverbs. There’s no specific way to conduct this exercise — at this point it’s more important that you use intuition to capture as many words as possible.

In next week’s column I’ll describe the process of expanding the keyword list for each persona. I’ll be using a software tool that’s a godsend for PPC advertisers: The Permutator. Its core purpose is to combine words in a number of different combinations.

Generate Phrases

Just the starter set of keywords for the Roger persona produced 540 keyword combinations! By now you’re probably getting an inkling of how the PPC pros create keyword lists of hundreds of thousands of combinations.

Next week I’ll continue the keyword list-building exercise, and start the description of building ad groups with the resultant lists. As always, e-mail me your comments and questions.

Join us for SES San Jose, August 18-22 at the San Jose Convention Center.


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